Liveshot: Jazmine Sullivan shines with spectacular soulful vocals in triumphant ACL debut

Reya Mosby, Life&Arts Editor

Crowds shoved their way forward, beaming in excitement as R&B legend Jazmine Sullivan made her way to the stage decorated in bright orange from head to toe. The crowd erupted, eagerly dancing to the opening notes of her early 2000s hit “Bust Your Windows.” Her strong belt rang out through Zilker Park as the whole crowd joined her in song. Full of energy and power, Sullivan stunned with effortless belts all while grooving to her own nostalgic hit.

With energetic hits from her discography both past and present, Sullivan sang out songs that bestowed a hugh of confidence. Songs like “Put It Down” from Heaux Tales and “Let It Burn” from Reality Show left the crowd filled with excitement, grooving and dancing with Sullivan.

This electricity radiated from Jazmine Sullivan and her band throughout her entire set. Even during her water break, the band and DJ revved up the crowd with female rap hits like “Act Up” by City Girls and “F.N.F(Let’s Go)” by Hitkidd and GloRilla, encouraging the crowd to rap and dance along while awaiting Sullivan’s return.

Taking a break from her own music, Sullivan even delighted fans with Fugees’ legendary 1990s R&B track, “Killing Me Softly With His Song”, interacting with the crowd and prompting them to sing along to the classic.

Despite her consistent enthusiasm, Sullivan mellowed the audience with songs like the smooth and sensual “On It” and the raw and heartbreaking “Girl Like Me,” both of which beautifully accompanied her faster-paced, self-love inspired tracks.

Throughout her performance, Sullivan took listeners on a journey of love, loss, empathy, heartbreak and independence. While laced with many themes and emotions, sex and love remained a constant topic throughout the set. Sullivan trickled her own monologues in between songs, touching on the role of sex in women’s romantic endeavors, sentiments that women are more than their sex appeal and the power of owning one’s own desire, creating a powerful and raw set. 

Vocally, Sullivan did not disappoint, with her voice sounding even better live than on studio recordings. Piercing audiences with her powerhouse raspy belt and hypnotizing them with her intricate runs that flowed like water — everything felt effortless. Despite a vocally demanding 45-minute tracklist, Sullivan belted out each song with ease, improvising one detailed and complex riff after the other, her voice never showing any signs of strain.

Sullivan proceeded to end on her chart-topping heartbreaker anthem “Pick Up Your Feelings,” leaving audiences with one last taste of her vocal intricacies and soulful sound. The performance marked a triumphant ACL debut for Sullivan.