The American Idol alum opens up about her life as a mom

By Jeff Nelson
August 13, 2020 10:19 AM
Advertisement

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others have been weighing heavily on Jordin Sparks, as she navigates raising a Black son in America.

The American Idol alum, 30, tells PEOPLE she and her husband, model Dana Isaiah, 28, have daily conversations about how they will teach their 2-year-old son DJ about racism.

"How do we tell him that he may be treated differently because his parents have melanin in their skin? It's devastating," says Sparks. "It's so hard that we have to have that conversation; he's so young, and it's hard to chip away at his innocence in that way. We're going to have to have a conversation that's going to shatter some things for our son."

While the recent national conversations around race have at times been overwhelming, Sparks has found hope seeing the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

"I want his future to be better than this; it’s got to be better than this," she says.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Jordin Sparks and Dana Isaiah with their son

While isolating during the coronavirus pandemic, the singer has enjoyed all the extra family time — and watching her son reach new milestones.

"DJ has just blossomed so much during this time. Being able to see him grow every single day is so much fun. This morning DJ walked up to Dana, shook his hand and said, 'Nice to meet you, Dad.' It was the cutest thing — we never taught him how to shake hands!" Sparks says. "He's like a little Energizer bunny — he just keeps going and going."

Jordin Sparks
Ray Tamarra/GC Images

RELATED VIDEO: Jordin Sparks Opens Up About Her Life as a Mom

In quarantine, Sparks has also been preparing for the release of her new EP, Sounds Like Me.

"I just turned 30, and I feel so far removed from that 17-year-old girl on Idol ... but am still the same at my core," says Sparks, who will drop the new record on Friday. "I've done a little bit of everything — pop, power ballads, R&B, I toured with Britney Spears — but this is the first time I've felt like a project sounds like me, so that's what I'm calling the EP."

Sounds Like Me crosses genres, from the south of the border-inspired summer bop "Red Sangria," to the gospel-tinged ballad "Unknown." While the latter track was inspired by finding solace in her faith, Sparks says "Unknown" has taken on a new meaning amid the pandemic and ongoing fight for social justice.

"Music can be so healing," she says, "and I'm just grateful that people have heard it and have been touched by it."

For more from Jordin Sparks, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.