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
This One's on Her
A melancholy farce is nearly capsized by its star.
Daniel Dae Kim built a career by picking his battles, walking away from a job only when the inequities got too big to ignore. He still believes Hollywood can be reformed.
The Detonations of Alice Neel
A survey of her portraits at the Met is packed with raw emotional power.
The City Politic: David Freedlander
Stringer Theory The comptroller’s reward for a career in public service? Third place in the polls.
Political Animals: Olivia Nuzzi
The No-Splash Tell-all What the muted reaction to Hunter Biden’s crackfueled memoir says about his father’s Washington.
Moral Panic Is Back With a Vengeance
Lil Nas X’s “Montero” is the latest song to raise the hackles of conservative commentators—and everyone has a little something to gain from the controversy.
Esther Perel Goes Off Script
She became today’s most famous couples therapist by ignoring all the rules of the trade.
Mayor de Blasio hired an ''equity warrior'' as schools chancellor. How parental politics-and the pandemic-left him defeated
Richard Carranza’s Last Stand
Kingpins and wannabes barrel through the London underworld.
BidenBucks Is Beeple Is Bitcoin
In a system rigged by the rich, outsiders have to make their own volatility.
TOO MUCH STUFF? FLOW AND F.L.O.W.
Inspired by Benedictine simplicity, BECKY GARRISON looks for ways to keep her space less cluttered.
GETTING INTO GAS ENGINES
Expert installation & setup tips
APART BUT TOGETHER: TIPS FOR A COZIER ZOOM THANKSGIVING
We all know Thanksgiving is going to look different this year.
Sullivan SkyWriter Smoke Pump
If you have ever been to an RC airshow, then you’ve seen aerobatic airplanes using smoke during their flight routines.
A Quiet Nature
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem,” says A.A. Milne from the popular book Winnie the Pooh.
Gas Engine Setup
Installation tips to keep your powerplant happy
MANAGING REMOTE WORKERS? IT TAKES MORE THAN THE LATEST APPS
Nicolas Vandenberghe’s company has 42 staffers scattered among 36 cities in 15 countries.
Inspired by a certain space opera, young makers let the good times roll!
Judd backing Rocket to play on till he’s SIXTY !
ROCKING CHAIR RONNIE
Trump reckons O’Sullivan is still improving and can play at the top until he’s 60