What can't Jordin Sparks do? She wins American Idol's sixth season, sells over 4 million digital downloads of her hit "No Air," poses for her own Got Milk? ads and now she's tackling both Broadway and her own perfume at the same time! The soon-to-turn-21 pop diva let us in on her dressing room at In The Heights, the Broadway musical she's currently starring in, to show Usmagazine.com around and also discuss her new debut fragrance, Because Of You.
UsMagazine.com: Congrats on the show! I've heard it's been amazing.
Jordin Sparks: Thank you so much! I've felt amazing being able to do it. The feedback has been really amazing too. It's a new experience for me, and I'm in love with it.
US: Has the transition between concerts and Broadway performances been difficult? I know that most people are usually surprised about how demanding the Broadway schedule is.
JS: It's definitely a beast. I was on tour before I came out here to start rehearsals, and I was like 'Eight shows a week? No problem! I can do that!' but it's definitely a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Despite all of that, it's been so much fun, and it's been an amazing experience. The music is the easy part, it's the being somebody else and having to make sure that people see that character and still see me on stage, and that’s something new for me. I'm always me when I'm on stage --whether it's my own tour or the American Idol tour that I did, it's always been my music. Now, I'm singing songs about her life and her experiences --Nina, I should say -- and I'm singing about everything she's going through and I have to be able to portray that to the audience. That's definitely been so different.
US: Well, we want to know all about what's going on backstage too! Let's start with the basics -- what color is it?
JS: My dressing room right now is a mint green sort of color, which is the color it was when I got there. They told me I could change it, but I didn't?want to go through the whole repainting and smelling like paint thing.
US: So what are some of the major items you've got in there?
JS: I have a sink in there. I have 4 mirrors. There is a little mini fridge, which I'm excited about so I can keep some food in there because we have two shows on Saturdays and Sundays. So in between shows I'm able to eat a little bit.
US: And what exactly do you usually keep on hand in that refrigerator? You're in great shape, so I'm sure it's healthy!
JS: Well, thank you! It's really hard to eat a full meal before a show because I feel like I can't project. Sometimes a shake or a smoothie is the best thing for me to get some energy and also feel like I ate something so I'm not passing out on-stage. (Laughs) I make cupcakes a lot and make treats for the cast, so there's usually some frosting or cinnamon or anything that I put on top of them.
US: Ooh! Any other baking paraphernalia?
JS: Because I make all those baked goods for the cast, I do have a baking tray in there that I forgot to bring back home.
US: Any pictures on the walls or anything?
JS: I have a picture of me and Melinda up on the mirror. A fan gave it to me after one of my performances.
US: Do you have any other gifts or anything like that from your fans or friends?
JS: I did. On my opening night and the opening week, I had about 7 bouquets of flowers in there, and they were beautiful. I still have a balloon that says "Congrats" on it from my opening night that still has helium in it and is still kind of partially floating. (laughs)
US: Are the floors carpeted or tiled or hardwood?
JS: It's carpeted...
US: And any furniture?
JS: There's actually a futon in there that was left by the original Nina, Mandy Gonzalez. On the days we have two shows, I sleep on it in between shows because it helps my voice recover.
US: Anything else?
JS: I have a makeup case with all of my makeup in it. There's a trashcan, there's an air conditioner, there’s a clock in there. I think that's it!
US: So is it a pretty big space?
JS: It sounds like my dressing room is really big, but it's really not too big. It's maybe the size of a bathroom.
US: So just going back to the show itself a bit, you mentioned how receptive the crowd has been. Have you had lots of friends and family members coming out to see you?
JS: It's really varied. I have had my immediate family come, my grandparents. I've had a few friends come.
US: Have any former Idols or other celebrities in general been out to support you?
JS: Dionne Warwick and I think Gayle King came to the show the other night, but I think she snuck out afterwards! Phylicia Rashad from The Cosby Show came! I had no idea that she was there, which was good because I would have freaked out.
US: We have to talk about the new season of Idol. What did you think about the big J-Lo and Steven Tyler announcement?
JS: I'm really excited!
US: Jennifer was on your season of Idol, correct?
JS: Yes! Jennifer Lopez was a mentor on my season of Idol, and she was very sweet. Marc Anthony was actually there during that time as well, so we got to talk to him and he was very cool as well.
US: When she was mentoring you, what qualities did you see in her that you think would make her a really great judge?
JS: She was talking about everything she's been through and all of the different things she's had to have -- patience, perseverance. I'm excited to see what she brings to the table.
US: Absolutely. And what about Steven Tyler?
JS: I've always been such a big fan of his music and of him, so I'm excited to see what happens.
US: What roles do you think they'll take on? Will there be a new Simon among them?
JS: I don't know who's really going to take on the Simon role, but everyone has a really brutally honest side to them and people just have to tap into it.
US: And then finally, I know you have your new fragrance launching. How did that come about?
JS: I've been working on it since January, so I am excited to be able to finally tell people. I like vanilla scents, a little musky, floral scents. We wanted to put all of that together, so we did, and I was very involved. They brought out some sample scents and we mixed them together and found what we liked. It was really amazing to spray it on my wrist for the first time and smell it. I was just so excited! I definitely wanted something that transferred really well from day into night, and I think we did that.