JoJo: 'I Kind of Snapped on this Album'
October 18, 2011
Thanks to a super complicated and somewhat sketchy contract with the label that signed her at age 12, JoJo has been confronted with one sticky legal barricade after another every time she tried to release a new album. Thankfully, the 20-year-old has fully freed herself from those shady shackles and plans to drop her first album in more than six years during the first half of 2012.
But what does the singer behind 2004's megahit Leave (Get Out) sound like today? And more importantly, what kind of artist has the last six years -- filled with professional frustrations and personal growth -- turned her into? Well, after getting to sample four tracks off 2012's Jumping Trains, I can tell you that this new JoJo is poised to topple the top pop princesses -- and start a vast collection of their cracked crowns.
Raw, exciting and powerful, JoJo's new music almost makes the last six years of strife worth it since the wide-eyed pop prodigy needed to get a little dirty in order to produce this clean sweep of sensational new tracks. I caught up with JoJo -- and got an exclusive sneak peek at her Disaster music video -- to find out how it feels to finally be dropping a new disc, what her fans should take away from Jumping Trains and why every artist needs a douchebag or two in their life!
Insider.com: Your label issues over the last few years have been well-documented -- how did it feel to be sitting on all this talent for six years?
JoJo: It was very frustrating. For a while I felt like, why am I continuing to go into the studio constantly if it's never going to be released? It was a very frustrating, stagnant place. I got discouraged at some points, but I just kept believing in what we kept trying to make happen and what I've been working my whole life towards. I was able to release music less through less nontraditional means, but I had to find a way to stay creative and express myself in spite of the legalities.
Insider: How do you feel different as an artist now versus 2006, when your last album, The High Road, came out?
JoJo: I feel a world of difference away. I put out my first album when I was 12. Leave, Get Out came out when I was 13 and I didn’t have my first kiss until I was almost 15, so I just had no idea what I was talking about! [laughs] On this album, everything is from personal experience, from real conversations that I've had and from things I've soaked up. I wanted to be painfully honest. And in the four songs you heard, I don't think you even got to scratch the surface of where I go on this album with the rawness. There's a lot of that that I wanted to give to this album. I didn’t want this to be a polite album. So I would say that that’s the biggest difference. What I'm talking about is coming from my absolute truth and everything I've been through. I didn't want a traditional pop record.
Insider: Needless to say, some of your exes might want to listen to this album with a cocktail?
JoJo: There are definitely tracks that are explicitly about a particular person. I almost wanna thank certain people in my liner notes. Like, "Thanks for being such a s***head." [laughs] I mean, without them, I wouldn't have this incredible inspiration. I wouldn't perform the way I do. I wouldn't be so angst-y and have this passion. I kind of snapped on this album. I think that everyone has their outlet -- some people release their emotions by writing in a journal or getting in the boxing ring. I like to write and perform and emote in that way. I'm really lucky to have that kind of release. And if people want to get mad at me for being painfully honest, then don't date a songwriter, weirdo [laughs].
Insider: Talk to me about the song Jumping Trains, which is also the album title. Where did the inspiration for that come from?
JoJo: I wrote the song because I was in a relationship where I just felt like I was locked in place. I wasn't moving forward in my life. He was ready for things that I wasn't ready for as far as commitment. I wanted to explore the world and be this young woman and travel and have my career and everything. That's where it came from. I am a history buff and was thinking of the act of freight-hopping though. I thought it was be a great name for the album because this is such an important and risky moment. It's that thing, where if you can make it from one train to the next it feels incredible, and the payoff can be great. It's that scariness and that exhilaration. I kind of wanted to bring that energy into it.
Insider: We just debuted a short clip from the Disaster music video, what inspired that?
JoJo: I just really wanted to do something aggressive. And I think it's a natural progression from Too Little, Too Late. And that’s really the last big song I had on radio. It's a bit more mature, it's more musical and also more honest than I have been before. It's simply because I've grown a lot as a singer from 15 to 20. I think this is a song a lot of people can relate to. The video is the sexiest, most rock and roll video that I’ve done. I look forward to people getting a new perspective on me.
Insider: The album drops early next year, but what would you like to tell your fans in the meantime?
JoJo: First of all, thank you. I really hope the fans that have been patiently waiting with me during this whole process feel that it was worth the wait. I'm so happy with the album and put so much into it. These songs are the soundtrack to my life. I want to have a relationship with my audience!
Keep your eyes peeled to Insider.com and JoJo's official site for updates on Jumping Trains!