JoJo Is Releasing A New Album, But Don’t Call It A Comeback

Photos by: Angelo Kritikos

Transport yourself back to 2004 when chunky highlights and cargo pants were all the rage and “Leave (Get Out)” was the anthem of the decade. ‘Twas a simpler time that brought us an important pop star: JoJo . At only 13, JoJo sang with phenomenal power and wasn’t afraid to break the mold of her compliant bubblegum pop peers. It wasn’t long after releasing her first two records that JoJo found herself amidst a sea of trouble with her label, essentially halting the release of any new official material. While her last full-length album debuted almost a decade ago, JoJo has been busy putting music out on her own and living life for true inspiration. Now 24, JoJo has three brand new singles and an album on the way—many are calling this her comeback, but it’s really just JoJo’s next chapter.

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How weird is it that you’re 24 and people are calling this your comeback?

It’s pretty weird. When I think of someone making a come back I think of Cher or people who have been in the industry for decades and have taken an intentional break. My break was never intentional. I was just tied up in an unfortunate contract. This just feels like the next chapter in my life, that’s how I like to look at it because it takes some of the pressure away from a comeback.

“I wanted to come into this new album with an open mind because I had been depressed, been sad and was just in a place where I was so down on everything because I didn’t think there would ever be a day where I could release music officially again.”

Besides a few songs here and there (including your Drake cover) and everything going on with the record label, it has been quite a while since we’ve heard anything official from you. What have you been up to in the past…oh, nine years?

Trying to stay creative. I got to spend time with my friends, have relationships and get some inspiration for things to sing and write about. I got to grow into a young adult without the scrutiny of the limelight.

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“I’m not embarrassed by my childhood image… I think it was cute and cool for the time and a good platform for me to grow from.”

Obviously you’ll have a lot more to write about love on this record than you did when you were 13, right?

Love is my favorite thing in the world and it’s my favorite thing to sing about. I might even venture to say I’m addicted to it. I think love is at the center of what makes things go around and that’s what we’re all seeking and therefore what I like to sing and connect with people about.

During the whole craziness you had to endure with your previous label, was there ever a moment when you were just like: “F**k this…I’m done with music and I’m done working with labels”?

To be honest, I didn’t believe that my experience was completely uncommon but I also didn’t believe it would happen again. I’m not anti-label, I do think the system can work for pop artists…I never felt like this was it because this is my shit—I love to perform.

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Tell us more about finally diving into creating a new record—where are you at in life?

I wanted to come into this new album with an open mind because I had been depressed, been sad and was just in a place where I was so down on everything because I didn’t think there would ever be a day where I could release music officially again…Dance music is what’s really been in my life the last few years; it’s what makes me feel sexy and powerful and ready to take on the night so I wanted to dip my feet in the pool as well. This record I talk about addiction, love, sex and everything in between.

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What are some of your favorite dance tracks?

I love Disclosure‘s whole first album…also just any kind of remix of my favorite pop divas.

Are you still a Drizzy fan? What are your thoughts on “Hotline Bling”?

Everyone loves Drake because he speaks for our generation….after the 10th or 11th version I was like alright, I’m not doing my own version of “Hotline Bling” then.

A lot of stars who had fame at a young age grow up to resent their childhood image – is that the case for you? Because I still think “Leave (Get Out)” is transcendent…

I’m not embarrassed by my childhood image. I think it was cute and cool for the time and a good platform for me to grow from. It wasn’t particularly bubblegum, there was always a bit of edge and the songs were more mature than I even was.

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“Being in your twenties is a very weird time and it can be an emotional roller coaster in a lot of ways.”

What’s your relationship like with your fans now that you’re an adult and also with the strong influence of social media?

Social media has kept me alive and I continue to grow those relationships since I was 13 when myspace first started. I like interesting people and people in general so to be able to instantly have feedback when you put something out is something we never had quite like we do right now. There’s no barr

ier and I dig that.

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I’m sure you understand, but being twenty-something is really really hard. It’s exciting but it’s also hard letting go of your childhood and feeling the pressure to figure out exactly who you are. Any words of wisdom for the women who were young girls when your first hits came out and have grown up with you?

I’m learning every day and I’m making mistakes, sometimes the same ones, in love and life. Value your opinion, listen to your gut and be considerate of the opinions of the people you respect. Knowledge is power. And also I would say, try not to compare yourself to others. Be your personal best because your story is not going to look like someone else’s. Being in your twenties is a very weird time and it can be an emotional roller coaster in a lot of ways.

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What are some of your healthy, or not so healthy, obsessions. (It’s okay if you say the Missy Elliot video because I’m still watching that every day).

I’m really into Crossfit. I’m getting into MMA and want to learn jujutsu. I love Netflix; Narcos is my shit. I’m currently reading The Yoga of Jesus. I’m also really into learning how to sample things.

New year, new JoJo? What is 2016 looking like for you?

There will definitely be a new record that I’m excited to share with everyone. I really feel more ready than ever. I’m about to turn 25 so I just want to be better than ever.

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Photography by: Angelo Kritikos
Wardrobe styling by: Wilford Lenov
Makeup by: Alison Christian
Hair by: Lauren McKeever

*Jojo wears: Dime Piece LA, Michelle Herbert, YRU, Amarilo, David Giampiccolo, Unif, Alice & Olivia, Francesca Marotta, Nasty Gal


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