Jazmine Sullivan: Product vs Promotion

Published: Wednesday 28th Sep 2011 by Rashad

The 2008 debut of Missy Elliott’s Pennsylvanian protégé Jazmine Sullivan was indeed an introduction to some. But given her songwriting resume (see: Christina Milian, Monica, Jennifer Hudson) and already established Youtube following long before ‘Fearless’ hit shelves, by the time ‘Need U Bad’ blared from Urban radios, her unmistakable contralto was already a celebrity.

Showcasing a maturity in tone and technique far beyond her years, many would be forgiven for not knowing the ‘Bust Your Windows’ beauty was only 21 the year her debut LP arrived on record shelves. Heralded by many as the second-coming of Lauryn Hill, Sullivan’s soulful servings instantly gained her mainstream notoriety – some even christening her as R&B’s long-awaited messiah. Four hit R&B singles would follow ‘Fearless’ as it made an impressive top 10 debut. And, with Jazmine garnering an impressive 5 Grammy nods for the album, it appeared she was on her way to the same heights once held by Hill. Unfortunately, that trek to compeer Hill quickly turned uphill.

For, while her singles (that never made much noise on Pop charts anyway) were losing ground on home fronts, the singer was unceremoniously snubbed at the 2009 Grammy’s. This, of course, only furthering fears that the ‘Fearless’ follow-up would suffer a sophomore slump.

Enter ‘Love Me Back’ – ‘Fearless’ unsuccessful successor headed by R&B hit ‘Holding You Down (Goin’ In Circles)’. And, though marginally besting the first week sales of her first album, ‘Love Me Back’ wasn’t getting much love from record buyers. Consequently, many believe, leading the soulful songstress to ‘retire’ from the industry indefinitely.

That Grape Juice wants to know – what is the problem? Clearly one of this generation’s leading talents, the promo from her introductory hype alone helped float her first album sales. Albeit very deserved, could the lack of such her second-go-round have played a role in its successor’s sink? Lack of singles? Bad videos? Some may even argue weight gain, but the successes of the Adeles of the world could counter that argument.

Or, regardless of Jazmine’s mega-talent, was the material from ‘Love Me Back’ too dated and unappealing to garner mainstream success?

You tell us. Product vs. Promotion? What’s Jazmine Sullivan’s shortcoming?

Your thoughts?

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  1. SlappinHoesSince89 September 28, 2011


  2. Steffon September 28, 2011

    The younger generation doesn’t understand real music. This isn’t the 90’s anymore. Jazmine would have killed in the 90’s because back then everything was about just the music and voices. Its sad because she really is talented. I would say size has something to do with it but then look at Adele so I don’t know. R&B will never be the same. If you think about it when was the last a R&B song hit #1 on billboard? Wish her well tho and I hope shes comes back.

  3. ASAP (As Sincere As Possible) September 28, 2011

    Ok, these posts are reaching!Whilst I appreciate the fact that you make articles about non-mainstream artists too, those posts are becoming TOO over-analytical, damn it!!I don’t want any more analysis about why her career is not hyper-successful.Not everyone has to be Britney or GaGa.Some people (15-20) will be selling huge amounts and being extremely, over the top popular and some others (400) will have a good following and when they deliver a good song, they will sell.Why do we have to complicate things more than that???I love some of her songs, she has a nice raspy voice and she’s watching her dream come true.Not every artist has to be multi-platinum and a pop icon.CHILL!!

  4. I.D. September 28, 2011

    I think a bit of both. There should’ve been a LOT more promotion, but I agree with Steffon about the youth not unable to appreciate real music in this day and age. Therefore, I think that Jazmine should’ve put a couple of commercial tracks on the album, released them as singles in order to get her airplay on the mainstream radio/TV channels and to open her up to a wider audience, and the rest of the album is REAL music. Eminem has been doing it since DAY ONE. He’ll come with a new album, the first single will have a silly sing-along hook, and you’ll see his album fly off the shelves. The rest of his album is a lot deeper, darker, and REALER than the lead single.

  5. Baleia September 28, 2011

    This billboard talk is so annoying. Jazmine haz\ a real talent. Love me back was a great album with a masterpiece – don’t make me wait. Others r&b songstress survived years without numbers or Hot 100 see: Chaka Khan, Stephanie Mills, Gladys Knight… Don’t put Jazmine at the the same level as karaoke singers like Rihana, Bey …

  6. besos…. September 28, 2011

    I love “Love Me Back’ – it’s a highly underrated CD….The promotion on it was whack and she barely did any performances 🙁

  7. KD September 28, 2011

    Isn’t if funny how these posts always feature so called musical connoisseurs, that talk about “real music”. What is real music? Who decides what is real and what is not? What I’m saying is all these musical snobs above me need to take several seats because they likely aren’t putting their money where their mouths are.

    While I am a fan of Ms. Sullivan, I do find her vocal delivery extremely monotonous i.e. she sings her songs the exact same way (NOTE: I did not say that she is a bad singer). Based on the above question I would have to say that her problem is the both product and promotion. But as an earlier poster already said, not everyone is meant to be a megastar and unfortunately Jazmine is one of those people. She does not appeal to the music buying population and as a result no record company will plough money into such an act.

  8. KD September 28, 2011

    *if = it


    Her voice irritates me ! ughhh

  10. Beyonce Fanatic September 28, 2011

    “Love Me Back” was the damn f****** truth. I love the album and it is definitely very underated. “Good Enough”. “Stuttering:,and Don’t Make Me Wait” are my faves, but I love the whole album and never have to skip a track.

    Jazmine SUllivan def deserved better promo that she got. But at the same time in a world where electro dance pop relevant, it’s hard for artist like Jazmine to get their music heard.


    First of all, you don’t need to bring other singers into this to make a point.

    Second, Beyonce is far from a karaoke singer. Save that s*** for the birds/

  11. I.D. September 28, 2011

    @ KD

    Real music is music with timeless beats and lyrics that stand the test of time, as opposed to disposable, trendy music of the moment which will not be appreciated in a few years time.


    Real Music who gives a f*** !

  13. KENUDIGME September 28, 2011

    LETS KEEP IT REAL. HER WEIGHT is the ISSUE when she came back with Love Me Back, this girl who was already thick – PUT ON ALOT OF POUNDS. I think thats why she talked about leaving the music industry at one time…or taking a break. HER WEIGHT is the issue she has with herself, and its an issue with pushing her main stream.

  14. Pop Royalty (RUDE BOY) September 28, 2011


    Her weight won’t be a an issue if the material was good ! Example : ADELE !
    Adele is slaying while NOT having the IT GIRL image ! And she dint use s** or anything ! Why can’t jaz take notes ?!

    And a lot of pop Icons were ” not thin” ! Like ARETHA FRANKLIN ! so the whole weight issue is not the case here !

    she just not confident and her material don’t give her the push she needs to achieve her dream !

  15. Pop Royalty (RUDE BOY) September 28, 2011

    Didn’t *

  16. James Al September 28, 2011

    IT’S JUST A SIGN OF THE TIMES… Jazmine Sullivan is the TRUTH in my book… Her pen and vocal delivery is AMAZING… “My Foolish Heart”, “Call Me Guilty”, “Lions, Tigers & Bears”, “Live A Lie”, “In Love With Another Man”, “Good Enough’, muthaf’n “Redemption”, “Stuttering”, “Boy Why”, “I Am Not A Robot”, “Cyber Love”, “Cry”, “Best Of Me”, “Make You Stay”, “In Vain”, “Pressue”, etc… That DAMN Cotton Commercial used to make me catch the Holy Ghost… LOL… This girl is CRAZY talented… I believe the problem is the day and time… @Steffon and @Baleia made some great points… To me, she appeared to be happier when she was an underground artists trying to make it BIG…. Even though most us don’t know her personally, songs like “Famous”, “Fame”, “Catalog Girl” and “Fear” makes me believe that she isn’t content with the way the industry treats her… I wish her the BEST, and she will always have a FAN in me!!!

  17. MALE MADONNA September 28, 2011

    Jazmine Sullivan’s talent is UN SPEAKABLE!!! Im a DIE HARD fan!!!! But i think her promotion team sucked!! Many people didnt even know she had an album coming out!!

  18. BitchIcantevenspellwelfare September 28, 2011

    I LOVED “Fearless” but “Love Me Back” didn’t capture my attention the same way, though I can say it is a good album. “Don’t Make Me Wait” is, hands down, my favorite Jazmine Sullivan song ever. Great song!!!!!

    In terms of the question of her success, I really don’t see R & B music being commercially successful anytime soon. I’m personally okay with that because Frank Ocean, Rahsaan Patterson, Lalah Hathaway, Muhsinah, Jesse Boykins, Marques Toliver, Spree Wilson, Rochelle Jordan, etc…have been giving me everything i need in the underground.

    I do hope that Jazmine returns to music; however, i truly understand why she would stay away forever.

  19. I’ma have to send her to her maker September 28, 2011

    Sam, I just wanted to say that I’ve been a fan of jazmine sullivan for a long time. In a world of bland filled mainstream music she definitely delivers the goods every time. She may not have a devoted fanbase like big stars of today like beyonce and whoever else but this woman is every definition of a real artist with profound lyrics and excellent vocals. A real musician. I think she’s one of those types too good for societal standards. She is liked by many fellow musicians in the industry tho and praised. But I guess it’s about promotion. I think since 2006 has been going downhill and not appreciated enough by audiences. But that’s okay. I’m not quick to bandwagon. Cuz of course I love my pop music and generics sounds but I always hold on to ppl like this with genuine raw talent.

    I will just say tho it’s inevitably about promotion! Jazmine does not have a lot of that but oh well! I’m currently listening to 10 seconds btw on my ipod!

  20. I’ma have to send her to her maker September 28, 2011

    *R&B has gone downhill and not appreciated enough by audiences

  21. I’ma have to send her to her maker September 28, 2011

    @Kenudigme weight doesn’t always matter especially since ppl like jill scott and adele are very successful.

  22. shalonda September 28, 2011

    Music today is all about look’s! We all know!

  23. Casual September 28, 2011

    More product than promotion. No matter how much promotion you do, you have to have a HOT single. Record labels used to be able to muscle their artist up the charts, but Soundscan and BDS have made that impossible. You’ll get further with minimal promotion of a hot single than with maximum promotion of a dud.


    Well even though I am not a big fan of her voice ! LOL
    She does have some songs that I like…!
    I think she needs a hot R&B-Pop song that will burn the charts….!

  25. credits September 28, 2011

    @james al, you just named every song i love from her.

  26. TYLER September 28, 2011




  27. REALTALK 101 September 28, 2011

    I agree with Tyler. The “IT FACTOR ” is clearly missing. As for Adele, the US gives more love to foreigners for some strange reason. Maybe it’s because the UK embraced her first and the US didnt wanna miss out. A great voice in today’s music just isnt enough. You have to give the label something to promote and if your not news worthy it’s very easy to get lost in the mix. Some artist come off like their so good that they don’t have to sell it and that is not the case. You have to make people wanna buy your cds and come to your concerts.

  28. Frieda (THE VOICE) September 28, 2011

    I agree that Jazmine songs do tend to sound the same and I believe that it is because her voice is very distinctive, so after a while you just get tired of listening to her. I think that Jaz needs to show variety in song selections. I absolutely adore Jazmines rendition of resentment. It is my favorite by far because she want singing so hard and ruff. It was smooth and beautiful

  29. lmao September 28, 2011

    personally i flat out loooove her but she’s a quicker. she needs to just work hard like MJB and those bfo her did and her time will come but it will NEVER come to a quitter. And my goodness i love BOTH her cd’s. someone should have told her that bc you can sing don’t mean that you’ll INSTANTLY be the s***. come back Jaz!!

  30. Bam Bam September 28, 2011

    I think its a little of both…..Even though I love her music and she can #sang a lot of people under the bus (see. four of those people in Jamir21 name)…….Anyway when her last album came out I did not see her performing or promoting anywhere…….Just like Kelly when Here I Am came out she was nowhere to be found……. Back to Jazmine……She is criminally underrated and she was robbed at the Grammys because of the whole J. Hud situation….

  31. B4REAL2 September 28, 2011




  32. Mely B September 28, 2011

    In Jazmine’s case it’s definitely lack of promotion because both of her albums are still in heavy rotation on my mp3 player! There was a great post on Lipstick Alley regarding these records labels habit of signing promising young artists who “threaten” one of their stars and then shelving them.

    Jazzy is on J-Records (Queen Keys rules that roost) – her sound is very close to what AKeys USED to do (very soulful, heart tugging lyrics). So what do you do if you think a new young artist will shine brighter in the r&b realm than your cash cow? Simple – sign her then do jack boo nada to promote her. The only reason I knew when her album was coming out was because I stayed on the lookout for it on Amazon.

    I’m also frustrated with this new school philosophy that just because a bunch of yt teens don’t support an artist, they’re a flop. The r&b chart is just as significant to me as it ever was – one thing I don’t want to continue to see are r&b artists putting out weak wack a** electro/techno/dance s*** just to appeal to a pop audience because it’s inauthentic.

    Finally Jazzy is a beautiful talented young woman period and as others have mentioned – Adele is a big girl, Jill Scott is a big girl and they have cultivated a loyal following and so, too will Jazzy if she’s promoted properly. It burns my b*** cheeks to remember her being nominated for 5 grammies yet NOT performing @ the Grammies that year.

  33. THEMAN September 28, 2011

    Jazmine is talented, and is a great artist. But she has to tone up her performing skills. She also needs to work on her stage presence. Her albums both of them are great. But they didn’t promote her second album that well. By the way her first album is actually gold.

  34. Lana Bell September 28, 2011

    I would have to agree with a few of the previous posts that it was promotion. There is no doubt in my mind that Jazzy has what it takes. What makes her different is that she does not try to go mainstream and imo she does not need to. Her music is a reflection of true R&B music. She has beautiful raspy vocals and on top of that her music has depth, a quality that is lacking in a lot of today’s music.

    I’m hoping that she will return to music in the future. She has so much to offer. I <3 her!

  35. Popeater September 28, 2011

    I agree with most of the comments. Both of her CDs were excellent, yet underrated. I think her last cd was even better. The promotion was lackluster. J Records has too many divas on its label (AKeys, J.Hud, Monica, Fantasia). She simply gets lost in the shuffle.

    However, she needs more drive. There was no reason for her to leave the industry. If she hustles she will eventually get the recognition she deserves. She’s still very young. She also needs to know what direction to go in. I’ve seen her on stage before, you can’t be gyrating like Beyonce on stage, wearing outfits 2 sizes too small when you are plus size. It just doesn’t work. She needs to class it up and ton it tone when performing live.

    She will find what works best for her eventually.

  36. Tan September 28, 2011

    I believe it is both. I think Jasmine is very talented as a writer and as a vocalist, she has talent but it always sounds like she needs to clear her throat. I think she put out good music but needs to have better promotion. As far as her weight is concerned, I could care less, just find better clothing. I don’t know why people in Hollywood act like it’s hard to clothe a curvy woman. She needs to find a new refreshing look, big or small, find people who will invest in promoting her and she can polish her live vocal game then she will soar. I wish her the best!

  37. Scott September 28, 2011

    The poster who talked about Jazmines weight issue is telling the truth. When she did Bust the Windows she was well built but not fat. SHE WAS MARKETED AS A NEW POP VOICE AND ONE TO WATCH. Although it should not matter it does if like Jazmine you are young and being marketed as a pop/soul act. I think in a way she let herself go and sometimes the music is not enough. None of the bigger black female singers like Angie, Jill and Marsha have been Internationally as big as they should be and I think some people and the media are superficial . I noticed that Marsha seemed to get more attention since she lost the weight just like Jennifer Hudson.Of course though we are still not as well promoted, given equal radio airplay and the media is still dominated by people who do not willingly put black acts other than Beyonce and Rihanna on covers. Adele is different she is a white girl singing soul and white people always want a white face doing black styles.


    She just needs a hot song !
    Bye the way I changed my name…..I dropped the illuminati !

  39. commanderofthedancefloor September 28, 2011

    r&b artist aren’t really competing with today’s market. everyone knows that today pop is what is popular, if it were 15 years ago she would sell. and in my opinion image only has a little to do with sales. like gaga, when she first came out, it was her image that got her noticed but her music was good so that is why she sold. then you have adele, who got some attention with 19 and then came 21 and it took off, and there had absolutely nothing to do with her image, it was all about the music.

  40. stan September 28, 2011

    definitely promotion.

    “holding you down” was a decent-sized hit on the r&b charts, but iirc, there was little promotion for the album. few performances, no tour, etc.

    and for her to call it quits after a lackluster sales is pretty discouraging. where’s the fire? if she’s truly in it, she’ll keep grinding and pushing.

  41. Kyle September 28, 2011

    I think in Jazmine’s case it was more so the lack of promotion surrounding her second album. I remember the album was first slated to come out at the beginning of November, and then got pushed back to the end of the month. This was the first problem because “Holding You Down” was already losing it’s steam on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts which had been out since August. The weeks leading up to the albums release Jazmine was nowhere to be found and the day it came out the only appearance she made was on 106 & Park. She did tour with MJB but when you tour you are probably only promoting to people who already know your album is coming out. It was very disappointing too because I personally think “Love Me Back” was a step up from her debut album. Great soul music. I hope Jazmine comes back because she is an asset to the urban community IMO. But if she doesnt, at least she released two TIMELESS albums that will always sound good no matter when and where you play them.

  42. RATEDXXX(AKARATEDX) September 28, 2011

    what the f*** does having a hit song got to do with talent? people kill me when they say all she/he needs is a hit song..

    lets keep it real, talent does not sell anymore..it rare to see somebody with actual talent selling on and off the charts..see adele..

    I would rather pay to see somebody with actual talent, sit in a chair and sing their heart out, than pay to go see a buck ass naked chick, attempting to sing and dance…

    she can sing circle around these so call singers out there..but because shes not out there popping her c******, showing her naked titties and ass 24/7, and not skinny..she doesnt have the it factor

  43. SeanB September 28, 2011

    Seriously, it may not be intentional but it seems this post is definitely throwing major SHADE towards jasmines direction. It’s wayyyy too early to be having this discussion, jasmine is still young, hungry, and talented.. bottom line. she makes great music and with an undeniable talent like hers I’m sure the recognition she deserves will be coming soon.. She’s an intelligent woman; if she wanted to sell more records and be like everyone else, I highly doubt she’d have a problem doing so. I commend her for remaining true to her self and to her craft.

  44. xedos September 28, 2011

    Ugly boring ass people don’t sell music don’t get magazine covers.

  45. vicious vixen September 28, 2011

    First of all I have to say that I LOVE Jazmine!!! She is THE TRUTH!!! Not only is she able to sang (yes I meant to spell it that way), but she has what a LOT of today’s so called “talent” doesn’t have… And that’s meaningful lyrics & soul (she’s easy to relate to), thereby making many of her songs timeless. I’d also have to say that not only that but I can FEEL what she sings about (she puts her heart into her product and I adore that about her). I believe that the promotion was extremely lacking because there was really nothing wrong with the product. Her albums were FIYAH!!! Did I mention that she’s crazy talented? 😆

    Anywhon I hope that she comes back to the game soon. *yelling in my Prince voice* “COME BACK JAZMINE COME BACK!” 😆

  46. …baa, president of the itty bitty titty committee September 28, 2011

    Okay this issue can be attacked from many sides but starting first with this right here —> “Some may even argue weight gain, but the successes of the Adeles of the world could counter that argument”

    You cannot compare the success of a WHITE NON-AMERICAN FEMALE to a BLACK AMERICAN FEMALE! In America they will most definitely be treated differently regardless of weight! Adele is considered an anomaly. She’s a blue-eyed soul singer making pop music. Her marketing has been quite different and more than Jazmine Sullivan could ever hope to experience!

    I feel that the continued lack of resources put behind marketing R&B/Soul music is to blame. If an artist does not make Pop, Contry, or Hip Hop music, they might as well “give up the ghost”!


    She just needs a HIT SONG LOL !!!!
    I mean her voice is just tooo raspy…but i like some of her songs !

  48. Jasmine September 28, 2011

    I think she just unfortunately had a sophomore slump. The material on her second album should have been chosen better and her voice needs quality production. Too much filler songs made it on the album and the two singles were good, but not great. A similar thing happened to India Arie with her sophomore slump. India Arie got a lot of grammy nominations with her first album and did not even win one. Her second CD did not sell too well but her following releases have done a lot better. I think Jazmine should just brush it off as a sophomore slump and come back with a new album that has great singles.

  49. Angie September 28, 2011

    I personally love Jazmine Sullivan, but why all the Adele comparisons? Adele is in her own lane because she is a white woman singing amazing soul music. She is in her own lane, therefore you cannot compare the two just because they’re both considered plus-size. On the other hand, young black women singing r&b/soul music come a dime a dozen, therefore she is not as unique.

    Just a brief rant about my biggest music pet peeve: I hate when people start talking about what’s real music and what isn’t. All music is real music. I am a music lover, but when I am not particularly fond of something I hear, I can state intelligently why I don’t like it. I don’t rely on saying that it’s not real.

  50. nice_gurl September 29, 2011

    The problem is R&B music is just not selling anymore, ever since around 2006. How often do you see an R&B song withing the top 10 on the charts? It’s a shame and bad for R&B fans like me.

  51. September 29, 2011

    Jazzy can blow!

  52. commanderofthedancefloor September 29, 2011


    co-sign, i agree with every word you said 🙂

    somebody else to look at is also amy whinehouse, i mean who would of thought she would of sold so many albums, it was a surprise because she has some real good deep music on back to black and it was completely different from mainstream music yet it outsold many albums.

  53. antertain September 29, 2011

    R&B is just underconstruction PERIOD.
    Unfortunately it aint mixing at the top of the genres like it used to so its about rebuilding the foundations and staying true to its form which made it a force in the 90’s.

    Steadily im hearing a lot more of the R&B roots springing itself so i hope it the way forward

  54. fanfromwayback September 30, 2011

    I am from the younger generation and i have a love a respect for Jazmine Sullivan. Her underground music is her best stuff. It seems as if they changed who she was. The industry took her soul amd that’s what her loyal fans miss. She ia not a pop star she is a soul singer.

  55. corey September 30, 2011

    Jazmine needs further artist development, she has no artist identity. Her voice is incredible as is her music (IMO) however as an african american artist UNFORTUNATELY image is apart of the package first.period. She just needs a little image reinvention to draw the people in, unfortunate yes, but fact none the less.

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