Jazmine Sullivan belt out the national anthem alongside country rocker Eric Church at Super Bowl LV was your first encounter with the R&B powerhouse, that's okay, but it's time for a deep dive into her catalog. Her talent has been undeniable from a young age, from belting out "Home" from to signing her first record deal with Jive Records at 15. Today, she's a 12-time Grammy nominee, receiving at least one nomination for each of her eligible albums to date: 2008's The Wiz at 11 years old Fearless, 2010's Love Me Back, and 2015's Reality Show.
Last month she released
a concept project of eight songs about various romantic rendezvouses along with recordings of Sullivan's friends telling the stories behind them. The blend of singing and spoken storytelling is reminiscent of Lauryn Hill's iconic Heaux Tales, Miseducation album, and in addition to garnering widespread critical acclaim, Heaux Tales has already become her highest-charting album on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following her Super Bowl performance, check out these 10 essential tracks by Jazmine Sullivan and become a fan for life. Trust us, it's not hard to do.
"Need U Bad"
Not every new artist gets the blessing of Missy Elliott yelling their name on their debut single, but the rapper's "New Jazmine!" shoutout at the beginning of "Need U Bad" was clearly the introduction of an artist whose name you'd need to know going forward. Also featuring Salt-N-Pepa's Pepa, the stacked track is about yearning for a lost lover and incorporates reggae sounds underneath Sullivan's incomparably soulful belt.
"Bust Your Windows"
Produced by Salaam Remi, the mastermind behind the throwback sound of Amy Winehouse's debut album, "Bust Your Windows" is a bold f*ck you anthem directed at a cheating partner laced with noir-style strings throughout. Her highest-charting single to date, the
Fearless cut helped lay the groundwork for Sullivan's long-lasting career, and it's now one of her signature hits. "Lions, Tigers, & Bears"
Nominated for two Grammys in 2010, "Lions, Tigers, & Bears" features Sullivan declaring that the only thing she's afraid of is falling in love. The theatrical,
Wizard of Oz-referencing track features a creeping piano line so catchy that it received remixes and cover versions from Fabolous, The-Dream, Yo Gotti, and Beyoncé herself. "Holding You Down (Goin' In Circles)"
Sullivan reunited with Missy Elliott for "Holding You Down (Goin' In Circles)," a funky R&B number about desiring stability in a relationship that received a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards. It reached #60 on the
Billboard Hot 100 at the time, but the song was recently revived through a sample on Megan Thee Stallion's cut "Circles." Good News "Dumb (feat. Meek Mill)"
On "Dumb," Sullivan takes shots at an ex who did her dirty. "Don't I deserve it all?" she asks on the track, which features a guest verse from Meek Mill, who plays the role of an unfaithful lover. Unlike many of her songs, "Dumb" sounds more modern than throwback, incorporating a thumping drum and catchy, repetitive pop hook.
"Let It Burn"
"Call me crazy, but I think I found the love of my life," Sullivan declares on the smooth, infectious "Let It Burn," the biggest hit from her 2015 album
Reality Show. Sullivan's silky vocal runs were actually recorded in one take, proving that sometimes art can truly come together just like magic. No wonder it was nominated for two Grammys in 2016. "Lost One"
Fans were so excited to hear Sullivan's announcement of "Lost One," the first single from 2021's
Heaux Tales, that they got "New Jazmine" trending on Twitter. A painfully honest acoustic slow jam, the track sees Sullivan recognizing it might be too late to reconcile her broken relationship. "Try not to love no one," she calls out in a bold solo return to the R&B scene nearly five years after Reality Show was released . "Pick Up Your Feelings"
After "Lost One," Sullivan released "Pick Up Your Feelings," a confident tune directed at an ex whose emotional baggage she can no longer carry. It follows
Heaux Tales' "Antoinette's Tale," a spoken-word track about owning your worth and ensuring no man can take it from you, a fitting sentiment to precede this GTFO banger. "Girl Like Me (feat. H.E.R.)"
Jazmine Sullivan and H.E.R.'s "Girl Like Me" is a duet match made in heaven. A letter to an ex who walked out in favor of another woman, the song finds the two powerhouse singers wondering what they could've done differently to save the relationship.
"Insecure (with Bryson Tiller)"
Sharing a title with the Issa Rae-created HBO series it was created for, the 2017 single "Insecure" features Sullivan laying out her relationship issues. R&B singer Bryson Tiller duets with the singer as the insecure lover in question, and the pair's warm vocal tones compliment each other well, resulting in a standout cut from both of their respective discographies.