Jordin Sparks' sophomore album, "Battlefield," was much more peaceable to make than its title might imply. In fact, the season six "American Idol" champ says the set, due out July 21, was significantly less chaotic to make than her platinum 2007 debut.
"With the first album, right after we got off the 'American Idol' tour...they were like, 'OK, they want your music NOW and you have to record it,'" Sparks told Billboard.com during a conference call with reports. "I literally think I recorded the album in a little over 20 days...This time I got to take my time, and if I recorded a song and didn't like it, I was able to say, 'OK, don't like this one' or let it grow with me a little bit."
Best of all, Sparks added, was she was able to write more songs this time out, four of which made the album with two others being used as promotional tracks. "I'm excited for fans to hear my heart and hear what I've been thinking," she says, " 'cause it has been about two years (since 'Jordin Sparks'). I've grown up a little bit and gone through a couple of things, so I'm excited to see what people think."
Sparks recorded "Battlefield" -- whose title track is No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- between January and June and chose the 12-song list from nearly 40 that she worked on. Writers and producers on the album include OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, StarGate, T-Pain and Dr. Luke, and the set also includes a cover of Fefe Dobson's "Don't Let It Go to Your Head," which Sparks said "I had on my iPod for the longest time." There is, she says, growth and maturity -- as well as a step in a dancier direction on "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)," which samples the Shannon hit that Sparks was unaware of until she recorded the song -- but Sparks says that ultimately she's "still just the ballad-singer girl from 'American Idol.'"
"That's how people fell in love with me on 'Idol' and how I came up," she explains. "That's what's on this album...I don't talk about things I don't know about; sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, I don't know about any of those things. I just talk about things that are kind of universal -- love, friendship, things like that. I think the world needs to hear some of that...something good and something happy."
Sparks is in the midst of touring with the Jonas Brothers and, she said, loving the opportunity to get in front of their audience. "It's been awesome," Sparks said. "I've known the boys for two years now; with this tour it's so great to get to know them individually 'cause I've known them as the group...And professionally, I'm so blessed and so lucky to be on this tour. I'll be in front of a little over a million people this summer. What more can I ask for?"