She isn't old enough to drive but her single, Leave (Get Out),
is speeding up the charts. Sindy sits down with JoJo to talk about
her upcoming debut album and how she's adjusting to life as a
on the new album. The release date is soon, how are you feeling?
JoJo: I'm feeling good. It comes out June 22 - I'm excited.
Sindy: You've been
working towards this since you were really young, do you feel
like you're missing out at all on being a normal kid?
JoJo: There are parts I miss about it. You know, like, I'm homeschooled
now so I don't get to see my friends as much as I'd like to, and
I'm traveling a lot - but that passion and that drive just keep
me going. If I didn't want to do this, it would be a different
story, but I love doing it and I do keep in contact with my friends
and I do get to hang out with them when I get the chance.
Sindy: Cool. How do
your friends feel about your success?
JoJo: Obviously there are the haters, and stuff like that. But
I do have a really good circle of friends in New Jersey and I
keep in touch with those people.
Sindy: There's a lot
of tough competition in your industry. What makes you unique?
JoJo: I think that some young artists that we've come to be familiar
with have just skimmed the surface and haven't really looked that
deeply at real issues that affect people. I think that my music
speaks to a wide age group - I don't think it's just for the six
to 14 year-olds. I think a lot of people will like it for a lot
of different reasons.
Sindy: Who are your
JoJo: Growing up I listened to a lot of Aretha Franklin, Ella
Fitzgerald, Etta James and even Bob Seager and The Beatles. My
mom and dad liked different types of music, so I'm sort of a product
Sindy: Cool. What are
you listening to now?
JoJo: I love Kanye West, The College Dropout - I think that's
a great album. Also, The Darkness, Permission to Land. I mean,
they're crazy. I really like them.
Sindy: So who's the
coolest person you've met so far?
JoJo: It was really cool to meet Bow Wow - I've always been a
fan of his. He's so cute - I was freakin' out. It was a wonderful
Sindy: What's your
favorite track on the album?
JoJo: I like all the tracks for different reasons. I like Breezy,
the Happy Song, Keep On Keepin' On, obviously Leave (Get Out),
Fairy Tales... God, I'm gonna name all the songs on the album!
Sindy: Your single,
Leave (Get Out) is doing really well. Did you expect that?
JoJo: I always expected - or at least hoped - it would do well.
I'm just really excited that it's taken off finally.
Sindy: You wrote three
of the songs on this album. What inspired you?
JoJo: Basically just real life experiences. So I'd draw from things
that I've been through or that my friends have been through -
and I let the track speak to me before I write.
Sindy: Are you concerned
about how image-conscious the music industry is - that often it
seems that people succeed based on how little they're wearing
versus how talented they are?
JoJo: At this point, I'm not really worried about it. I've gotten
this far while still keeping my clothes on. The way I look at
it, what do you have to show when you're 20 or 25 if you've shown
Sindy: What advice
would you give to kids who want to do what you're doing now?
JoJo: I would say, sing for anybody who will listen. Take any
opportunity that comes up - but just make sure you have your parents
there because you never really know what you're getting into and
you don't want to get into a situation that you can't really handle
yourself. Even though you feel like you can do anything when you're
a teenager, you still need your parents.
by Adam Bernard
She's not even old enough to drive yet but Blackground's latest
signee's first single "Leave (Get Out)" is already making
a huge impact on radio. I know what you're probably thinking,
a new young female singer on Blackground.... but don't worry JoJo
isn't an Aaliyah clone.
After moving from Foxboro,
Massachusetts to California, a move JoJo says was necessary because
"we realized that Boston is not the music center of the world
and it was just getting too expensive to go to NY," JoJo
was discovered on the television show America's Most Talented
Kid. She knows that with her age, though she won't say it she's
13, and her association with Blackground will make for comparisons
to Aaliyah she'll simply take them in stride. "I've always
been a fan of Aaliyah's," she explains, adding "people
do compare me to Aaliyah and I take that as a compliment. She
was a beautiful amazing talented young woman, I think she was
just starting to show what she could do." JoJo feels that
though the comparisons are nice, she's going to try her best to
make a name for herself rather than following someone else's path.
"I'm doing this in my own way and the best way I know how."
Her own way actually
links her with another gigantic name in the R&B world, Usher.
"I can't wait to meet Usher," she says excitedly "I'm
going on tour with him this summer in Europe. I've heard many
stories about him and hopefully the good ones are true."
She continued, "I am going to be soaking in everything he
does, watching his show, picking it apart and asking as many questions
as he'll let me."
Continuing with the
trend of big name R&B associations, JoJo has a cover of of
SWV's classic "Weak" on her album, which is and due
out in late June. "I've always loved that song. I'd always
loved SWV and remembered listening to 'Weak' when I was younger,"
she explains. Apparently Brian Morgan, who originally wrote and
produced the song, surprised her one day in the studio and told
her she was going to get to sing it.
Not a lot of people
JoJo's age even know who SWV are, the fact that she does is a
direct result of her broad musical background. Influenced by her
parents' collection of music, which contained everything from
Ella Fitzgerald to Bob Seger, JoJo notes "my parents tried
not to limit me when it came to music and what I listen to. Now
I like Kanye West, The Darkness, Aaliyah, R Kelly, all kinds of
different music." (Yes the 13 year old girl said she likes
R. Kelly, insert your own joke here).
With influences that
date back quite a few decades, and a song like "Weak"
on her album, JoJo realizes some people may feel she's getting
ahead of herself topically, but according to her "people
say that my music is too mature but I think people really knew
what went on in junior high and high school. It's not too mature.
I just want people to know that I have experienced everything
on my album in one way or another. Either me or a friend."
JoJo was in public
school up until only a few months ago and says it was during those
times that she knew she was going to be a singer. "There
were times I was like I want to be a veterinarian, or I want to
be a lawyer, but that was always if I don't sing. Singing has
always been my passion been what I want to do. I would be in school,
I went to public school all my life, I would be writing songs
in school when I shoulda been focusing on math." The young
songstress even got to write three of the songs on her upcoming
on completing her courses, just now with a tutor, JoJo is already
looking ahead to when she's older, at which point she has another
SWV song she'd like to try her hand at. "When I'm 18 I'd
love to Redo 'Rain,'" she notes. For now, however, she's
perfectly happy leaving listeners weak in the knees and like most
teenage girls you can probably find her at the mall. She's not
shopping at the mall, though, she's performing there. JoJo is
currently on a mall tour spanning the U.S. before heading out
to Europe with Usher, so wherever you're at there's a good chance
you'll have an opportunity to see her.