Jill Scott is an American R&B, soul, and jazz singer, songwriter, actress and poet. In 2007, Scott made her theatrical debut in the films Hounddog (as Big Mama Thornton) and in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? That same year her third studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, was released. She has won three Grammy Awards.
Scott grew up in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She began her performing career as a spoken word artist, appearing at live poetry readings to perform her work. She was eventually discovered by Amir “?uestLove” Thompson of The Roots. QuestLove invited her to join the band in the studio, and the collaboration resulted in a co-writing credit for Scott for the song, “You Got Me“. In 2000, Erykah Badu and The Roots won the Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group for “You Got Me”. Subsequently, Scott collaborated with Eric Benet, Will Smith, and Common, and broadened her performing experience by touring Canada in a production of the Broadway musical Rent.
Scott is a vocalist with unusually rich vocal capabilities who infuses jazz, R&B, spoken word, and hip hop among other genres to create a distinct style that many refer to as neo soul. Her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 was released in 2000. She enjoyed chart success with the single “A Long Walk“, which eventually earned her a Grammy nomination in early 2003 for Best Female Vocal Performance. Scott was nominated again, and won a 2005 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative R&B Performance for “Cross My Mind“. The live album, Experience: Jill Scott 826+, was released in November 2001. Her second full-length album, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2, followed in 2004. That same year, her performance with Erykah Badu and members of The Roots, was featured in the 2006 concert film, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.
A compilation volume of Scott’s poems, The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours, was published and released by St. Martin’s Press in April 2005. In 2007 Scott was featured on the George Benson & Al Jarreau collaboration “God Bless The Child“, which earned her a second Grammy Award. She won a third Grammy in 2008 for her performance on hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco’s 2006 single “Daydreaming“.
Scott’s television credits include appearances in several episodes of season four of UPN’s “Girlfriends” as well as the Showtime movie Cavedwellers, starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. She stars as Precious Ramotswe in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, a 13-episode television series co-funded by HBO and the BBC.
Scott is the founder of the Blues Babe Foundation, a program established to help young minority students pay for university expenses.