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Originally published Friday, February 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Jill Scott launches "Real Thing" tour here

Soulful, sensual singer-songwriter Jill Scott opens her "The Real Thing Tour 2008" Tuesday at the Paramount, with hot romantic balladeer...

Seattle Times music critic

Concert preview

Jill Scott, Raheem DeVaughn, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $40.50-$50.50 (206-628-0888 or www.ticketmaster.com; information, 206-467-5510 or www.theparamount.com).

Soulful, sensual singer-songwriter Jill Scott opens her "The Real Thing Tour 2008" Tuesday at the Paramount, with hot romantic balladeer Raheem DeVaughn opening. On that same day, "Jill Scott: Live in Paris CD + DVD" will hit the stores. And she's up for three Grammys a week from Sunday. "The Real Thing" CD is nominated for R&B album and female R&B vocal performance (for the song "Hate on Me"), while "Daydreamin'," a duet with Lupe Fiasco on her "Compilations" CD, is nominated in the urban/alternative performance category.

But the most exciting thing happening now for Scott is her emergence as a movie star. She recently completed her first starring role, as Precious Ramotswe in the screen adaptation of "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," to be released later this year. Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella of "Cold Mountain" and "The English Patient" fame picked her for the role. She was featured in Tyler Perry's hit movie "Why Did I Get Married?" and will be seen as blues great Big Mama Thornton in the upcoming Dakota Fanning film "Hounddog."

Scott has shown a flair for the dramatic ever since she was first heard as guest vocalist with the Roots on their 1999 Top 40 pop hit "You Got Me." Her albums — "The Real Thing" is her sixth — are full of romantic, uplifting, confessional, sexy, female-empowering songs. While her lyrics can be too dependent on easy rhymes and melodramatic clichés, she has a natural, easy-swinging style; a warm sensuality; and a charming sense of humor. Women identify with her and make up the bulk of her audience, but her forays into hip-hop (she was featured in the concert film "Dave Chappelle's Block Party") have given her credibility with guys, too.

"Golden," probably her most popular song, is a good example of her style. The recording and its video are bright and sunny, expressing freedom, gratitude, hope and love for friends and family. In the video, a smiling Scott rides a bicycle through her neighborhood, ending up at the beach, where she curls her toes in the sand. It's about living life to the fullest, which is Scott's basic message.

DeVaughn is also known for positive, uplifting, romantic ballads, like his current breakthrough hit single, "Woman," from his latest album, "Love Behind the Melody." The Grammy-nominated song's sexy, slow grind and romantic lyrics will have the ladies in the Paramount audience dancing and swooning. He'll be a good match for Scott.

Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312 or pmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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