Idol champ Sparks at peace with "Battlefield"
By Gary Graff
DETROIT (Billboard) - The recording of Jordin Sparks' sophomore album, "Battlefield," was much more peaceable than its title might imply. In fact, the season six "American Idol" champ says the set, due out July 21, was a far less chaotic undertaking than her platinum 2007 debut.
"With the first album, right after we got off the 'American Idol' tour ... they were like, 'OK, they want your music NOW and you have to record it,'" Sparks says. "I literally think I recorded the album in a little over 20 days ... This time I got to take my time, and if I recorded a song and didn't like it, I was able to say, 'OK, don't like this one' or let it grow with me a little bit."
Best of all, Sparks adds, was she was able to write more songs this time out, four of which made the album. "I'm excited for fans to hear my heart and hear what I've been thinking," she says, adding that in the two years since the release of her self-titled first album, "I've grown up a little bit and gone through a couple of things, so I'm excited to see what people think."
Sparks recorded "Battlefield" -- whose title track is No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- between January and June. the set includes a cover of Fefe Dobson's "Don't Let It Go to Your Head," which Sparks says "I had on my iPod for the longest time." The album, she says, reflects growth and maturity, as well as a step in a dancier direction on "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)," which samples the Shannon hit. But ultimately, Sparks says, she's "still just the ballad-singer girl from 'American Idol.'"
"That's how people fell in love with me on 'Idol' and how I came up," she added. "That's what's on this album ... I don't talk about things I don't know about; sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, I don't know about any of those things. I just talk about things that are kind of universal -- love, friendship, things like that. I think the world needs to hear some of that ... something good and something happy."
Sparks is in the midst of touring with the Jonas Brothers and, she says, loves the opportunity to get in front of their audience. "It's been awesome. I've known the boys for two years now; with this tour it's so great to get to know them individually, 'cause I've known them as the group ... And professionally, I'm so blessed and so lucky to be on this tour. I'll be in front of a little over a million people this summer. What more can I ask for?"
(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)