Jordin Sparks Opens Up About Raising a Black Son in America: 'I Want His Future to Be Better'

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."

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.

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