When speaking on her new song “Dumb,” which features Meek Mill, she says that there was no trifling man or situation in particular that inspired the song, but she wanted to come back with a woman’s anthem for her fans. With jams like “Bust Your Windows” and “10 Seconds,” it’s something listener’s of the talented chanteuse clamor for.
“It’s just a type of song that people look for me to do. A woman’s anthem and it wasn’t inspired by anybody in particular. But I’m sure that everybody knows somebody that they should sing the song to [laughs].”
And she will have more cuts like that on her upcoming album, Reality Show. She says that her obsession with the lovable ratchetry of reality TV, something she embraced during that three-year break, has a lot to do with the name. But she also says that she’s giving fans a glimpse into her life, her struggles, and everything she endured during her sabbatical, so that is the major inspiration behind the album’s name and content.
“I’m addicted to reality shows [laughs]. Since I’ve been out the spotlight, that’s pretty much what I love doing to pass the time. I thought it was cute at first to name it after something I was addicted to [laughs]. But my album is my reality show. It’s the closest thing at this point that people get to be able to see what my life has been since I’ve been gone.”
As for that break, Sullivan says it was necessary to find a peace of mind. Personal troubles and drama with the industry left her disenchanted, and she realized that she needed to work on herself before she could work on an album in the spotlight.
“It was a lot of different things that made me feel like I needed to take a break. And it was a lot of personal things. It was some things as far as the industry and my work. But what’s most important to me is that I did get that time to kind of mature and in that time, I’m still working on it, but I feel like I’m so much more comfortable with myself and who I am and I what I have to offer to the world and to the industry. Moreso than when I first started. I feel really good. I put a lot of work into my album and a lot of work into just myself period. I just feel like it’s time. I don’t need to hide anymore [laughs].”
We asked Sullivan how she knows that months or years down the line, she won’t find herself ready to walk away from the mic again, and she says that leaning on the right people, including God, will keep her centered.
“Definitely my relationship with God is something I have to stay focused on. That is the center for me, and for everybody. I think because I’m working on that, everything else is falling into place now. I’m just ready to come back and do what I know I’m supposed to be doing. And this time I feel like I’m going to enjoy it so much more because I’m just so much more comfortable with who I am.
I was focused on a lot of other things and as any Christian knows, or anybody, even if you’re not a Christian, there’s order to things. God is supposed to be first and then everything else comes after. I think that when you do that, everything does kind of line up and fall into place.”
And one of the stresses that held her back before was worrying about her body. She says that during her break, she learned to be more comfortable with herself and her beauty. So when everyone saw pictures of a slimmer Sullivan last year, she didn’t freak out about the attention on her size.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve lost a lot of weight but I’m definitely a lot more comfortable with my body. I think as you get older, you can kind of own it a little more. I’m not as small as I was when i first came out…but I think I’m just more comfortable with my body now. When people see it they feel that energy. When you’re comfortable, and you’re feeling yourself and you think you’re cute, people feed off of that. Let me tell you, my journey with my looks, it fluctuates like every other woman in the world. Sometimes you see me and I might have eaten too much macaroni [laughs], and sometimes I may be a little slimmer. It’s a constant journey for me. At this point in my life, I’m not going to sweat it. I think before, I was thinking about it so much that it kind of made me a little miserable. But this is who I am, and I’m just owning my body.”
Sullivan is optimistic about her future in music. She hopes to work with Mary J. Blige and even “It” guy Pharrell. She’s not even ruling out the idea of doing a gospel album somewhere down the line (“It’s possible. I got some more years of sinning left [laughs].”) But what she does know is that she wants to focus on what she has been missing most and what makes her happy: her fans.
“The most rewarding thing for me is when I’m at a concert and people are actually singing my lyrics. I feel like that is the best thing for me.”