Jazmine Sullivan is getting credit for the hard work she’s put in over the years to be deemed one of the most respected singers of her generation.
Though Sullivan debuted nearly 15 years ago, thanks to her breakthrough album Fearless, and grew her R&B base with cherished subsequent albums here and there, last year’s Heaux Tales was the biggest turning point in her career narrative.
After a six-year hiatus, Sullivan returned in August 2020 with her single “Lost One.” She followed up with more singles, including “Pick Up Your Feelings” and “Girl Like Me” featuring H.E.R. All three songs were released ahead of Sullivan’s Heaux Tales project.
“I wrote Heaux Tales to give voice to every woman,” Sullivan explained. “We’re deserving of respect whether we as a CEO of a company or if we strippin. It’s about unity. It’s about boldness. It’s about ownership and confidence and also vulnerability and self-reflection.”
Heaux Tales was released on Jan. 8, 2021, immediately proving that it would be a hit with critics and fans. In November 2021, Sullivan was announced as a multiple Grammy nominee. She scored nominations in the R&B field, including Best R&B Song, Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best R&B Album.
Sullivan had feelings similar to those she experienced recently for Heaux Tales as she gained most of her 15 nominations (career total) from her Fearless album. Acknowledged seven times from 2009 to 2010, Sullivan could not secure one win, including a nod in one of the big four categories: Best New Artist.
But the past year and a half has made Sullivan into a bonafide superstar whose presence and value as an artist is hard to deny.
As we anticipate to see who will win on Music’s Biggest Night, here’s a look back at Sullivan’s road to the 64th Grammy Awards, including milestones leading up to this point.
Her Debut on NPR’s Tiny Desk — Jan. 8, 2021
On the release day of Heaux Tales, Sullivan’s NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert premiered. With it being her first time performing on the show, she took full advantage of the moment with her setlist mostly consisting of songs from Heaux Tales.
Back at No.1 — Jan. 23, 2021
Heaux Tales debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart with 43,000 equivalent units sold in the first week. Sullivan earned her first leader on this chart in 2015 with Reality Show.
Major Visibility — Feb. 7, 2021
Sullivan was the center of attention at the Super Bowl LV pregame show alongside Eric Church. The two performed the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Feelings” Rises to Top — March 2022
“Pick Up Your Feelings,” the project’s most obvious catalyst, peaked at No. 1 on the R&B radio and Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay charts. It marked the first time in her career that she led either chart.
NAACP Image Awards Performance — March 27, 2021
Sullivan was among the performers at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards. She commanded this virtual performance with a live rendition of her newly-minted chart-topper “Pick Up Your Feelings.”
First Gold Single Award From RIAA — May 3, 2021
Sullivan earned a gold plaque from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for “Pick Up Your Feelings.” The single sold more than 500,000 equivalent units and was Sullivan’s first gold award for a track.
Love at Urban Radio — June 2022
That June, Sullivan graced the top 10 of urban radio for the first time in more than a decade with “Pick Up Your Feelings.” She last held a position within those ranks with “Holding You Down (Goin In Circles)” in 2010.
Big Win at BET Awards — June 27, 2021
Sullivan was presented with the highest honor at the 2021 BET Awards: Album of the Year. Heaux Tales beat out albums by The Weeknd, Megan Thee Stallion, Chloe x Halle, Nas and DaBaby.
Essence Festival — June 2021
The Essence Festival returned for the second year in a virtual setting. Sullivan was one of the performers on the lineup.
Special Concert for Grubhub — Aug. 18, 2021
Grubhub booked Sullivan to co-headline their Sound Bites Concert series. As expected, it was another flawless set. For 35 minutes, Sullivan sang her heart out as she revisited some of her past material and songs from Heaux Tales.
Fighting for Close Cause — Oct. 2021
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sullivan used her platform and close-to-home experience with her mother to be a spokesperson for Novartis’ breast cancer initiative.
“Going through and getting through that, I feel like it’s my duty to help anybody else who’s experiencing that,” Sullivan told Rated R&B in an interview.
“I know how hard it is and how lonely it can feel. I want people to know that they’re not in this alone. There are people that care about them, love them and want them to beat this thing.”
Grammy Nominations — Nov. 23, 2021
Sullivan picked up three 2022 Grammy nominations, including Best R&B Song and Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Pick Up Your Feelings” and Best R&B Album for Heaux Tales.
Another Major Win — Nov. 28, 2021
Sullivan took home Album of the Year for Heaux Tales and won Best R&B/Soul Female Artist at the 2021 Soul Train Awards.
Headlining Tour — Nov. 30, 2021
Following her two Soul Train Awards wins, Sullivan announced dates for The Heaux Tales Tour.
Rated R&B’s Year-End List — Dec. 18, 2021
Heaux Tales was declared the Best R&B Album of 2021 by Rated R&B. Antwane Folk noted, “With each project, Sullivan brings herself back to the fore, establishing new connections based on timely and unpleasant subjects she and so many people, particularly Black women, identify with and confront daily. Heaux Tales is no different, if not better.”
Platinum Single Award — Jan. 19, 2022
“Pick Up Your Feelings” was certified platinum by the RIAA for having sold more than one million equivalent units. It marked Sullivan’s first platinum-selling single.
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Another Gold-Certified Hit — Feb. 8, 2022
“Girl Like Me,” the duet featuring H.E.R, gained Sullivan a gold award and her second certified single by the RIAA.
Deluxe Edition of Heaux Tales — Feb. 11, 2022
Heaux Tales was reissued as Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe. It featured ten new tracks and tales, including the Leven Kali-produced “Tragic.”
2022 Roots Picnic — Feb. 15, 2022
Philly’s hometown girl will be one of the voices heard during the return of the annual Roots Picnic this June. The two-day festival will be available to stream via The Roots official YouTube channel for those unable to attend.
More Wins at NAACP Image Awards — Feb. 24, 2022
Sullivan reigned as the top winner during night four of the NAACP Image Awards non-televised award categories. Her armload of trophies included Outstanding Female Artist, Outstanding Soul/R&B Song (“Pick Up Your Feelings”) and Outstanding Album (Heaux Tales).
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Essence Festival Lineup — March 3, 2022
After blowing audiences away at the virtual Essence Festival of Culture last summer, Sullivan has been asked to come back and perform in-person at this year’s celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Essence Festival will be held from June 30-July 3.
Lollapalooza 2022 — March 22, 2022
Sullivan announced that she is performing at Lollapalooza 2022 for the first time this summer. The four-day festival takes place this July in Chicago.
R&B Artist of the Year — March 22, 2022
Ahead of the iHeartRadio Music Awards telecast, Sullivan graciously accepted R&B Artist of the Year.
“Thank you @iheartradio for this recognition and congrats to all the other incredible nominees. R&B is alive and well!”
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