A songwriter. A prodigy. With just a few notes, she's
made some of the most influential men and women in America stop
in their tracks to find her, and meet her. She possesses a rare
talent that has enchanted talk show hosts, celebrities and audiences
throughout the United States. And she's determined to take the
music world by storm.
Her name is JoJo.
In the outskirts of
Boston, Massachusetts JoJo grew up in a home filled with song.
Her mother, a church soloist and trained musical theater performer,
would practice hymns and arias alike while a young JoJo watched,
listened and learned. She imitated her mother's incredible range
as well as the sounds that breezed through the family's home stereo:
Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Etta James.
"When I was two years old, I would sing nursery rhymes. I
would do riffs on them and make them jazzy," JoJo remembers.
It was at this early age that she taught herself to interpret
the pop and blues tunes she heard with her own distinctive and
Eager to perform in
venues other than her living room, JoJo searched for her first
big break. She found it in a small newspaper clipping that advertised
an audition for CBS-TV's Kids Say the Darndest Things On The Road
In Boston. Her soul and passion left the producers speechless
and she was immediately given a spot to perform. Once JoJo hit
the stage, Bill Cosby, the show's host, asked her to sing a little
something for the people-packed Faneuil Hall. JoJo belted out
a show-stopping rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Respect"
which earned her an overwhelming response from the audience. (As
well as from Bill Cosby, himself.) A phone call from The Oprah
Winfrey show followed soon after, inviting the young girl to appear
on the show. "When it came to performing, I just had no fear,"
All at once things
began to happen. Calls from talk show producers and music
festival organizers began to pour in. JoJo did them all, singing
at places as diverse as a Boston Celtics basketball game and the
Republican National Convention. But it was at McDonald's 2001
Gospelfest (at Town Hall in New York City) where JoJo brought
down the house with one single song. On a bill with music greats
such as Melba Moore, JoJo let loose her pipes on "I Believe
in You and Me," Whitney Houston's smash hit from The Preacher's
Wife. "The place went crazy!" JoJo exclaims. "They
gave me a standing ovation, and when I walked off stage, Cissy
Houston, Whitney's mother, said to me 'You did a great job out
there.'" Such a glowing endorsement was simply priceless
to the young singer.
While appearing on
the TV show, America's Most Talented Kids, JoJo was noticed by
a man in the audience who introduced her to Vincent Herbert, famed
producer and owner of Da Family Entertainment. JoJo was
signed to Da Family and offered two major recording contracts
before finding her perfect match with Barry Hankerson and his
label Blackground Records, home to Toni Braxton, Timbaland &
Magoo, and the late Aaliyah.
After being signed
to Blackground, JoJo spent the next four months recording tracks
for her self-titled debut in New York, Miami and Los Angeles,
working closely with famed producers such as Soulshock & Karlin
(Whitney Houston, Craig David), Vincent Herbert (Destiny's Child,
Toni Braxton), Mike City (Brandy), Brian Morgan (SWV), The Underdogs
(Tyrese, Ruben Studdard), and writer Static (Aaliyah, Ginuwine).
"It was a great experience working with them in the studio.
Everyone had such an incredible vibe, and that comes through
in the songs," JoJo enthuses.
The final product
is an album infused with assured, confident vocals and lyrics that
speak way beyond JoJo's tender years. The ballads are deep and soul-filled,
and the up-tempo tracks are bumping and make you want to dance.
Her music strikes the perfect balance between attitude and
innocence-which is exactly what JoJo is all about.