Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks Jordin Sparks

Jordin Brianna Sparks (born December 22, 1989) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. In 2007, she rose to fame after winning the sixth season of American Idol; at age 17, she became the youngest winner in the series' history. Her self-titled debut album was released later in the same year; it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and has sold over two million copies worldwide. The album spawned the US Billboard Hot 100 top-ten singles "Tattoo" and "No Air"; the latter is currently the third-highest-selling single by any American Idol contestant, selling over three million digital copies in the United States. The song earned Sparks her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Sparks' second album, Battlefield (2009), debuted at number 7 on the US Billboard 200. Its lead single, also titled "Battlefield", where it reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Sparks the only American Idol contestant to have her first five singles reach the top twenty on the chart. The second single, "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)", became Sparks' first number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart. Throughout her career, Sparks has won numerous awards, including an NAACP Image Award, a BET Award, an American Music Award, a People's Choice Award and two Teen Choice Awards. In 2009, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 91st Artist of the 2000s Decade. In 2012, Sparks was ranked at number 92 on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Women in Music". As of February 2012, she has sold 1.3 million albums and 10.2 million singles in the United States alone, making her one of the most successful American Idol contestants of all time.

Sparks branched out from recording music, pursuing careers in acting and Broadway, and designing perfumes. She made guest appearances on several television series, beginning with The Suite Life on Deck in 2009, and later in Big Time Rush in 2010. That same year, Sparks made her Broadway debut in the musical In The Heights, starring as Nina Rosario. She made her feature film debut in a remake of the musical film Sparkle (2012), which also starred Whitney Houston, Derek Luke, Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter. In October 2010, Sparks released her first perfume, Because of You..., which was followed by her second perfume, Fascinate, in March 2012, with her third perfume, Ambition, in November 2012.

After a five-year solo music hiatus, Sparks released her first mixtape titled #ByeFelicia, on November 25, 2014. The release of the mixtape marks the first release under Sparks' new recording deal with 'Louder than Life/Red Associated Labels', a joint deal with Sony Music Entertainment. Sparks' third studio album titled Right Here, Right Now, was released in August 2015.

Early life

Sparks was born in Phoenix, Arizona, to Jodi (née Weidmann) Sparks and former professional football player Phillippi Sparks. Sparks has a younger brother, Phillippi "PJ" Sparks, Jr., who plays football at Arizona Christian University. Her father is African-American and her mother is Caucasian. She grew up in the suburbs of Ridgewood, New Jersey, while her father played as a defensive back for the New York Giants. After living in New Jersey, Sparks attended Northwest Community Christian School in Phoenix through the eighth grade. Sparks attended Sandra Day O'Connor High School until 2006, when she was homeschooled to better concentrate on her singing. Sparks is an evangelical Christian and attends Calvary Community Church in Phoenix. On her American Idol biography, she thanks her parents and God for her win. She won an award for best young artist of the year in Arizona three years in a row.

Career

2006: Career beginnings and American Idol

Before appearing on American Idol, Sparks participated in and won such talent competitions as Coca-Cola's Rising Star, the Gospel Music Association Academy's Overall Spotlight Award, America's Most Talented Kids, Colgate Country Showdown, and the 2006 Drug Free AZ Superstar Search. Prior to Idol, Sparks frequently performed the national anthem at various local sporting events, notably for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Sparks also appeared with Alice Cooper in his 2004 Christmas show and toured with Christian contemporary singer Michael W. Smith in 2006. In 2006, Sparks was one of six winners of the Phoenix Torrid search for the "Next Plus Size Model". She was flown to California, where she was featured in numerous Torrid ads and promotional pieces. A full-page ad for Torrid featuring Sparks ran in the December 2006 issue of Seventeen magazine.

Sparks performing at the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2007

In the summer of 2006, Sparks auditioned twice for the sixth season of American Idol: once in Los Angeles but failed to make it past the first round; and again in Seattle after winning Arizona Idol, a talent competition conducted by Phoenix Fox station KSAZ-TV. The Seattle audition is the one seen in the January 17, 2007, broadcast of American Idol, in which she earned a "gold ticket" and the right to appear in the Hollywood Round. American Idol judge Randy Jackson made the offhand prediction that "Curly hair will win this year."While on the show, Sparks gained a loyal fan base known as "Sparkplugs". On May 23, 2007, Sparks was crowned the winner of the sixth season of American Idol. She remains the youngest winner in American Idol history. Cowell said, "Jordin was the most improved over the whole season – didn't start the best, but midway through this was the girl who suddenly got momentum." He included that "Young girl, likeable, and the singer won over the entertainer [Lewis]."Four selected songs Sparks had performed on American Idol, including the season's coronation song, "This Is My Now", were made available on her self-titled EP, released on May 22, 2007, the day before the grand finale. The coronation song "This Is My Now" peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Sparks' first top-fifteen hit on the chart. The following summer, Sparks took part in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2007 from July 6 to September 23, 2007, along with other contestants in the top ten.

Since her win in 2007, Sparks has returned to Idol six times. She performed twice on the seventh season of American Idol, once on the Idol Gives Back results show singing "No Air" with Chris Brown and again with "One Step at a Time" on May 21, 2008, for the finale. She performed "Battlefield" on the May 13, 2009, episode of American Idol.

The following year, Sparks took part in a tribute to Simon Cowell with other former contestants at the ninth season finale on May 26, 2010. During the tenth season, Sparks performed her new song "I Am Woman" on the Top 4 results show. She appeared on the finale of the eleventh season singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" alongside that year's fourth-place contestant Hollie Cavanagh. Sparks was the most recent female to win the competition until the twelfth season. In a comedic clip on the finale titled "We Were Sabotaged", the boys of the twelfth season realize that she was the "mastermind" behind the girls' sabotage, because it was five years since a girl had won.

Personal life

In April 2008, Sparks was diagnosed with an acute vocal chord hemorrhage, an injury that results from an overuse of vocal chords. Sparks was put on vocal rest and canceled several appearances, including scheduled cameos on Alicia Keys's tour. Sparks later recovered and rejoined the tour in May 2008.

In 2011, Sparks attended the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night showcasing a noticeably slimmer figure. At the time Sparks admitted she had lost 30 pounds. Sparks eventually lost roughly 50 pounds, weighing in at 155 to 161 pounds which she revealed on the Today Show in 2014. Sparks revealed she had fallen ill in December 2010 with walking pneumonia, after her stint on Broadway. This was the motivation for Sparks to begin to change her lifestyle which resulted in a weight loss.

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