At the age of 14, Joanna “JoJo” Levesque became a household name as the teen star with the hit song “Leave (Get Out).” She quickly followed up a successful record career with lead parts in movies like Aquamarine, with Emma Roberts, and RV with Robin Williams. And then? She all but disappeared.
Now, JoJo is back. After two years of writing her new album Jumping Trains, her first release as an adult, she’s ready to show the world who she really is as an artist.
At the 4th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at L.A. LIVE & Opening of LA Kings Holiday Ice, Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with JoJo about her new album and what it’s like to perform songs about her own personal struggles.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What’s going on with your album, currently?
JoJo: Well, my album, Jumping Trains, will be coming out early next year. It's been a long time coming. I really wrote my way through these past few years and grew as a songwriter, pushed myself as a singer, lost my mind. Like, I snapped, just went crazy during this process, but I think I kind of found my lane in that time.
Was it different from previous albums you've done?
Definitely, because I was an adult recording this album, and my previous ones I recorded at 12 and at 14 and 15. So this album, I recorded from 18 to 20. So it's a significantly different experience because I didn't have anyone — I didn't have my mom telling me go to bed, or do your school work, or don't do that, or don't talk to that person. I got to make a lot of mistakes and pick myself up from it.
But it's probably more reflective of who you are, right?
Absolutely. Because I got to write on this album [about] everything that I was going through, I got to express myself through music.
What is musically different about this album?
Like I said, I snapped. I was going through a lot personally, going through a lot with my career, feeling like I didn't have control of it and like I was in limbo. I was really frustrated. So my music became aggressive. It became angsty. It became hard. I became that east coast chick, rough around the edges that I am. And I became bold, and I wasn't afraid. I really wanted to be on another level vocally than people have heard me before. I just wanted to be my personal best, and every album, I'll continue to grow, but this is a representation of the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a young woman finding herself. Moving from Massachusetts to L.A., it's a weird experience, but I wrote my way through it.
When you listen to someone like Adele, you think she must have been in such pain writing her music. When you look back at a song about something that really hurt you, can you see it from a different perspective?
Yes. I can see it from a different perspective, but also when I'm performing a certain song, even when I'm over a relationship or over an experience, I can kind of fall back into what that felt like. It's kind of a dangerous place to put yourself into. Some of it is painful. Some of it is joyful. Some of it is stupid, but it's all real.
Any new singles coming out?
Just focused on my single, “Disaster.”
Do you still want to act?
Yeah, definitely in the future, but I've worked so hard at this album that I really want to promote it and tour and just run it into the ground, because I'm so proud and I'm so excited about it.