Today’s installment of Real Life Glam features former teen queen and now full-fledged adult singer, JoJo! It’s been a decade since she shook the music world with her first single “Leave (Get Out)” and became the youngest artist to reach the top of the music charts. After a seven year stalemate with her former label Blackground Music, the Los Angeles Times recently announced that she’d signed with Atlantic Records. Fans rejoiced.
In our exclusive interview with her, JoJo opens up about where she gets her inspiration from, her tattoos and more. Read on to learn about where she’s headed and what makes this singer tick!
c/o Nikko Lamere via Los Angeles Times
GLB: How would you describe your transition from teen star to adult singer?
JoJo: For me it was not something that I really had to think about. Like, I’m sure it was the same as going from middle school to high school and journeying into college. So it was very natural for me because I’d been singing since I was a little girl. I didn’t really think, “Oh! I need to make this transition. I have to be an adult now.” It was just something that you do. So I guess there were some growing pains involved, but I think that as I got a positive response from some of the material that I was putting out, I let go of the fear that I had of being true to myself as a young woman that I was growing into.
GLB: What is the sound or feel of your new music?
JoJo: I would say that is paying homage to some artists who have inspired me, but I wanted to have a fresh forward thinking sonic approach to it. So I wanted the beats to hit really hard and the vocals to smooth it out. In everything I love the tension and contrast. I love leather and lace. I love hard and soft, so I try to think of that in everything I do. But musically, I think it sort of has started to come out in what I put out.
Oh, you know, just hangin’ with the homie.
GLB: Where does your inspiration come from?
JoJo: All around. From life. Well I guess you can call me a serial monogamist. I’ve been in long-term relationships since I was 15. So, you know, I’ve been in love, I’ve broken hearts, I’ve had my heart broken so I’m inspired by all of that. Recently, I’ve been single for the first time since I was 15, for real. I’m closer to my girlfriends now more than ever, I’m feeling more creative than ever. I’m feeling more in touch with who I am and what I want and it’s the illest feeling, to be honest with you. So I think that’s what’s really inspiring me to just be living with not having to consider anyone else. That’s what our 20s are for, so I’m giving myself the gift of “singledom.”
GLB: Where’s the most memorable place that you’ve performed thus far in your career?
JoJo: I’ll never forget when I was about 16, 17. I was performing at a soccer stadium in Brazil and it was amazing. It was at a Brazilian festival and I was the only American act and it wasn’t like Rio; it was a smaller, less multicultural city. So the fact that the people whose first language is Portuguese knew all the words to my songs was still very moving for me. And the sheer expansiveness of the stadium was just amazing.
GLB: What would you say is next for JoJo?
JoJo: Just putting out content, inviting people into my world and making thoughtfully reckless music.
We were just wondering…
GLB: When you’re not touring or recording, what do you like to do for fun?
JoJo: I love to spend time with my friends. We like to take different workout classes and being in L.A., there are a lot of great opportunities to try different things and I love to go hear live music. I love mixology; I love great cocktails so I love to find places like cool bars with a really great atmosphere. I am a foodie, so I love to find cool food places. I love to find dope boutiques and vintage shops. I just love to be inspired at all times, so I just go where my inspiration is.
GLB: What is your TV guilty pleasure?
JoJo: I don’t feel guilt at shit. I would say House of Cards. I don’t feel guilty about it at all; it’s so good! House of Cards, Scandal, Mad Men. I’m Netflix. I don’t even have cable anymore, I just watch Netflix. But what I may actually feel a little guilty about is the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because I see these women around because I live not far from there and it’s hilarious.
GLB: You’re definitely tatted up. What are your three most significant tattoos?
JoJo: Great question! I would say the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” It’s the AA thing and even though I’m not a part of the program, it’s definitely affected a lot of members of my family. I am a product of that. I grew up in the halls of AA and everything. So this is just a great constant reminder whether you’re a part of the program or not. My faith in God is very important to me so being able to be reminded of this when I look down all the time.
Truth is one that I think is really significant for me. I got it with my dad on the side of the road in New Hampshire. He doesn’t have any tattoos but I was like, “Dad, I want a tattoo.” I was already tatted at the time so he was like, “It’s your body.” So I didn’t know what I was going to go get but I knew I wanted it right here. I think I was 18 or 19. And I was just thinking about words and I was thinking about putting my right hand to God and swearing on a Bible and how I want to represent the truth. As a Sagittarius, we’re seekers of truth and when I put my hand here I want mother*ckers to see the truth.
And maybe my dinosaur tattoo. I love dinosaurs and when I was a little girl, I used to have dinosaur figurines. My parents would be fighting, they weren’t together for very long, but when they were it was pretty chaotic. So I would close the door and go into my room and I would hear them yelling as I played with my dinosaurs as I sang to myself to drown out the noise. I would create habitats for them and I would take grass from outside, rocks and stuff, but it was like these dinosaurs were my protectors. So that’s my story. And t-rex is there; I don’t know if he’s my guardian but I thought it was cool so I decided to put it on my body.
And of course, if you haven’t already check out Jojo’s latest release, #LoveJo!