An odd phenomenon took place last year at Hidden Beach Headquarters when we put a copy of Jill Scott's first radio interview on our music "on hold" feature. Over and over, callers to the office actually asked to be placed back on hold to listen when we picked up the phone to speak with them (several even specifically called for that sole purpose). At first, we laughed at each request; but when day in and day out people urgently demanded we not interrupt their dose of Jill with an attempt at conversation, we took notice. Odd, yes, but a simple testament to the personality, talent, and charisma of our debut artist.
No one expected such a response to the usually frustrating process of being put on hold; however, none of us were surprised that during the actual impromptu interview (conducted by Garth Trinidad, host of Chocolate City, on LA's KCRW) the phones at the station rang off the hook during the broadcast. Some listeners were already familiar with Jill, who was then on tour with The Roots singing the hit GRAMMYR winning song she co-wrote, "You Got Me," and others were aware she had already made quite a name for herself through poetry. However, most listening that special night were introduced to her for the first time.
Although early versions of four songs that now appear on this album cracked the airways for the first time that night (to an overwhelming response), it was not just the fresh music that had KCRW's phone lines backed up and later callers to our office insisting to hear more over the phone. It was Jill's spirit magically carried over the air that caused a telephonic traffic jam on every phone line in the station. Whether Jill was talking, singing live, or reciting a poem, her intoxicating spirit could be felt every time she opened her mouth. That fateful first appearance on the radio (which now can be heard on our website) will be remembered as an appetizer to the full feast now in your hands. As a gift to all, DJ Jazzy Jeff Townes, and his amazing "A Touch Of Jazz" team* (consisting of future superstar producers, Vidal Davis, Darren Henson, Andre Harris, Keith Pelzer, Carvin Haggins, and Ivan Barias and the legendary mixer, George Glass) have brilliantly captured her spirit on this record.
While "Words And Sounds" is a fitting subtitle of this album as it is also the name of the regular Philly gathering that Jill and Leslie Pina helped turn into an institution, "Words And Sounds Vol. 1" is actually a bit misleading or, at best, doesn't tell the whole story of what is truly contained on this disc. "Words" and "sounds" only literally describe the surface of this body of work. Beyond "words" and "sounds" is pure emotion captured on tape (the ultimate goal and purpose of this brand-new record company).
Jill is so open, honest, genuine and inviting in the vocal booth, listening to her early demos** before our first meeting, I felt I had gotten to know her well. Refreshingly, the same bright personality that seemingly leaps through the speakers was no studio creation, but in fact, the same very real human being that walked in the studio on my pilgrimage to Philly to find out "Who Is Jill Scott?" Although an extremely intelligent, wonderfully complex, and unusually multi-talented artist, Jill doesn't make who she is a mystery. Accordingly, I am very happy to report that the person you meet as you listen, is the very same one you would meet in person. I strongly suggest you keep your eyes and ears open for that very opportunity as Jill and her band travel the world. If you are taken by her here, you will certainly be blown away to experience her magic live. If you are blown away by her here (as we hope), well, you may not be able to handle it. :)