Following the success of her breakthrough album "Fearless" and impressive start to her forthcoming sophomore set "Love Me Back," Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Jazmine Sullivan will receive the Rising Star Award at the 2010 Billboard Women in Music Event on Dec. 2 in New York.
Sullivan will be honored alongside Black Eyed Peas vocalist and six-time Grammy-winning artist Fergie, who is receiving Billboard's Woman of the Year Award. She is also the next female artist to receive the Rising Star Award after Lady Gaga, who received the award in 2009 in the wake of the success of her debut album, "The Fame."
"I admire Lady Gaga, so to be honored in a category that she was once in is such a rewarding feeling," Sullivan tells Billboard.com. "When I heard the news, I was so happy. I feel honored to be chosen as this year's Rising Star."
The Rising Star Award honors artists that have achieved a level of success and proven to have vast potential in the early stages of their career, and Jazmine Sullivan has done exactly that since 2008, when her debut single "Need U Bad" reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and spent four weeks atop the chart. She's also had top 10s with "Fearless" follow-up singles "Bust Your Windows" (No. 4, 2008) and "Lions, Tigers & Bears" (No. 10, 2009), as well as with "Holding You Down (Goin in Circles)" (No. 3, 2010), the lead single from "Love Me Back."
"Fearless" debuted atop R&B/Hip-Hop Albums the week of Oct. 11, 2008 and charted for 66 weeks. It sold 517,000 copies, per Nielsen SoundScan, and earned the singer a total of seven Grammy nominations over two years, including best female R&B vocal performance (for "Need U Bad"), best contemporary R&B album and best new artist.
"Jazmine Sullivan is more than just her excellent and ever-growing catalog of R&B hits," said Bill Werde, Editorial Director of Billboard. "She brings incredible soul and feeling to her music. She came out of the gate with a debut album that merited critical acclaim and mass appeal, and her second album shows her range and her staying power. We can expect to hear a lot more from this rising star."
"Knowing that a Grammy is within my reach also keeps me focused and pushes me to work harder," says Sullivan, who is currently on tour with Mary J. Blige and gearing up for the Nov. 30 release of "Love Me Back" on J Records. "The music industry is very demanding, so naturally it takes a lot of hard work. The most challenging part of my career is the schedule; it can be relentless, but the end results are worth it. If I ever feel discouraged, I keep pushing knowing I have something important to say with my music and people need to hear it, particularly women. I've found that my music really speaks to women and I have a talent that cannot be wasted, being not only a singer but also a songwriter."
"10 Seconds," the emotional second single from "Love Me Back," is currently at No. 43 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. As it continues to climb the chart, Sullivan is premiering the track's music video today on Billboard.com. The largely black-and-white clip finds the R&B singer taking drastic measures against a thoughtless ex-flame: Sullivan kidnaps the man, ties him to a chair in an abandoned building, and shows him flashbacks of their doomed relationship as a timer ticks down to zero. "You know that I can get crazy/When I go off, ain't nobody to tame me," Sullivan fumes, before throwing a glass of red wine on his white shirt.
"I have bad aim and kept missing him!" Sullivan recalls from the video shoot. "I think we had to do that take almost 10 times before I got it right."
"The song is very dramatic and that's reflected in the video," the singer adds. "It's beautifully shot in black and white with splashes of color added for effect. "My favorite part of filming the video was being able to release my anger on the actor who played my ex-boyfriend. That was fun... poor guy!"
Of the most memorable moment shooting the video, Sullivan says it was unequivocally "the giant rat -- one of those foot-long city rats – that scurried across everyone's feet while we were shooting the last scene. I've never seen a group of people scream and run away so fast - even the big burly security guard! We shot the video for several hours in a huge, decrepit warehouse in downtown Manhattan so we must have invaded the rat's territory and it wanted us to get the hell out."
This year's Billboard Women in Music presenting sponsor, Steve Madden, has worked with Jazmine Sullivan through Steve Madden Music - an integrated marketing platform that supports emerging artists in their efforts to get their music to consumers. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Jazmine Sullivan are just a few of the female acts who have performed at Madden's NYC stores.
"It's great to be a part of Billboard's Women in Music and exciting to see Jazmine, one of the first Steve Madden Music artists, receive the Rising Star award," Madden tells Billboard.biz. "She's beautiful, soulful and an incredible talent! Through our program, we've been able to support and promote many great artists and I look forward to continuing these partnerships with the rising stars of the future."