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Live Proof.
Let’s get into it.

Ms. Jazmine Sullivan is a brilliant and soulful artist, who has been a part of the game for a bit. Now, many R&B fans know or recognize the work she has put in over 18 years in the industry. From writing songs for Mary J. Blige to Monica, to Megan Thee Stallion, to her own 4 studio albums she has had high points of commercial success. In particular “Bust Your Windows” in 2008 (famously and iconic-ly covered in Glee) and more recently her album “Heaux Tales” have given rise to her name. Ms. Sullivan earned her first Grammy, with “Heaux Tales”, for R&B Album of the Year, in a crowded field, in 2022.

That all being said,

I mean, I think you can get the sense that I LOVE music. I could talk about the different intricacies of other parts of music (AND WILL) but, my biggest connection to music is the vocal. There are many measurable ways to define vocal ability whether it’s octave range, dynamics, or breath work. There are also many qualities in vocals that are truly subjective like style, tone, or phrasing. I think that is one of the beautiful things about vocal performance- that a singer can be objectively talented but subjectively may not be one’s favorite voice or genre.

However, when the conversation about truly great vocalists comes up (which for me is often) there is an agreement that the big three reign— the big three OBVIOUSLY being Whitney Houston, Céline Dion, and Mariah Carey. HOWEVER, the race to crown new vocal icons and queens is on and Jasmine Sullivan deserves to be in heavy consideration.

Jasmine is ‘defined’ as a contralto (which is the lowest voice type for women) and is credited with a range of multiple octaves. (Some say A2-G5—others said D#3-A#5) Ms. Sullivan is a vocal run queen— her runs are almost searching, in a way, always moving and flowing. She can flawlessly glide up and down her register. I LOVE her speedy vibrato and her ability to add texture, (some crunch) in the dynamics of her runs. She also is a brilliant space filler with her timing and breath work— AND SHE SCATS!


The song in this video is “Girl Like Me” which normally features H.E.R. on the album, but this special session hosted by Netflix is Jasmine’s solo and she SHINES.
I always love a stripped-down arrangement— when it comes to a true vocalist I feel like the more simple the better. If you are showing off your voice, I want it as isolated as possible. She is accompanied by a simple and soulful electric guitar, which allows the two musicians room to work and flow around each other and the music.

Starting off, she really shows off her flow and phrasing to emphasize the lyrics and pull you in. She also adds just hints of colorful ad-libs or tight vibratos. As she continues, her dynamics cause this almost wave feeling as she climbs and descends on her vocal. Moving into the first chorus, she is clearly chillin’ and having a good time and looking at her audience. The setting is more intimate, so you get to see her super comfortable. (Even while delivering stunning and floaty runs) In the next section, she dials in more and closes her eyes- feeling the lyrics and the narrative of the story she’s giving. There are still floaty runs and scales but a little more intensity and power is now behind it. After showing off her breathwork and run capability some more, she prepares herself for takeoff to finish this song. With a PLEADING end, she adds the fullness of her voice, and her body language reflects as she’s all eye contact, with her hands free The opt-ups, the control, the breath, the tightest scales, and runs it just cannot be said enough. She delivered and delivered some more. (I remember the first time I watched it I was literally on my feet by the end)

Anyways, stream her music—
and give Jasmine Sullivan her flowers!

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