Jordin Sparks Talks About "Sparkle" and Whitney Houston
Jordin Sparks was one of the last artists to work with Whitney Houston before her death and the young singer has taken some time to reflect on the whole experience, from being cast in the remake of the 1976 musical, Sparkle, to the tragic loss of a legend.
She explains: "I had to believe in myself and say, 'They picked me, they put me here, they cast me for this. I know I have what it takes to do this."
Sparks, who is now 22 years old, was crowned the American Idol winner when she was just 17 and is starring in a movie for the first time. "The cast was so amazing, helping me with open arms," she said. "They didn't have to do that, and I wasn't expecting it. I thought it would be more like a hazing thing! I had nightmares of stuff like that happening."
When it came to her time with Houston, Sparks had so many positive things to say: "She was wonderful. She wore the executive producer hat, and she wore the coworker hat and the actress hat. And then right after a scene, she'd be right there saying, 'Do you need anything? How did you feel about that?' Sometimes she would be there telling me it was OK after a really emotional scene, after I've dug deep to a place that I don't really want to think about. The director would yell 'cut,' and sometimes, I couldn't stop crying. And she'd be right there rubbing my back saying, 'It's OK, it's OK, I know.' She was amazing."
The rising star also talked about what it was like to pay tribute to Houston at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards: "That was the scariest moment of my life, so far. That was the first time that I had ever performed that song ['I Will Always Love You']. It was one of those things where you look through Whitney's songbook and say, 'I'm going to leave 'I Will Always Love You' in a pretty wrapped box on a pedestal, and I'm going to go over here and sing 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody,' 'cause nobody is going to get mad at me for singing that!' So, my knees were shaking, my hands were clammy, my heart was pounding. I was sweating, dry throat, everything. Every nervous tick you could have, all at once. I don't even remember what happened. I was up there, and then I was not! All of a sudden, I was backstage again."
The experience had a lasting effect, though: "But it was one of those moments where I definitely felt her presence," Sparks added. "She was all around that arena, and I just knew from spending time with her on set, she was like, 'You got this. You go, girl. You got this.' That's how she was. She wanted to see everyone else shine, which is incredible, because there aren't a lot of people who are like that. Especially people who are more established, they don't want anyone coming to take their spot!"
Sparkle hits theaters on August 17, 2012.
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