Jazmine's Tale
New York magazine|January 18–31, 2021
After a long hiatus, the venerated R&B singer returns with her riskiest album yet.
Hunter Harris

THE GUITAR SOUNDED a bit out of tune, but she liked it. Jazmine Sullivan was flipping through tracks on her computer, finding material to put words to for her new album. “It was so heart-wrenching,” she remembers. “It just hit me.” She jotted down lyrics for a plea: “Just don’t have too much fun without me/Don’t have too much, don’t have too much fun/Please don’t forget about me/Try not to love no one.” Her request is selfish, but it feels real. It became the first single, “Lost One,” from her new album, Heaux Tales. “I just tried to think of the saddest thing I could think of,” she says. “The thing that came to mind was losing somebody you loved.”

Among today’s crop of R&B artists, Sullivan is a voice—a singer in the tradition of Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys. She’s also a writer. Heartache, heartbreak, that liminal space between desperately missing an ex and wanting them dead, burned, and buried—this is what she makes music about. Across three albums, the 33-year-old singer-songwriter has thrown her head back to cry out in song, sometimes wishing for love, sometimes recovering from it. Her songs often have two modes: rootless uncertainty and a boundless enthusiasm for the new—man, relationship, vision of life. Sullivan makes fans wait for it, averaging a longer hiatus between albums than most: There were two years between her first one, Fearless, and her second, Love Me Back, but five between Love Me Back and 2015’s Reality Show. All three have earned Grammy nominations.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NEW YORK MAGAZINEView All

What Would You Like to Know?

An afternoon of pleasant negotiation with actor, stealth musician, and Taylor Swift muse Joe Alwyn.

9 mins read
New York magazine
May 9-22, 2022

Black Star Meets Again

Can lightning strike twice? How about 24 years later?

5 mins read
New York magazine
May 9-22, 2022

At Patti Ann's, the Kids' Menu Is the Only Menu

Pigs in a blanket and chicken-fried pork chops just like Mom never used to make.

5 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The Group Portrait: Less Tall, Less Male, Still Young

The Paris Review has a new editor, a new staff, and a new vibe.

2 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The Money Game: Scott Galloway

Buy Now. Pay (and Pay, and Pay, and Pay) Later. The bill for the finance hack of the pandemic is coming due-for all of us.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The Best Bagels in the World?

They might be on Long Island.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

Realism Is Not His Deal

Joseph Giovannini turned this Los Angeles loft into an op-art womb. His tenant loves it.

3 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

Park Avenue's Greatest Pipes

Inside the organ at St. Bartholomew's, enveloped in 18th-century surround sound.

3 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

Cruise's Last Stand

Thirty-six years after the original, Top Gun: Maverick eulogizes the actor’s entire career.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022

The SAD YOUNG LITERARY MAN Is Now a MIDDLE-AGED DAD

KEITH GESSEN wrote a memoir about family life. His wife, EMILY GOULD, is mostly okay with that.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 23 - June 05, 2022