Jill Scott

Jill Scott


One of the prominent figures of the Neo Soul movement, Jill Scott is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, and actress. She mixed jazzy ballads such as “A Long Walk” and “The Way” with upbeat anthems such as “Golden” and “Hate On Me.” Along with fellow Neo Soul representative Musiq Soulchild, Jilly from Philly helped carry the torch for “The Sound of Philadelphia” from the Gamble & Huff era.

Born April 4, 1972, Jill Heather Scott was an only child raised in North Philly primarily by her mother and grandmother. Initially, she wanted to become an English teacher after graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls and attending Temple University before dropping out of college. In the mid-to-late 1990s, Scott began reading her spoken word poetry at different venues, including performing on Def Poetry Jam. Scott’s performances caught the attention of fellow Philly resident Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, the drummer and bandleader of The Roots. He invited her to a studio session, which resulted in Scott co-writing the group’s 1999 hit “You Got Me.” She was initially scheduled to sing the song’s chorus but the label opted to go with Neo Soul superstar Erykah Badu instead. The song won a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

Scott connected with another Philly representative, DJ Jazzy Jeff, who helped her get a record deal with the independent label Hidden Beach Recordings. She released her debut album Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1 in 2000 to critical acclaim and double platinum sales due to the popularity of the singles “A Long Walk” and “The Way.” She released the live album Experience: Jill Scott 826+ the following year.

Her second album, 2004’s Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2, was another critically acclaimed hit, topping the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart and peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200 before reaching Gold status. She won a Grammy Award in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category for “Cross My Mind.” Her following album, 2007’s The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart on its way to Gold status. The album would be her last release for Hidden Beach Recordings, leading to a breach of contract lawsuit from the label that would later be settled and result in the label releasing previously unreleased material.

In 2007, Scott won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for her appearance on “God Bless the Child” along with George Benson and Al Jarreau, and the following year she won another Grammy in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category for her appearance on Lupe Fiasco’s “Daydreamin'.” Her subsequent two albums, 2011’s The Light of the Sun and 2015’s Woman, both peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and the R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

On top of being a singer, Scott is an actress who has appeared on stage and screens both big and small. In 2004, she made her film debut in Cavedweller and her television debut on Girlfriends. She went on to star in Tyler Perry’s movies Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too? as well as the shows The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and First Wives Club. She is also a philanthropist, providing mentorship and scholarships through her Blues Babe Foundation.