INTERVIEW: JoJo On Her Sold Out Philly Concert
Ever since the vase-shattering JoJo burst onto the music scene at just thirteen years old with her ’04 debut single, “Leave(Get Out),” the songstress captured music hearts across the globe and seemed to be headed to the high roads of music stardom. However, due to major drama with her record label, Interscope, her career was sidelined a bit and unfortunately, the “Too Little, Too Late” diva struggled to regain her prowess on the Billboard charts these last few years.
But being the industry fighter she is and just how devoted her long-time fans are, Ms. JoJo bounced back this year after finally being freed from the label and recently served us with a trio of songs in a fiery “tringle,” as well as hitting the road on her sold out I Am JoJo Tour, which will find its place on the Coda Philly stage tonight.
Before the delightful diva owns those spotlights, she took some to chat with us, spilling about the highs and lows of stardom, dished details on the eye-popping video for her comeback single, “When Love Hurts,” and reveals how she truly feels that this is just the true beginning of her red-hot career.
I just first have to ask you….how’s life these days? I’m happy as a motherfucker! Being busy is good for most people like myself, so I’m thankful right now. I’m in a state of gratefulness for these opportunities. I just want to seize and live in this moment.
There’s really no need to rehash your well publicized record label and music industry struggles. Of course, there were some negative energy that came out of that time, but do you feel you gained anything positive throughout the ordeal? Yes, absolutely. I can’t help to look at it as something that was meant to be part of my story. I think that it taught me to be more self-sufficient and to develop an even stronger relationship with my fans. Just being myself and not having opinions from the label and not trying to have an image in mind and all of these things I’ve been forced to think about since I was twelve. To not have to do that anymore, it’s really taught me how to trust myself.
Moving on to the now infamous video for your current hit single, “When Love Hurts,” there’s really so much to discuss! First explain the concept behind it and where you found all those wonderful dancers that are laced throughout. I’m incredibly inspired by dancers and how they’re in control of their bodies. How they’re able to express themselves through dance in a way that I’m able to express myself when I’m singing. We went out and found some amazing dancers in the L.A. area that have a vogueing background in New York from the House of Xtravaganza. We also watched Paris is Burning a few times and I felt like I wanted to bring some of that triumph and that energy into different styles of vogueing and into the video. I wanted it to be joy, but tense as well because we’re talking about how love hurts. It’s like the whole flip side of it and that’s what makes it all worth it.
How did the shoot go for everybody? It was actually really stressful. I had a hundred degree fever. It was kind of like everything that could have gone wrong kind of did. After not having done an official video for so long, my nerves were so high and I probably made myself sick. But at the end of it, it ended being amazing and dancers were so great. We definitely pulled a rabbit out of the hat with that one.
Let’s spill about the I am JoJo Tour. Philly has actually been sold out for weeks, as well as many other dates on the tour. You better work, girl! It’s a great feeling and it certainly wasn’t expected! I got emotional when I heard that cities were selling out, especially my home town of Boston. I just want people to have a great time and to let this truly be just the beginning of the rest of my career.
Your fans want to know if you be doing some of your older material like “Leave” and “Too Little, Too Late”? Absolutely. I’m not the type of person who’s mad or has a bad relationship with their old material. I’m so appreciative that people still respond so well to it. It all has new meaning for me right now. The set is starting from the very beginning and going all the way up to present day. The first, second albums, the mixtapes and the new material. I love performing the set.
Now, you’ve served us with the “tringle” and the tour. I’m guessing the new album is next? Yes, there is going to be the full album. I’ve got some other things in the works with some great producers. I just feel that now I can play on this playground, you know…I want to. It’s just about getting my feet wet again.
Are you going to be able to check out Philly while you’re here? I love the Art Museum area, I’ve been there before. I love Philly. I’m from the old city of Boston, so it feels like an East Coast home! I’m definitely going to get a cheesesteak, no doubt. I’m just really going to soak up the good vibes.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the one album that you would have with you? One album? How about two? I would say Voodoo by D’Angelo and Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell. Sonically, they’re so different, but their two of the most influential albums in my life: Voodoo because it’s so rich, sensual and transports me into a different place, but Joni’s writing just gets to me every time as a young woman. It really just speaks to me. I really can’t choose between the two!