Growing up, Jordin Sparks had always dreamed of seeing her name in lights and her face on the silver screen; admiring women like the late, great Whitney Houston, who conquered both the music and film industries, so never did she dream she would star and sing in her first movie alongside one of her musical heroes.

Jordin says she always knew she wanted to be musically involved with the people she grew up loving, like Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Celine Dion and, of course, Whitney Houston. She also knew she wanted to act, but never thought she would get a chance to work so closely with Ms. Houston on the movie Sparkle.

“Working with Whitney Houston and being that close was probably in the impossible box on my bucket list,” Jordin told 92.3 NOW/New York during her visit to the NYC studios last week. “Like, ‘Yeah, I’d love this but it’ll never happen.’ And it actually did. Being able to work with her… I feel so blessed that I got this opportunity to be a part of this movie and now it’s taken on this whole other life in and of itself.”

Jordin was asked to honor Ms. Houston by singing her legendary song “I Will Always Love You” at the Billboard Music Awards back in May.

When Jordin is about to perform, she says she becomes anxious to get started but rarely gets nervous. She admitted, however, that she was terrified to take the stage at the awards show, but she could feel Ms. Houston’s spirit with her, cheering her on.

“I was so scared!” she said. “OK, besides being nervous, I never get nervous, I’m usually…I get anxious to perform, but any kind of nervous tick that you could ever have, happened to me all at once. My palms were sweating, my knees were shaking, my feet were sweating, my face was sweating, my hands were shaking, my heart was pounding, my voice was shaky, and then my voice went dry right before I walked on, and I was like ‘Why did I sign up for this? Why did I do this?’ and then, I had this feeling, I was sitting there, and I heard her say ‘You got this’.”

Jordin admits she didn’t care what anyone thought about her performance, except for Bobbi Kristina and the rest of Ms. Houston’s family, who said they loved her performance. Lucky for her, Jordin said she couldn’t see anyone crying in the audience, especially Bobbi Kristina, who was crying all throughout the emotional tribute to her mother, which helped Jordin from having a breakdown mid song. After her performance, Jordin presented the Billboard Millennium Award to a crying Bobbi Kristina, who was accepting it on behalf of her late mother.

Jordin said she was fighting to keep her composure because she knew she had to talk to the press after she left the stage, and was successful until she saw her grandmother backstage.

“I’m walking down, trying to go to the press room, and, I brought my Nana with me to the Billboard Awards, so we’re walking, and I feel this tap on my shoulder and I turn around and see my Nana and I’m good and she goes, ‘Honey, you were beautiful’ and she hugged me. I just completely lost it. Like, ugly crying for a good, straight 30 seconds, ’cause I knew I had to go to press so I couldn’t do it, but I just let everything out for 30 seconds and then I was like, ‘OK.’ “

The kind of music she sings in her new movie Sparkle, has opened the door for Jordin to show a new gospel and R&B side to her voice. She said this movie has given her an opportunity to explore a new side of herself that her fans haven’t seen yet.

“I’m really excited because it’s kind of a genre that I’ve been wanting to go into, which is more rhythmic and a little bit R&B but still pop, so I cannot wait for everybody to hear the new stuff!” she said.

You can see Jordin on the silver screen when Sparkle hits theaters August 17, and pick up the soundtrack, in stores July 31.

When she’s not busy in the studio, Jordin spends as much time as she can with her long-term boyfriend and fellow pop singer, Jason Derulo. Though, she said lately it’s been tough to see each other because of their busy schedules. While she’s promoting her new movie, Jason is down under in Australia filming a promo for a new dance-based show, similar to So You Think You Can Dance where he and other stars like Kelly Rowland, will be mentors to the competitors.

“We miss each other, so distance literally makes the heart grow fonder,” she said. She also said that the word “marriage” comes up in conversations often.

-Sarah Scroggins, 92.3 NOW/New York


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