There's a summer tour with The Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block coming up. She already has two albums under her belt, an American Music Award and a People's Choice Award. Next week, she is scheduled to sing the national anthem at the Kentucky Derby and appear at The Mint Jubilee gala the night before in Louisville.
Jordin Sparks has packed a lot of living — and working — into the four short years since she became the youngest winner of American Idol.
Fresh off Broadway, even fresher off a charity trip to Africa to distribute hearing aids, Sparks, 21, should be entirely too busy to record a ballad for the closing credits of Disneynature's documentary African Cats. But there she is, singing The World I Knew, cutting an African-flavored music video to go along with it.
"Because — are you listening, Disney? I would love to sing on your next princess animated movie!"
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But why stop there? Surely the Mouse has a Broadway show in the works for that big, Broadway-ready voice. Her work in the musical In the Heights earned her praise for her "assured mix of power and sensibility," said The New York Post.
"Oh, if only," she says, laughing. "I would love to do Broadway again, especially a Disney show."
We reached her by phone in Phoenix.
Question: First off: New Kids or Backstreet Boys?
Answer: "Oh, I grew up on Backstreet Boys," she says of the group that originated with two Kentuckians, Brian Littrell of Lexington and Kevin Richardson of Irvine, although Richardson is no longer with BSB. "But my mom was all about the New Kids. So this tour is going to be so interesting, just to see who comes. And it'll be just me ... up there with all those nice-looking guys!"
Q: Serious question now: Dog person or cat person?
A: "I am all about doggies, puppies. Hahaha! And African cats. Not that I have anything against any cats, really."
Q: What do you look for in a ballad?
A: "I look for the feel, for what I can do with it with my voice, what my spin on it will be. I related to this song, and it has an environmental message that a lot of my fans will relate to as well. I love songs that tell a story, maybe with a tear in your voice, maybe with a big belting moment at the end."
Q: The song has this African percussion that really takes you there musically.
A: "We talked about using a choir on the track but decided maybe not. But it needed something because it's a big-sounding song. The percussion adds so much, and then the music video using clips from the movie. It is like going to Africa."
Q: And the music video has your Lion King moment, singing at the edge of a cliff, looking down on the Circle of Life?
A: "Hahaha! That rock was actually way off the ground, and I asked them, 'You want me to walk along that and sing at the same time, without falling over?' But that works, because this documentary is like a real-live Lion King, with real lions. And I'm singing to them. That's my Tribe Rock!"