“It’s a lie, but it don’t even matter cause he supposed to be my man,” said Jill Scott, as she began her set for ” VH1 Storytellers” ready to share a narrative. “”He was born to be my man,” she continued, decked out in ripped jeans and long auburn hair. “That’s just the way it’s gon’ be.” It was the perfect introduction for an up-tempo version of “Getting in the Way,” the lead single from her debut album, “Who Is Jill Scott?”
As she captivated the audience at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on May 8, one of the largest ever for “VH1 Storytellers,” it was clear that Ms. Scott wasn’t going to just run down her extensive catalog of soulful music. Instead, she was creating something new with each song. Before her smooth rendition of “Come See Me,” the songstress, now wearing a collared shirt and big glasses with wavy black hair, informed everyone that she was a world traveling PhD recipient. The scholar was obviously uptight, until a man came along and changed all that. Her glasses soon came off and Scott began to sing “Crown Royal,” with so much energy that she almost started scatting in the tradition of jazz greats at the end.
By the time she got to “Cross My Mind,” Jill Scott had everyone in the room wrapped around her finger. Backed by a 15-piece band, the singer’s show flowed effortlessly. This time donning a short bob, the R&B star sang two unique versions of “Quick” before taking her time with “The Fact Is (I Need You).”
But it was an anxious bride to be who delivered “The Way You Love Me” and “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat).” Singing the last lines in Spanish, she hit operatic notes as only someone deeply in love could. In a long flowing black dress, Scott re-emerged one final time to take the audience to the highest heights with “Love Rain,” “Golden,” and “I’m So Blessed.” “I woke up in the morning feeling fresh to death, I’m so blessed,” she sang, as the crowd rose to their feet.
In the short span of one night, Jill Scott managed to embody many different women. Her seamless transitions were complemented by vibrant renditions of songs that her fans love. By the end of her VH1 Storytellers performance, premiering on May 21 on 11 pm EST, the singer felt like an old friend.