After what can only be described as a long journey, JoJo is back and better than ever with a new label, new edge and a new outlook.
With EPs, mixtapes and her recently released “tringle,” fans have been anxiously awaiting JoJo’s third studio album and the wait is almost over. Even with a 10-year gap between albums, JoJo has continuously been putting out music including the “Agápē” and “#Lovejo” mixtapes and “III,” released earlier this year. Regardless of label troubles, JoJo ensured that her fans would still be connected to her music and is hoping to put out her third official studio album in 2016. We caught up with JoJo at Atlantic Records to discuss her upcoming album, growing up in the industry and the evolution of her sound and style.
I saw the “When Love Hurts” video and you looked amazing! can you talk about the inspiration behind the video and choreography? I noticed you incorporated some indian dance moves.
Yeah! We were inspired by Vogue and the incredible resilience of that community – like Paris is Burning, I watched that and was really moved by that energy and I wanted to feel that triumphant spirit that I saw in that movie. The song is about going through something stressful in a relationship so I wanted it to be a bit more fun and playful than that and wanted to show the joy of dance and the joy of how you feel when you’re in love even when it is difficult and to know that what you’re fighting for is worth it.
When can we expect the other two videos?
“Say Love” is coming really soon. I just saw the first edit of it and I’m really excited we have the second edit and it’s coming soon. “Save my Soul” I’m still conceptualizing and working with a close friend of mine to do something that is true to the story.
Can you talk about your style now and how it’s evolved?
I think I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy and now it’s just a little bit edgier. I don’t really know about trends, I don’t necessarily follow that, but I know what makes me feel cool and confident and comfortable and I like to play with menswear while making it a little sexier because honestly I don’t feel my best while in bikini or walking around in heels. I just gotta be myself and I kinda dress however I feel.
You’ve changed and grown up in many ways, can you discuss what it was it like growing up in the industry?
I was pretty sheltered because my mom was managing me and she wanted to protect me from the weird stuff that she was seeing going on and even from the opinions of others, she made sure that I focused on my school and that’s why I didn’t tour much when I was a teenager so I’m really starting to build up my touring base with this relaunch. When I turned 18 I was like sh*t I didn’t know it was as crazy as it is.
You released a “tringle” earlier this year, what made you decide to drop all three as opposed to just one track?
I wanted to make an impact through music. I’m not really controversial person by nature and I don’t want to be that type of artist. I wanted to show a few different sides, not just come back with a pop dance record, which would have been fine, but I wanted to show how I’ve grown as a vocalist and give a little bit more depth.
Can you tell us a little about working on your third studio album and the inspiration behind it?
I came into this with a clean slate and an open mind because anything that I recorded at my previous label, I couldn’t use so I was starting from scratch again so I wanted to try different things that I was listening to like house music has really moved me and made me feel fabulous. From disclosure to more contemporary stuff to Cece Peniston and Black Box and stuff in the ‘90s and Sylvester and Disco in the late ‘70s. So I wanted to take a stab at that. Soul and R&B is a part of me, it’s what I grew up listening to so I think that comes out in everything I do.
Any surprise features on it?
It’ll be a surprise to me too *laughs* I have some people in mind, but since I’m focused on promoting this tringle, I put the album a bit to the side and then come the end of the year I’m going to start reaching out.
When can fans expect the album?
It’s looking like first quarter next year, but I really don’t wanna give a date because- what’s also cool about releasing music now is that you don’t need a long lead up, people just drop albums so who’s to say when it’ll come out, I really don’t know.
JOJO can you do your Fetty Wap impression because it’s amazing! Aside from Fetty Wap who are some other artists you like to turn up to?
I love Kendrick Lamar, because you’re turning up while receiving a message and being conscious and that’s my type of turn up. SOmetimes I like to not think at all, but Kendrick’s one of my favorites. I love Ty Dolla $ign, there’s this new artist from London that I just found out about, his name’s Shakka and his new song called “Say Nada” is my favorite. Drake is always great. He just releases anthems that we all feel are talking right out of our lives and speaking right to us.
You’ve also discussed how much you’re inspired by Janelle Monae, any other artists that inspire you? Artists you’re listening to?
Mostly women who have continued to reinvent themselves and had longevity in the game, I’m talking like Cher, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner. I wanna be doing it when I’m in my 60s and I can’t imagine- well I can imagine because it’s what I want- but the level of discipline that, that takes I really respect.
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 2015
2 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
3 New York, NY Marlin Room at Webster Hall
4 Philadelphia, PA Coda
8 Cincinnati, OH 20th Century Theater
10 Kansas City, MO recordBar
11 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
17 St. Louis, MO Old Rock House
19 Indianapolis, IN Emerson Theater
23 Los Angeles, CA The Roxy
24 San Francisco, CA Social Hall
28 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
29 Seattle, WA Neumos
4 Atlanta, GA The Loft
6 Dallas, TX Club Dada
7 Houston, TX Studio at Warehouse Live
9 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
10 St. Petersburg, FL State Theater
12 Washington, DC U-Street Music Hall
14 Boston, MA The Sinclair
15 Toronto, ON Mod Club
16 Ferndale, MI The Magic Bag
20 New Orleans, LA HI Ho Lounge
ADDITIONAL DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED