Just a week shy of the release of her debut album, “Fearless,” R&B singer/songwriter Jazmine Sullivan performed a short but electric set on Wednesday (Sept. 17) for a capacity crowd at New York’s Knitting Factory after an effusive introduction by her mentor Missy Elliott.
“This girl is a beast,” said Missy Elliot, who produced the 21-year-old raspy-voiced singer’s lead single, “Need U Bad.” “She co-wrote Fantasia’s ‘Free Yourself,’ and sang back-up vocals on the track. And now, we teamed up again for a song on Jennifer Hudson’s album featuring Fantasia.”
Following Elliott’s intro, Sullivan took the stage decked out in all black and backed by a four-piece band and two back-up singers. The Philadelphia native opened with her follow-up single, the vengeful “Bust Your Windows.”
“Thank you for coming out. I’m so honored and so happy. I’ve been trying to do this for a very long time,” Sullivan said to the crowd, which consisted of fans and industry insiders like Hot 97’s Angie Martinez and Ebro Darden, VH1’s Breeze and radio personality Egypt.
After singing new track “One Night Stand,” Sullivan performed fan-favorite “Lions, Tigers & Bears,” explaining that, “when I fell in love, I didn’t know my left from my right, I didn’t know my up from my down. Love can be scary, that’s why I wrote this song.”
Sullivan thanked all the producers, contributors and label folks that helped make the album, scheduled for a Sept. 23 release via J Records, possible. Then she broke into an emotional rendition of her hit single, the reggae-tinged “Need U Bad,” sans Elliott; the track recently reached No. 1 on Billboard’s hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “I was so foolish to ever leave your side, searching for what was right before my eyes,” she crooned, as the audience chimed in. “It was me who didn’t realize till it was gone but now I know I need you in my life,” Sullivan and her fans harmonized together.