Jill Scott on Why She's 'Fallen in Love' With Azealia Banks, Digging Deep for Inspiration and Her New Album and Motherhood

Jill Scott
Gomillion and Leupold Studios

Jill Scott

On her first LP since 2011, the singer has a different outlook on life, love and more.

Fifteen years after naming her debut Who Is Jill Scott?, the artist is still looking for what she calls her "truest myself" on new album Woman (July 24, Blues Babe/Atlantic). Recorded in Nashville, it's Scott's first LP since 2011's chart-topping The Light of the Sun, and second since the birth of her now-6-year-old son. Scott, 43, explains why she feels more "connected" to herself than ever before.

Jill Scott Returns With New Album 'Woman'

My New 'Child'

"Releasing an album is like putting your child out into the world. I was talking to a friend and telling her I'm hyper-emotional. It's like being pregnant -- I felt almost bipolar with these emotions. And she said, 'You're giving birth to a full-grown woman. What do you expect?' I hadn't really thought of it like that."

My New Muse

"I only wanted to record in Nashville. There's live music everywhere -- on the corner, at the airport, in every bar. It was the perfect merger."

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My New Torch Song

" 'You Don't Know' is a really emotional song for me, because I don't think people know what love is. People today are not willing to go through any level of fire. As soon as any fire comes, love just evaporates."

My New Favorite Person

"I just wrapped a movie directed by RZA, Coco, with Common and Azealia Banks, who I've fallen in love with. I dig seeing young people who are absolutely themselves. Whether I agree or disagree, I just like the fact that she knows who she is."

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My New Musical Struggle

"Finding the inspiration. Normally I wait for it; this time I pushed myself. I had to look inside and pick myself apart. Which is really scary, but it's time -- I'm somebody's mother now."

My New Outlook

“I’m more connected to me, the truest myself, than I’ve ever been. I think it has something to do with being a mother; something to do with being bored by empty relationships that fill time because I’m not willing to put in my end of the work.”

My New Pet Peeve 

“Auto-Tune agitates me. I don’t understand it.”

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My New Vocal Hero

Marc Anthony. He’s pure passion and talent. I have to see him; I’ve always missed him by a day somewhere. But it’s on my bucket list of things to do. I’m just crazy about him.”

My New, More Public Life

"I’ve been more in the street than I have been in a long, long time. In the last year. I have put myself in hotel bars, little tiny bars where somebody is singing their soul out. I’ve been to the beach; I wouldn’t have considered it before. I went to Universal Studios for my birthday. I’m still a simple girl but I’m allowing myself to enjoy things without worrying about the fame that follows or precedes me."

Listen to Jill Scott, and more music from artists in this issue, in the Spotify playlist below:

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 1 issue of Billboard.