Interview - JoJo

By: Sindy
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 celeb.

Sindy: Congratulations 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 musical influences?
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 of that.

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 experience.

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 everything already?

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.

JoJo Interview

by Adam Bernard 20.05.04

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 album.

Still concentrating 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.

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