Randee St Nicholas
AOL Music caught up with Jordin to get the details on her drastic body makeover, her crush on actor Jake Gyllenhaal and how she's working her tush off including incorporating choreography into her performance for the first time in her career.
What is the message of your new single, 'I Am Woman'?
'I Am Woman' is a song about different aspects of the lives of women. It could be a mother, a performer, a woman working in a corporate space -- it's all about what we go through as women and how our lives are so crazy. Walk a mile in my shoes, or in my stilettos, if you dare and see what happens. It's all about the strengths that a woman has: how we can multitask and carry so much, yet still always be on point when we need to be and on cue when we need to be. It's all about the amazingness of a woman.
The public got to know you on 'American Idol' when you were 17 years old. Did you feel the need to establish yourself as a woman to the industry and to your public?
People change and develop different mindsets. I turned 21 in December, and it was really funny because I was sitting and thinking about it and I thought, "You know what? Most people still have me carved in their minds as the person I was the last time they saw me," which for a lot of people was on 'American Idol' when I was 17. And I won, and I was the youngest winner ever and still am. A lot of people still have that in their heads and I've been greeted with "Oh, how's school?" and things like that.
So I said, "OK! Let's just evolve a little bit and grow up a little bit," and my people see that. It's not like I'm trying to be like "I'm a woman now. I can't do anything that has to do with being young," but I'm in that transitional phase of going from a young lady to a woman and discovering who I am and being proud of that. I just want to show that more than anything. And you know, a lot of my fans are growing up with me and going through the same things. So, that was the message I wanted to get across in the song. I like clothes; I will keep my clothes on! [laughs]
posted a personal photo of yourself posing in an itty-bitty bikini on your Twitter page just a few days ago ...
[Laughs] Yes! Well, I was going to go lay out and I was taking a picture, because I loved the bathing suit I was in. And it turned out so good and I was like, "Should I post this? Should I not? Should I post this, should I not? I have no idea. I don't know what to do!" So, it was a battle.
So you wanted to show off your new body. How did you lose all that weight?
Something just clicked with me back in December and I said, "You know what? Instead of just talking about being active, I'm just going to go do it." A lot of things happened like being active and making better choices, better portion control, nothing crazy. I made chicken alfredo last night for me and my friends, so it's nothing crazy. But instead of having three servings, [I] just eat slowly and go with one and see if you're still hungry after.
Did you feel any pressure from the industry to slim down? You told People earlier in your career that you were "comfortable" in your own skin and that you liked your curves. What changed?
I thought I looked good then as well! I think I look good at any shape or size. I did just turn 21 so ... how do I explain this with out offending anyone? Let me put it this way, I'm still pretty young and it's just one of those things that just happened. It wasn't as if I was like, "Oh my God, every body else is so skinny and I have to be like that and be just like them." It wasn't that at all. It was just that I know I feel better when I'm more active and I know that it will do well for me in the long run. My schedule is getting so insane and I would much rather be healthy.
Every time someone sees a slimmed-down picture of me it's not because I felt the pressure of the girl next to me being size 2, so I have to be that way too. It's just making the choice for myself to be healthier, because I know that I'm less sick when I'm more active, I have more energy when I'm more active. And I definitely need all the energy I can get with this new song!
Yes, 'I Am Woman' is a pretty high energy, empowering female anthem. Who are some of your female role models?
In the industry, Gwen Stefani: [she's] definitely the epitome of female empowerment. I love how she rocks that red lipstick no matter where she goes. She has a great fashion sense and she's comfortable with herself. You see her in pictures from way back when, and she's always been comfortable with who she is. Having the blue hair and doing crazy things -- it's just really cool to see someone like that. She's beautiful and she was a mentor when I was on 'Idol,' which made me love her even more. In my personal life, my mom and my grandmothers are all so strong and they just go to show the power of working and having kids and wanting to do your own thing and taking care of business.
'I Am Woman' was co-written and produced by Ryan Tedder and you also collaborated with John Legend on a track for the new album. Who else are you working with?
I worked with John, I worked with Ryan and we also did another song called 'The World I Knew' for the Disney movie 'African Cats.' That was a lot of fun; I love working with Ryan. We did [the 2009 album] 'Battlefield' together, so I knew this was going to be great. I'm still in the studio recording. I have the single and we're trying to find songs that are just as good -- some slow songs, some mid-tempos, we have 'I Am Woman,' which is up-tempo. I worked with the Underdogs again, who did [the 2008 single] 'No Air' with me. I'm working with a whole bunch of different people and just seeing what we can come up with in the studio.
And at the same time, you are touring this summer as the opening act for New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys.
[Squeals] I'm very excited! I was excited before, but then last week I got to go to 'Dancing With the Stars' and it happened that they were there performing, and I'm in there thinking "I am going to sing my set, get off the stage and then just stand on the side and watch their set every single night!" I got to talk to them and meet them over the past couple years at awards shows and it's just really cool that I'm able to of this. It's going to be one big party; I can't wait!
Do you still watch 'American Idol' and keep up with the new contestants since your season?
I do. And the thing about 'Idol' is that there is this instant camaraderie when you meet the new contestants. Its this silent understanding, like "I know what you're going through right now, its very crazy, don't worry." I love 'Idol;' I was a fan before I was on it and I've continued to watch it since. I love Jennifer [Lopez], I love Steven [Tyler], and of course Randy [Jackson] is my dog. It's amazing that 'Idol' is still giving all these people who don't think they have a chance a chance to do amazing things.
Do you have a favorite contestant from this current season?
I have a favorite, I just don't want to give a name because I know how it feels to be in there and hear someone name somebody, and it's like "I'm not their favorite?" I do have my favorite and I do vote ... I'd just feel so bad! Well, I'll tell you that I was in shock when Casey [Abrams] got the boot, because he was one of my top favorites. But he'll be fine and like Jennifer said, I'm going to be there front row at one of his shows as well.
You recently starred in the Tony Award-winning Broadway show 'In the Heights.' Do you have any plans to continue acting?
I would love to! It just all comes down to timing and the perfect project. I was sent a couple of scripts and I was really excited about that, but with the new single, the timing just didn't work. But I would absolutely love to do more acting.
You've already accomplished so much at such a young age. What other goals do you have for yourself and your career?
I would love to still be singing. I don't think I'll ever stop singing, whether professionally or maybe 10 years from now in a coffee shop; I want to be happy. I think of all these different things that I could be doing, but I don't want to be burnt out. Longevity is what I'm aiming for. I want to continue doing what I'm doing now, maybe have a significant other on the side and maybe be married with some kids, but I don't know. You can't plan those kinds of things, they just happen.
So a significant other ... anything going on right now in that department?
Actually, no! [Laughs] There isn't. I was talking to [singer-songwriter] Steph [Jones] for a while and we just decided it would be better if we were friends and he's really cool. He's a really good friend of mine. But I am single and I am loving it!
Any celebrity crushes?
There are so many amazing guys! Jake Gyllenhal with those baby-blue eyes. He's very cute. I am completely open to those things; maybe if someone comes along we'll see what happens! But, it's not my main focus right now.
What is your main focus at the moment?
My main focus is the single and the choreography that I am going to be doing for it, which is going to be so different because it's something that I've never done before. I'm super excited about that. Everything is still in the early stages. I'm still looking for an amazing director to do the video and we'll see what happens, but this time around I'm really trying to step my game up. I want to evolve, not so much that people don't know who I am still, but I'm experimenting with different things and different sounds and adding choreography is definitely different. So I'm excited! And I want to just say thank you to all of my fans for all of the support and I hope they like the new music.
Watch Jordin Sparks' 'The World I Knew' video.