R&B fans were pumped to discover that Philadelphia's own poetry-reading chanteuse, Jill Scott, landed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart last week with her latest, The Light Of The Sun.
But what some of us were also wondering is: Is she still not having sex? That's right, Jilly from Philly, 39, gave up doing the nasty after splitting with her ex-drummer (and father of her son, Jett, 1), Lil' John Roberts, in order to find a quality man.
So how did it go? I caught up the neo-soul singer to ask her and to find out how she also lost a whopping 63 pounds.
UsMagazine.com: The album is incredible. What were you going for with it?
Jill Scott: There's been a lot of creative inspirations. I love old school hip-hop. It just feels good to me so I went back. This record is really about play — some of the music is hip-hop driven, some of it is jazz, some of it is both. It's a lot of stuff, but I’m a lot of woman — with a lot of inspirations coming at me all the time. I want to reach inside of myself. Nobody else is writing my music.
Us: How did having Jett inform and influence your music?
JS: There's something about having a child. I don't know, maybe the 36 hours of labor? It just gave me a new appreciation for my self and my femininity. And my strength, you know, I think that's what it was. I walked into recording this record and wanted to be strong and free and even strong in my vulnerability. It's something about having a baby — I've been calling it lava in my spine. It's given me some fearlessness and I'm really enjoying how I feel. It's almost like my first record. I'm not worried about who's going to like it and who's not. I'm being all of me, and it feels stupendous. I don't want to leave this feeling.
Us: You sing about Jett and his father explicitly on the CD.
JS: There’s definitely some stories about heartbreak and trying to move past that. When you're getting lost in the flesh and something I call being victimized, you just get lost in the whole sexual experience of it all. I talk about knowing one person is not necessarily for your benefit and its just a sexual relationship. I try to empower women. There's power in your curves, there's power in your mind, there's power in the whole being. My goal is to continue being a whole person. I'm more than my physical form and I'm enjoying my physical form but I'm more than that.
Us: You’ve never been a shallow person, but you've lost 63 pounds since 2009. Why?
JS: Health. It was the major impetus for me getting up off of my ass. I would notice when I would get to like number nine on a staircase, I'd be out of breath. And I was like I'm too young for this crap. I want to be able to jog up my stairs, especially with the little one, who's now a toddler. I get to run after him and I'm enjoying that. So we'll go swimming, take walks, I'll ride him on the back of my bike — there's a whole world of discovery in his eyes and I just want to be there for it to enjoy it. People are noticing, and that's great, I appreciate it. In order to grow emotionally and mentally, sometimes you have to grow physically as well. I'm just trying to grow, man, and always I just want to be the best and most confident me I can be. And now I’m someone's role model for real. I just want to be a fun mom.
Us: Did you get a trainer to help?
JS: Absolutely. I work with Scott Parker and I adore him because I've worked with other trainers before and they were so mean! You know, yelling at you, 'Ten more! Ten more!' and I hated that. Like who are you? I pay you! How are you yelling at me? Have a little respect here. So Scott is just fun. We ride bikes, we throw balls, we kick box, we box. And I get my little aggression out through boxing and kick boxing and there are results. I just want to be around for my little guy. I started to lose the weight right after shooting Why Did I get Married? 2. I would suggest to anyone who wants to lose weight, to not look for the immediate rush because that's all it is. You lose eight pounds you go, 'Woohoo I lost eight pounds!' Not that you shouldn’t celebrate, but that's just a part of your goal. You just have to stay mindful and try to do things that you enjoy but don't celebrate too soon. It's a slow process. I think I lost maybe three or four pounds a month.
Us: I know you moved to L.A. from Philly in 2009. Do you like it?
JS: I love living there so much because of the weather. I can ride my bike on a daily basis. Nothing physical makes me more happy than riding my bike. I get lost. I listen to music. I listen to the environment. I listen to people's conversations. I see people playing with their dogs. My whole block is a block filled with writers. I didn't choose that; it sort of just chose me. But I still go home to Philly — and I still ride the bus in Philly.
Us: You do? Do people recognize you?
JS: Well I don’t stay on long and normally it's the little things that give me away. If I smile, it's a wrap. I try to cover up a bit. I am not opposed to wearing a khimar either. Muslimahs wear them to cover their head and only their eyes show — just to ride the bus incognito. I'm sitting there and listening and all I get is a salaam alaikum (hello) just from other Muslims! But I know the correct response, so that works well. I'm not lying when I say a salaam so it's great. I ride the bus and I listen to conversations and I watch people’s body movements and their body language. For a writer it's a dream to sit and watch people as close as possible. You're close on the bus. I smell people. It's pretty awesome.
Us: Are you still celibate after your breakup?
JS: Now the minimum is until the fifth date. The whole celibacy thing, you could throw that out the window. That's over. But I don't have physical intimacy until at least the fifth date. So I can get to know who I'm dealing with and they can get to know me. And with my schedule, five dates can take three or four months! It just gives me a chance to get to know the person. So we talk on the phone pretty much every day or maybe we Skype or have a date and we have fun. I'm getting to know someone so I know if they're crazy or not. I just don't want to waste my time. I'm just trying to look at the mistakes that I made. I got so caught up in the flesh and I’m not even allowing someone to get to know the best parts of me. I'm a single girl in the world, but if I don't have some standards then I can be making the same mistakes that I made in the past. I do want love. Genuine love. And sometimes sex can get in the way.
By Ian Drew for Us Weekly. To read more of Ian's blog, click here.
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