What Makes Sparks Sparkle
Photo Courtesy of Troy Jensen

What Makes Sparks Sparkle

An interview with Jordin Sparks

By Gregg Shapiro

There’s more to Jordin Sparks than just being the youngest winner of American Idol during season six in 2007. She’s had a few hit singles including “No Air”, a duet with Chris Brown, as well as “Tattoo”. She’s performed on Broadway, most recently in Waitress, and before that in In The Heights. Sparks also had the distinction of acting alongside the late Whitney Houston in the 2012 remake of the 1976 movie Sparkle. And anyone who’s been to a Pride festival in recent years know that Sparks has performed at more than a few. Sparks is heading to South Florida for a pair of holiday concerts with the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida (see the information below the interview) and was kind enough to answer a few questions in advance of the shows.

Gregg Shapiro: Jordin, we are all so excited about you performing as the special guest at the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida’s holiday concert at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. What are you most looking forward to about the concert?

Jordin Sparks: I love this season. I am practically a Christmas baby [laughs]! I love singing Christmas songs and I can’t wait to hear this choir sing!

GS: Do you have an all-time favorite song to sing at the holidays?

JS: My favorite classic is “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole, but I also love Mariah Carey’s “Miss You Most at Christmastime”.

GS: There’s something wonderful about hearing all the voices of a chorus singing together. Do you perform with or have you performed with any church choirs?

JS: Yes, I love choirs! I performed with my church choir and school choir growing up. And I’ve performed with a few different ones over the years. I adore hearing so many voices coming together. Besides my son’s laugh, there is no sweeter sound.

GS: You are no stranger to performing for the LGBTQ+ community, having headlined the Miami Beach Pride Week festival in 2016, as well as playing Pride festival in New Jersey and South Carolina. What do your fans in the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?

JS: They mean the world to me! I have many fans that are LBGTQ+ and I have friends and family members that are a part of the community. I don’t know how I couldn’t support them — we’re all human just trying to make it. Life is hard enough, you know? We need to support each other now more than ever.

Photo Courtesy of Troy Jensen

GS: Most people first became aware of you when you were crowned the winner of the sixth season of American Idol in 2007. When you look back on that experience with some distance now, how does it make you feel?

JS: I am turning 30 this year. 30 [laughs]! I’m really excited to start this new decade. Idol seems like a lifetime ago now and at times like it was yesterday. Honestly, I am very proud to have come to my profession in this way. To think that America voted and that is why I am here talking to you, is very humbling.

GS: In addition to your music career, you have done some acting, including appearing alongside the late Whitney Houston in the 2012 remake of Sparkle. Please share a memory or two about your experience working with Whitney.

JS: Whitney was and always will be very special to me. I think she was one of the greatest gifts of my career. She was very sweet to me and protective, as I am of her now. One thing I can tell you was when I had to do my big number in the film she came and sat and was my audience of one. She didn’t have to do that, but she wanted to be there for me. Incredible!

GS: Do you have any new or forthcoming acting or music projects that you’d like to mention?

JS: I am working on so many things including new music! All I can say is stay tuned for more Jordin in 2020 [laughs]!

GS: Finally, two big events are taking place later this month. The first is your 30th birthday, as you mentioned. Do you have special plans to celebrate the day?

JS: I’m just going to keep it low key. At least that’s what I have planned. Who knows what my husband will do [laughs]!

GS: The second, of course, is Christmas. What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

JS: [The] entire family in matching pajamas playing really funny games. And my Nana making the biggest spread of holiday treats!

The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida performs a Holidays at Sunshine Cathedral Concert at 8:00PM on December 14, 2019, at Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW 9th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida performs a Holidays at Hard Rock Live with special guest Jordin Sparks at 7:00PM on December 15, 2019, at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, One Seminole Way in Hollywood.

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