Jordin Sparks Photo:CFP
Five years after becoming the youngest female to win American Idol, R&B and pop singer Jordin Sparks restarts her career in a new movie role that the 22-year-old sees as remarkably close to her own life singing her way to fame.
Just like her real-life parents, Sparks' onscreen mother Whitney Houston cheered and coached her, off camera, as she rebounded from career changes and transitioned from music to the movie Sparkles, which hits theaters on Friday.
Houston, in the last screen role before her accidental death in February, plays a tough mother who is set on sabotaging her daughter's dream in her last, feisty role before her accidental death in February.
"Sparkles came at a moment where I was actually pretty unsure with what was happening in my career," Sparks told Reuters.
The singer released two albums after winning Idol and was nominated for a Grammy for her collaboration with Chris Brown on the 2009 pop song "No Air."
A year later she tried her hand on Broadway like many past Idol alums, in the Tony Award-winning show In the Heights.
It all seemed to be going well, until things fell apart.
"My label was going through a transition and people were let go. Then I parted ways with my management and then I had some things personally going on," Sparks said, but did not elaborate.
"It just felt like everything was starting to not work out all at once. I was like, this is it. Five years and that's it?"
But along came the offer to play the sister named Sparkle whose stellar voice leads her to fame.
Sparks said she saw parallels between her own ambition and that of the strong-willed singer who wanted more than anything to perform and wasn't going to let anyone stand in her way.
The major difference, Sparks said, is that unlike Houston's role in the film, Sparks own parents have been "100 percent supportive of me from the beginning."