The diva speaks

Known for her wild afro-like hair and rich vocals, so-called diva Jill Scott comes back from her year off with a deep appreciation of life and a new evolved album.

“Golden,” the first single off of Beautifully Human Words and Sounds Vol. 2, says wonders about Scott, who truly is “living her life golden.” Blessed with matrimony, a daughter and a year off, Scott’s lyrical return is laced with universal wisdom enriched with funky beats and an even more mature voice than before. Soulful, serene and wise, Scott’s humility catches any fan off guard.

Despite her diva title and the many connotations that word often carries, Scott still reveres the legendary vocalists that came before her, admiring her fellow divas.

“Yeah I think it’s a compliment, I just want to earn it. Just because you put out an album or two or three you’re a diva; they give that title out to girls who have one single that did well. To me the divas are Gladys Knight, Celine Dion, Chaka Khan; it’s more about time spent, Patti Labelle has been in the business and doing the damn thing for 15 to 20 years, not just a few years, not just a couple albums, or some hit singles. I want to earn it, I want to be around in 15 years and then maybe I’ll be more comfortable with the title,” Scott says.

Knowledgeable and full of life, it’s evident that Scott knows how to keep her life as an artist and her life as a person separate, often commenting on the two with very different answers. As far as inspirations, Scott states that her inspirations as a young child came from her family.

“My mother and grandmother and my Uncle Dave…My Uncle Dave taught me without teaching me what a man is, definitely an important thing to see. I would say as an artist my inspiration would be Prince and Oprah Winfrey.”

Scott considers touring with Prince one of her greatest accomplishments, along with realizing she is a person as well as a performer.

“Opening for Prince as an artist, as a person, I realized that my time is important. I think that it’s a great accomplishment, understanding that as much as I want to work as an artist, I need to live as a person.”

As an artist, however, Scott feels she has evolved, a feeling that is evoked through the smooth rhythm and lyrics of her album.

“Well, I think this album is a lot more lyric-intensive. The lyrics are better than the first one; my voice has changed: in the beginning it was a horn and now it’s a horn mixed with a low, which is very interesting to me. I didn’t sing for a year, so I guess I allowed it to mature.”

Matured and striking, it is the messages in Scott’s songs that are so awe-inspiring and inspirational. Although they would seemingly come from a godsend, Scott says, “Yeah, the songs come when they want to; there is nothing in particular that I do, it could be when I’m washing dishes or painting my toenails.”

Whether an artist or a person, Scott is extremely eloquent both on and off stage, a trait that makes her even more of a beautiful person. Ultimately, although Scott knows she has an immense talent and influence on her fans, she claims she’s just Jill Scott.

“I have to remind myself, people will let me in places or give me things, so it’s just a trip. I have to remind myself or my husband will tell me, you’re really Jill Scott, and I say, yeah, I was 10 years ago, too. Fame is weird.”

Joanna Davila can be contacted at