Jordin Sparks didn’t get any traction until she received a boost from Chris Brown via their duet “No Air,” the one moment on her 2007 eponymous debut that felt unquestionably modern, so it makes perfect sense that her second album,Battlefield, ditches almost all lingering American Idol pageantry for stylized pop and R&B pitched halfway between Rihanna (whose “S.O.S.” is essentially rewritten here, with Shannon’s “Let the Music Play” substituted for “Tainted Love”) and Leona Lewis. Jordin has had enough success to hire some of 2009′s biggest hitmakers in the business, including T-Pain and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder. Most of these namebrands are recordmakers, not songwriters, so it’s not a great surprise to find Battlefield works as a collection of productions where Jordin’s voice is merely one element of the overall picture. This sentiment doesn’t apply quite as strongly to the clutch of Sparks’ collaborations grouped toward the end of the album — all ballads, some with vaguely spiritual overtones such as “Faith,” whose chorus inadvertently flirts with John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith In Me” — but for the first two-thirds of Battlefield, it’s all a cool, expertly crafted modern pop and R&B, which is enough for Sparks to sustain her momentum.
Sparks is the daughter of former NFL football player, Phillippi Sparks, and wife Jodi Sparks. She has a younger brother named PJ (Phillippi Sparks, Jr.). As a daughter of a Black father and a White mother, she is biracial. She is managed by maternal grandmother Pam Wiedmann. Her aunt Shari is an actress & model.Sparks is currently homeschooled. She is a fan of football, reading, and music. She also attends church. She has been singing since she was 18 months old
In 2007, Sparks appeared on the January 17, 2007 broadcast of sixth season of American Idol, earning a “gold ticket” and the right to appear in the Hollywood Round. Already a favorite in the contest, American Idol judge Randy Jackson, made the an offhand prediction that “Curly hair will win this year.” Which may have been made in reference to Sparks. Before going on to AI, she won Arizona Idol, she has progressed further through the AI process than any previous Arizona Idol contestant.
In 2006, Sparks was one of two winners who won the Phoenix Torrid search for the “Next Plus Size Model”. She was flown to California where she was used in a number of Torrid ads and promotional pieces. A full-page ad for Torrid featuring Jordin ran in the December, 2006 issue of Seventeen magazine.
Sparks finished second in 2004 at the coveted Music in the Rockies national competition for aspiring Contemporary Christian Music artists.
In 2004, Sparks appeared in America’s Most Talented Kids twice, and won in her first appearance. She was one of seven to appear in a special championship edition of the show. This appearance followed two noted auditions in 2003, one with American Juniors and the other, Star Search
Sparks has performed the national anthem at various sporting events, notably the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. She has also sung in such events as Country Thunder, a famous country music venue. She has appeared with celebrities Alice Cooper (in his 2004 Christmas show) and has twice toured with Christian contemporary singer Michael W. Smith. Smith has shown support of Sparks by encouraging Idol viewers to vote for her on his website
Sparks recorded an album titled For Now in 2003, a five-song album at the age of thirteen, working with Matthew Ward, a legendary Christian music artist, and Gary Leach, an engineer who has worked on several of LeAnn Rimes’ albums. She appeared in a compilation album titled Live at Mr. Lucky’s in 2004.
As an actress, Sparks has appeared in several plays, recently starring in a dual role as characters Deborah and Bea in Magdalene at the Plumbline Theater in Franklin, Tennessee. She has also performed several times with Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, AZ. Her first appearance was in March, 2002 as an Emerald City dancer and as a poppy in The Wiz. She also appeared in VYT’s production of Cinderella in June, 2002 and another production of The Wiz in August, 2002.