The Light of the Sun
|The Light of the Sun|
|Studio album by Jill Scott|
|Released||June 21, 2011|
|Jill Scott chronology|
|Singles from The Light of the Sun|
The Light of the Sun is the fourth studio album by American singer Jill Scott. It was recorded after Scott's four-year break from her music career and departure from her former label, Hidden Beach Recordings. The Light of the Sun was recorded at several studios and produced primarily by Scott and JR Hutson, a songwriter and producer who had previously worked on her 2007 record The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3. Music journalists noted The Light of the Sun for its neo soul sound, element of improvisation, and Scott's feminine themes.
The Light of the Sun was released on June 21, 2011, by Scott's imprint label, Blue Babe Records. It received positive reviews from most critics and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States, where it sold 135,000 copies in its first week. The album became Scott's first American number-one record, and as of March 2015, it had sold 478,000 copies in the US. It was promoted with three singles: "So in Love", "So Gone (What My Mind Says)", and "Blessed". Scott also promoted the album with her Summer Block Party concert tour.
Following her 2007 album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, Scott took a break from recording music. She undertook acting roles in the movies Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Hounddog, and she had a starring role in the television series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. During her break, she divorced her husband of six years Lyzel Williams in 2007, became engaged to the former drummer Lil' John Roberts in 2008, gave birth to their son Jett Hamilton in 2009, and broke up with Roberts. Scott subsequently began sessions for The Light of the Sun.
In 2009, Scott left her former record label Hidden Beach Recordings. During the album's recording, she was sued by Hidden Beach, which claimed she had left without fulfilling a six-album contract. The lawsuit was settled in 2011, with Hidden Beach planning to release the compilation album The Original Jill Scott from the Vault, Vol. 1 in August, the first in a planned album series of Scott's previously unreleased recordings. In 2010, Warner Bros. Records signed Scott to a deal that gave her direct control over her marketing and promotion. In a strategy to re-establish Scott's presence with fans, she signed a multi-tour deal with Live Nation/Haymon Ventures to expand her concert touring. Scott co-headlined a national, 20-date arena tour with the recording artist Maxwell, called Maxwell & Jill Scott: The Tour, in 2010.
The album was recorded at several recording studios, including Fever Recording Studios in North Hollywood, 9th Street Studios and Threshold Sound & Vision in Santa Monica, Studio 609 and The Studio in Philadelphia, The Boom Boom Room in Burbank and The Village Studios in West Los Angeles. Scott worked with producers Terry Lewis, JR Hutson and Justice League for the album. Scott had first worked with Hutson on her previous album The Real Thing.
In an interview for HitQuarters, Hutson said of Scott's approach to The Light of the Sun, "She's now in charge of a lot of different things and with it comes a lot of trials and tribulations, and I think her goal is to just give people a very realistic glimpse of where she is in her life right now." Scott has noted songs such as "Hear My Call" and "Quick" as reflective of the "darkest moments" in her life and has said that much of the album's music developed from studio jams and freestyle sessions. In an interview for Metro, she said of the "largely improvised" recording process:
I went into a studio with no lyrics, nothing written out. I got together a great group – featuring Adam Blackstone on bass and Randy Bowland on guitar – and just put them in a studio and got them to play while I improvised lyrics. From the first note, you could hear little tunes emerging, and that would inspire me to freestyle lyrics. We call it 'going in'. You go inside yourself, inside your spirit, and you explore. It's exhausting. When we were done, there was a lot of whooping and hugging and high-fiving. It's that kind of record.
Release and promotion
The album was released in the United States on June 21, 2011, on Scott's own imprint label, Blues Babe Records, distributed by Warner Bros. Records, her first release by the label. It is the first release under the distribution deal between Blues Babe and Warner Bros. It was released on June 27 in the United Kingdom. On July 28, Scott embarked on her Summer Block Party concert tour, which concluded on August 28. The tour had Anthony Hamilton and Mint Condition as opening acts, Doug E. Fresh as host, and DJ Jazzy Jeff on turntables. Scott also promoted the album with performances on the television shows The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Live with Regis and Kelly. She headlined the Essence Music Festival on July 1.
On April 11, Scott released the promotional single "Shame" on her SoundCloud account. It features the rapper Eve and the vocal group The A Group. Its music video was filmed at the Cecil B. Moore Recreational Center in Philadelphia, where Eve and the rapper Black Thought were in attendance. Scott said in an interview for CNN that she spent several summers at the recreation center and that it was at risk of being demolished. The video was premiered on April 13 on Essence.com. It was later released as the album's second single in the United Kingdom. The album's first single, "So in Love" featuring Anthony Hamilton, was released on June 26. It spent nine weeks on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, peaking at number 10 on the chart, one week on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 97, and three weeks on Billboard's Radio Songs, peaking at number 71 on the chart.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 135,000 copies in the United States. It was her first number-one album in the US. It sold 55,000 copies in its second week on the Billboard 200. As of May 2015, The Light of the Sun had sold 479,000 copies in the US.
The album debuted at number 83 on the Canadian Albums Chart. In the Netherlands, the album peaked at number 51 and spent three weeks on the Mega Album Top 100 chart. In France, it reached number 103 and spent one week on the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique's albums chart. In Belgium's Wallonia, the album reached number 99 and spent one week on the Ultratop 50 Albums chart. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number 69 on the UK Albums Chart and at number 14 on the R&B Albums Chart.
The Light of the Sun received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 73, based on 15 reviews. Mikael Wood from Entertainment Weekly complimented its "earnest introspection and earthy textures", and observed "a distinctly early-aughties vibe". In The New York Times, Jon Pareles praised Scott's "proudly and forthrightly feminine" themes and said the songs are "springy with a sense of improvisation, both in the rhythms and in their elaborate vocal overlays". The Washington Post's Bill Friskics-Warren noted its "sumptuous orchestration, jazzy flourishes and neo-soul beats", and wrote, "The full range of human emotion, from defiance to hurt and hope, is expressed over the course of the album." AllMusic's Thom Jurek said that "Scott sounds more in control than ever; her spoken and sung phrasing (now a trademark), songwriting, and production instincts are all solid". In the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot wrote, "She's perfected a style that toggles between singing and conversing, and balances more conventional pop structure with spontaneity." Caroline Sullivan in The Guardian noted its "uplifting sung-spoken pieces" and wrote, "It's Scott's warm womanliness over the whole album that makes it a must-hear."
In a mixed review, Andy Gill from The Independent criticized Scott's lyrics as "a sticky puddle of self-regard" and found its songs "[un]developed much beyond a languid soul–jazz vamp". Rolling Stone writer Jon Dolan gave the album three out of five stars and called her "trademark" musical style "warm and inviting, if rarely thrilling, neo-soul". Daryl Easlea of BBC Online wrote that it "at times [...] veers towards self-indulgence, and some of its ideas are not fully followed through", but complimented its "freewheeling vibe" and called it "a lovely, bittersweet album that celebrates the joy of life".
|1.||"Blessed"||Dre & Vidal||3:28|
|2.||"So in Love" (featuring Anthony Hamilton)||Wooten||4:36|
|3.||"Shame" (featuring Eve and The A Group)||JR Hutson||3:33|
|4.||"All Cried Out Redux" (featuring Doug E. Fresh)||Scott||2:59|
|5.||"Le BOOM Vent Suite"||9:01|
|6.||"So Gone (What My Mind Says)" (featuring Paul Wall)||Hutson||4:40|
|7.||"Hear My Call"||Hutson||3:48|
|8.||"Some Other Time"||Mateen||2:18|
|10.||"Making You Wait"||Hutson||4:08|
|11.||"Until Then (I Imagine)"||Campbell||3:41|
|13.||"When I Wake Up"||4:13|
- ^a signifies a co-producer
- The A Group – background vocals
- Nathaniel Alford – engineer
- Yameen Allworld – background vocals
- Sherlen Archibald – publicity
- Ashaunna Ayars – marketing
- Todd Bergman – assistant
- Michelle Bishop – violin
- Adam Blackstone – bass guitar, electric bass, keyboards, producer
- Randy Bowland – 7-string electric guitar, guitar, producer
- Bruce Buechner – engineer, production engineer
- Luke Burland – publicity
- Sandra Campbell – project coordinator
- Warryn Campbell – instrumentation, producer, programming, vocal arrangement
- Chris Chambers – publicity
- Jeff Chestek – string engineer
- Sean Cooper – sound design
- Eli Davis – production coordination
- Kimre Davis – production coordination
- Aaron Draper – background vocals, percussion
- Dré – producer
- Corte Ellis – background vocals
- Luis Eric – horn
- Teresa Evans – production coordination
- Rick Friedrick – assistant
- Larry Gold – string arrangements, string conductor
- Steven Gomillion – photography
- Robert Greene – make-up
- Bernie Grundman – mastering
- Andre Harris – engineer
- Donald Hayes – horn
- J.R. Hutson – A&R, background vocals, engineer, executive producer, instrumentation, keyboards, producer, scratching
- Bruce Irvine – engineer
- Liza Joseph – A&R
- Brandon Kilgour – engineer
- Emma Kummrow – violin
- Dennis Leupold – photography
- Damien Lewis – assistant
- Jennie Lorenzo – cello
- Glen Marchese – engineer, mixing
- Khari Mateen – instrumentation, producer
- Luigi Mazzocchi – violin
- George "Spanky" McCurdy – drums, producer
- Susan Moses – stylist
- Jairus Mozee – bass, guitar
- Peter Nocella – viola
- Rickey Pageot – keyboards
- Charles Parker – violin
- Vanessa Parr – engineer
- Dave Pensado – mixing
- Rebecca Proudfoot – A&R
- Zachariah Redding – assistant
- Lacy Redway – hair stylist
- Tim Reid – marketing
- James Chul Rim – engineer, vocal engineer
- "V" Roane – background vocals
- John Roberts – drums, horn
- Montez Roberts – assistant engineer, engineer
- James Darrell Robinson – drums, producer
- Eric Rousseau – sound design
- Jill Scott – A&R, art direction, background vocals, executive producer, producer, vocal arrangement
- Phillip "Logann" Scott III – engineer
- Paris Strother – keyboards
- Sean Tallman – engineer
- Phil Tan – mixing
- Vidal – producer
- Courtney Walter – design
- Ayana Webb – background vocals
- Kelvin Wooten – bass guitar, drum programming, guitar, keyboards, piano, producer
- Eric Wortham – keyboards, producer
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