“Music was the first career decision I ever made for myself,” Jamie Lynn Spears tells Rolling Stone Country. The 25-year-old actress-singer isn’t denouncing her childhood days on Zoey 101, as the Nickelodeon show plucked her out of big sister Britney’s shadow and gave her a legion of fans. But as she came into adulthood, she realized her true calling was music.
“When I had my little girl, I really figured what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and what kind of legacy I want to leave behind,” she recalls. “That’s when I started writing music, and I didn’t do anything for almost five years. I was just writing, figuring out who I was as an artist.”
So when negotiating details for an upcoming documentary, she had one major rule: focus on her career. Jamie Lynn Spears: When the Lights Go Out airs June 26th on TLC and by no means dodges the tabloid bait. The one-hour special addresses her pregnancy at age 16, but also shows just how normal her home life is with daughter Maddie and husband Jamie (who both appear in the film, as does Britney). Spears lives in paparazzi-free Louisiana, carpools her daughter to school every day and is very much a typical soccer mom — just one who’s also trying to pursue a career some 500 miles away in Nashville.
The one-hour show coincides with the release of Spears’ latest single, “Sleepover.” Co-written with Liz Rose, Tina Parol and Corey Crowder, the midtempo tune is all about the slow steps needed to make a new relationship more than just a fling. This the first taste of an upcoming project — though it’s unclear whether that will be a full album or EP. Spears enjoyed chart success earlier this year as a co-writer of Jana Kramer’s “I Got the Boy.”