2014 has been a revelatory year for Jordin Sparks. Between highs, like her new #ByeFelicia mixtape, and lows, like her split from fiancé Jason Derulo, the pretty star has plenty of material for her forthcoming album.
But while she’s breaking new ground musically these days, Sparks has been fielding the same questions about her relationship with Derulo since they went their separate ways in September.
The conversation surrounding the former couple reached a fever pitch with the November release of Sparks’ mixtape — and, quite specifically, the track “How Bout Now,” which seems to put her ex on blast.
Really, though, is that in and of itself enough to merit so much focus?
Aside from the fact that #ByeFelicia — Sparks’ first release since 2009’s Battlefield — is fantastic and deserves to be clamored over for its artistry, a woman singing about a breakup shouldn’t merit quite so much scrutiny, should it? It’s not like the fellas aren’t airing their relationship laundry.
“Yes, they do it all the time,” Sparks agreed, “and I do feel like there is a little bit of a double standard, because coming from a woman, it’s like, ‘Wow, she said what? She actually said something?’ I feel like still, even though we are in 2014, there are still those things people hold onto.”
If anything, Sparks is simply furthering an age-old conversation through her music, addressing the discrepancies that exist between men and women in music… and beyond.
“You know, the guy can speak out, but the woman shouldn’t. She should just keep it inside and not say anything,” said Sparks.
“I don’t really have to say anything about the breakup,” she continued. “There’s nothing that I need to tell anybody.” But addressing the breakup in song came about organically, as the American Idol alum had been in the studio recording before the split even transpired.
“I would just go in every day and whatever happened happened, and I happened to get some amazing stuff out of that,” she said. “I was like, ‘You know, I’m going to put that out, and I’m just going to let that speak.'”
Keeping it classy, as she is wont to do, Sparks doesn’t dish on Derulo, throw him under the bus or otherwise take him to task during our interview. She simply offers that the music speaks for itself.
And that it does.
#ByeFelicia has been generating a ton of positive buzz, particularly from women who relate to the easy (and, let’s be honest, badass) confidence with which Sparks stands up for herself on the tracks.
Although Sparks is quick to point out that she feels like music is a universal language, which speaks to everyone, she admits this brand of deep and personal candor can really serve as a unifier for women. “I feel like if you’ve gone through a specific kind of hurt or a specific kind of love or loss, you can really relate to certain songs,” she said.
It’s precisely that kind of sincerity Sparks was going for with #ByeFelicia and on her upcoming album, Right Here, Right Now.
“I feel like people are searching for authenticity now,” she shared with us. “People want to hear what the artist has to say, not what somebody tells you to say or not what you’re manufactured to say.”
And, in expressing that in her music, Sparks earned an unlikely ally.
“I wanted to let the music speak, and Taylor [Swift] is a great example of that,” Sparks said of her fellow singer, who is well known for penning lyrics about breakups.
“And you know what is amazing? She reached out to me when I was going through all of that. She reached out, and I was just like, ‘This girl is so awesome! She’s just so awesome,'” Sparks said, laughing. “She’s just as awesome as everybody says she is.”
“I was not expecting that,” Sparks admitted of the sweet gesture, “so it was amazing.”