JoJo Biography

Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque (born December 20, 1990), professionally known as JoJo, is an American pop/R&B singer-songwriter and actress. After competing on the television show, America's Most Talented Kids, she was noticed by record producer Vincent Herbert who asked her to audition for Blackground Records.

JoJo released her self-titled debut album, In June 2004, which spawned the number-one single on the Billboard Pop song- "Leave (Get Out)"-and at age 13 she became the youngest solo artist to have a number-one single in the United States. It peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was certified gold by the RIAA. The second single "Baby It's You" was released in September 2004. The album has since sold over 3 million copies worldwide. JoJo's second album, The High Road was released in October 2006, The album's lead single, "Too Little Too Late", was released in August 2006 and reached number three on Billboard Hot 100. The single was certified platinum by the RIAA in March 2007. The album has since sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Her first mixtape, Can't Take That Away from Me, was released exclusively to on September 7, 2010. The mixtape was a prelude to her upcoming third studio album, which is scheduled for an early 2012 release through Blackground and Interscope Records. The first single from the mixtape, "In the Dark", was released exclusively to Rap-up on August 30, 2010. On February 28, 2011, JoJo revealed the new title of her third album would be named Jumping Trains (formerly titled "All I Want Is Everything"), named after one of her favorite songs on the upcoming Interscope Records project, with the first single being "Disaster", it debuted on the Billboard Pop song chartat number 38 making it her first single to chart in this category since 2007. and has since peaked at #29.

Apart from her work in music, JoJo has also launched a career in acting. She made her first television debut in the 2002 American sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, along with other television appearances in American Dreams (2004), Romeo! (2006), prior to her film debuts in two major Hollywood films in 2006, Aquamarine, her film debut and RV alongside Robin Williams. She has hosted the Ultimate Prom, and appeared in the movie True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, which earned her a nomination at the Poptastic Awards.

Early life

JoJo was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, and raised in Keene, New Hampshire and Foxborough, Massachusetts. She has English, Irish, Polish, French, Scottish, and Native American ancestry. She grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in Foxborough, in a low-income family. Her father sings as a hobby and her mother sang in a Catholic church choir and was trained in musical theater. JoJo's parents divorced when she was four years old and she was raised as an only child by her mother. JoJo's stage name comes from a childhood nickname.

As a child, JoJo listened as her mother practiced hymns. She started singing when she was two years and three months old by imitating, everything from nursery rhymes to R&B, jazz, and soul tunes. On the A&E's show Child Stars III: Teen Rockers, her mother claimed that JoJo had a borderline genius IQ. As a child, JoJo enjoyed attending Native American festivals and acted locally in professional theaters.

At age 7, JoJo appeared on the television show Kids Say the Darnedest Things: On the Road in Boston with American comedian and actor Bill Cosby and she sang a song from singer Cher. After auditioning in the television show Destination Stardom, JoJo sang Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit "Respect" & Chain of Fools. Soon after, The Oprah Winfrey Show contacted her, inviting her to perform. She performed on Maury, on one of the frequent "kids-with-talent" episodes, as well as many others. Reminiscing, she has stated that "when it came to performing, I just had no fear".

2001–05: Discovery and JoJo

At 6 years old, JoJo was offered a record deal, but her mother turned it down because she believed JoJo was too young for a music career. After appearing on talk shows and the McDonald's Gospel Fest performing Whitney Houston's "I Believe In You and Me" and competing on the television show, America's Most Talented Kids, but did not win the show and lost to Diana DeGarmo.[clarification needed] Record producer Vincent Herbert contacted her and asked her to audition for Blackground Records. During her audition for Barry Hankerson, Hankerson told her that the spirit of his niece, the late singer Aaliyah, had brought her to him. She was signed to the label, and had recording sessions with famed producers like The Underdogs and Soulshock & Karlin.

JoJo's live demo, Joanna Levesque, recorded in 2001, features covers of soul and R&B songs, including Wilson Pickett's 1966 "Mustang Sally", Etta James's 1989 "It Ain't Always What You Do (It's Who You Let See You Do It)", Aretha Franklin's 1968 "Chain of Fools" and 1969 "The House That Jack Built", The Moonglows' 1956 "See Saw", Stevie Wonder's 1972 "Superstition", and The Temptations' 1975 "Shakey Ground".

In 2003, at age 12, JoJo signed with Blackground Records and Da Family and begin working with some producers on her first debut album. JoJo's gold-certified debut single "Leave (Get Out)" was released in 2004. Before the album's release, JoJo embarked on her first ever tour, the Cingular Buddy Bash with Fefe Dobson, Young Gunz and Zebrahead. The tour went to nine malls, starting at Atlanta's Northlake Mall and ending at South Shore Plaza. When the single reached number one on the Top 40 Mainstream, she became at age thirteen the youngest solo artist to have a number-one single in America. The first single was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, which made JoJo become the youngest MTV Video Music Award nominee. Her first album, the platinum-selling JoJo, followed, it peaked at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number ten on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, selling about 95,000 copies in its first week and reaching the top forty of the UK Albums Chart. JoJo co-wrote two of the album's songs, as well as wrote and co-produced one full track. In December 2004 she was nominated for Female New Artist Of The Year and Mainstream Top 40 Single Of The Year at the Billboard Music Awards. She is also the youngest artist to be nominated at the Billboard Music Awards.

Her second single, the gold-selling "Baby It's You" – which features rapper Bow Wow – peaked at number twenty-two in the U.S. and number eight in the UK. The final single from the self-titled album, "Not That Kinda Girl," was released in 2005 and peaked at number eighty-five in Germany. In mid-2005 rapper Eminem mentioned JoJo in his song "Ass Like That" along with many other popular teen female celebrities at the time.

In 2004, JoJo participated in "Come Together Now", a charity single to benefit the victims of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. That year, she was requested by First Lady Laura Bush to perform at the 2004 Christmas in Washington special, broadcast by TNT and hosted by Dr. Phil and his wife Robin McGraw. Despite performing at other events for the Republican Party, she has stated that she "does not agree with the things that President George W. Bush has done in office. I'll leave it at that." JoJo hosted and performed at the Hope Rocks concert in 2005 to benefit City of Hope Cancer Center and co-hosted the 2006 TV Guide Channel's countdown to the Grammy Awards.

2006–07: The High Road

JoJo's second album, The High Road, was released October 17, 2006. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. It was produced by Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz, J. R. Rotem, Corey Williams, Soulshock & Karlin and Ryan Leslie. It has received mainly positive reviews. JoJo says her next album really shows how she's grown up to her music and she feels more confident in her vocals and in the things that she sings about.

In the summer of 2006, the lead single from her second album, "Too Little Too Late", was released to radio stations. "Too Little Too Late" broke the record for the biggest jump into the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, moving from number sixty-six to number three in one week; this record was previously held by Mariah Carey with her 2001 single "Loverboy", which went from number sixty to number two. The album's second official single, "How to Touch a Girl", experienced less success. It charted just outside the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number seventy-six on the Billboard Pop 100. The single is one of her favorite songs from The High Road and was written by herself. On March 16, 2007, The Second JammX Kids All Star Dance Special broadcast a new song by JoJo entitled "Anything", which samples Toto's 1982 hit single, "Africa" but it did not have a music video. The album has sold over 550,000 and since been certified gold by the RIAA.

On July 20, 2007, JoJo's answer to "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston leaked on the Internet called "Beautiful Girls Reply". It debuted at number thirty-nine on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 chart one month later. JoJo left a message that she wanted her fans' input in deciding between "Coming for You" or "Let It Rain" as the next single, but it was canceled to release a third single for The High Road. She has also stated that she will be touring in the summer of 2007 in the U.S. and Europe in support of The High Road.

Though there has not been an official tour, she has been performing with a live band as part of the Six Flags Starburst Thursday Night Concert series during the summer of 2007. During some of these shows she has included medleys of her favorite popular songs from Beyoncé ("Déjà Vu"), Kelly Clarkson ("Since U Been Gone"), SWV, Gnarls Barkley, Jackson 5, Justin Timberlake ("My Love"), Maroon 5, Usher, Carlos Santana, Jill Scott, Michael Jackson, George Benson, Musiq Soulchild, and Amy Winehouse ("Rehab", replacing the title with "Boston"). In November 2007, JoJo she toured in Brazil at the Live Pop Rock Brasil.

On December 1, 2007, JoJo won the Boston Music Award for National Female Vocalist of the Year for "Too Little Too Late" and has performed.

In late 2007, JoJo stated that she had been writing songs for her third album, to be released when she turned eighteen. She wants her fans to see growth in her music. She is seeking a publisher so that she can sing some of her self-written songs.

2008–2010: Record label conflict and Can't Take That Away from Me

In an April 8, 2008 interview at the Hearst Tower for the "Ultimate Prom" party, JoJo stated that she is writing and producing an album in Boston and Atlanta. She has lined up producers Tank, DJ Toomp, J. Moss, Toby Gad, The Underdogs, Danja, J.R. Rotem, Billy Steinberg, Bryan-Michael Cox, Marsha Ambrosius, Madd Scientist, Tony Dixon, Eric Dawkins and J. Gatsby. Out of three quarters of the finished material, she wrote all but one song. She said it will be her most personal album to date with inspiration coming from a romantic breakup to finding a new relationship, as well as feeling sexier and more confident becoming a woman. The self-written title track is described as an inspirational anthem. On August 30, 2008, JoJo posted her own answer version of the song "Can't Believe It", which originally performed by T-Pain. On September 1, JoJo said that her album would be out early 2009. In 2008, R&B singer Ne-Yo sampled JoJo's second single "Baby It's You".

On October 14, 2008, JoJo sang the National Anthem before Game 4 of the ALCS at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. On December 9, 2008, JoJo was nominated again at the Boston Music Awards and was nominated for Outstanding Pop/R&B Act Of The Year but the singing group Jada has won this award. In January 2009, JoJo stated on her official MySpace that she has working with producers Chad Hugo, Jim Beanz & Kenna and she currently is working very hard for her new album. She stated she had problems with her record label and she has changed her label from Blackground to Interscope Records.

In April 2009, JoJo stated in her MySpace blog that she is still signed to Blackground. Singer-songwriter Jovan Dais said in an interview he will work with DJ Toomp on JoJo's forthcoming album. He said: I'm really selective about who I work with because I'm not interested in it like that as far as working with so many different people. I really like JoJo. I like her music, I like her voice and I believe she's a true talent. We came up with some great material.

JoJo's song "Note to God" from her second album The High Road was recently[when?] covered by Filipina pop singer Charice.

On June 3, 2009, JoJo stated on her official YouTube account that she was waiting for her record label to sign a distribution deal to release her album, but apart from that she has finished work the forthcoming album. On June 10, 2009 samples of her songs written by Toby Gad "Fearless", "Touch Down" and "Underneath" leaked on the internet. JoJo posted on her official MySpace: "These songs are not on the album nor do they represent the sound or direction of this record". In few months time nearly 20 of her songs were leaked through a Youtube channel. She later stated that most of these leaked tracks will not make it to the new album. In mid July she said on her Myspace that she's writing songs for other recording artists and herself and vibing with some talented producers in Los Angeles.

In August 2009, it was reported that JoJo filed a lawsuit in New York against her record label Da Family Entertainment for putting her in musical limbo. The label will not let her out of her contract or let her record a new album. She is seeking $500,000 for her troubles and to be released from her contract.[citation needed] JoJo was released from her contract in October 2009 and a deal was reached to make Interscope Records her distributing label.

In October 2009, finally a deal was reached with Blackground Records to have JoJo's third album distributed by Interscope Records. JoJo had confirmed that on Twitter. She left Da Family Entertainment after six years and is now at Interscope. Her label is currently getting all the legal things together for her third album to be released in 2010.[dated info]

In late 2009, JoJo appeared in Timbaland's Shock Value II in a song called "Lose Control" and it's her first official song on an album after two years. In an interview in November she said that she's so excited to be on his record. She appeared in another song called "Timothy Where You Been" with the Australian band Jet as a background vocalist. In an Interview with Rap-Up, JoJo said about the album: "I wanted to do something that people would be like, ‘Wow, this girl has come a long way and she's really taking the reins, I wanted people to get a sense of who I am" and that Timbaland, Jim Beanz, The Messengers, Kenna, Chad Hugo & Pharell Williams work on her new record and in 2010 she's ready to come back and put the finishing touches on the album in January. On March 27, 2010 JoJo joined Timbaland and Justin Timberlake for the Manila Changing Lives Concert tour in support of Timbaland's Shock Value II album. Where she performed her song "Too Little Too Late" and the song "Lose Control" with Timbaland from the album. Less than two months later JoJo returned to Manilla for the Then & Now Massive Music Festival on May 15, 2010 with other artist like Baby Bash, Frankie J, Diana King, SWV and more. This time she performed several songs from her past two albums as well was two new songs "Play This Twice" and "Safe With Me" (which is one of the 26 leaked tracks) from her third album.

At the end of 2009, JoJo confirmed she was working with Clinton Sparks and Chester French on a mixtape for release in 2010. In July 2010, she confirmed in an Interview with Sam E. Goldberg that she will release her mixtape the month before the album. She announced on Twitter that her mixtape called Can't Take That Away from Me with the first single "In the Dark" produced by Jordan Gatsby. In August 2010, she gave in an Interview with Rap-Up more information about her upcoming mixtape, it set to release on September 7, 2010. The singer said about the mixtape: "This mixtape is more experimental, I was able to explore the full spectrum of things that interest me and inspire me musically. Whereas the album, I wanted to make pop records and radio hits and things that satisfy me, but particularly for All I Want Is Everything, it's more of a continuous body of work." She added that the mixtape is more different than her upcoming album All I Want Is Everything. The first single "In the Dark" is different than anything people have heard from her. She said about "In The Dark": It's a very sensual record and there's an undertone of sadness to it.

In November 2010, JoJo made a cameo appearance in Keri Hilson's music video for "The Way You Love Me" from her second studio album No Boys Allowed and was known as "Boots" for the video, where she plays as one of the sexy hunter girls in Keri's gang, alongside Faith Evans (Danja), Dawn (Money) as well as Rick Ross, Columbus Short, and Polow Da Don. In December 2010, JoJo made another cameo appearance in Clinton Sparks's Debut music video for "Favourite DJ" Ft Jermaine Dupri & DJ CLASS and at the end in the song "Sucks To Be You" which features LMFAO and JoJo. The video premiered on Clinton's official website on December 21. JoJo plays Clinton's crazy ex girlfriend.

2011–present: Jumping Trains

According to the The New York Post, JoJo owns the final mastered copies of the record. On February 28, JoJo revealed the new title of her third album, Jumping Trains, named after one of her favorite songs on the upcoming Interscope Records project. JoJo states that “My third album will be called Jumping Trains and it’s very symbolic for a variety of reasons,” explained JoJo. “Moving from Boston to L.A., transitioning from being a girl to being a young woman, living on my own, taking a different direction sonically, and just really finding myself and just jumping into a new chapter of life.”

A music video for the song "The Other Chick" was shot on April 20, 2011 by director Kai Regan and i still awaiting release. On August 18, 2011 JoJo announced via her official Twitter account that the first official single from Jumping Trains would be "Disaster".

In support of the new single "Disaster", she opened for Joe Jonas & Jay Sean co-headlining 19 city fall tour which began on September 6, 2011 in Boston, MA at the House of Blues and ran until October 6 in New York at the Best Buy Theater. The lead single "Disaster" was released to US radio on August 29, 2011. It was available for purchase as a digital download on iTunes on September 6, 2011. Disaster debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 87, but fell off the chart the next week. This gave JoJo her first charting single since Too Little Too Late in 2006. The single failed to impact any chart internationally. JoJo shot the music video for "Disaster" on September 14, 2011 in Down Town Los Angeles. She stated that the album is slated for an early 2012 release. JoJo gave her first televised performance of the song on Good Day Dallas on September 29. "Disaster" was set to officially impact U.S. Top40/Mainstream radio on November 1, 2011, its release, however, was pushed up to October 25, 2011. She has also performed the song on Boston's Fox News morning show on October 28, 2011. JoJo later performed on a small promotional tour for 'Pinktober' in order to raise money for breast cancer research at Hard Rock Café locations across the US during the month of October. Philadelphia’s Q102 will also be hosting it’s annual Jingle Ball on December 7 and they have invited JoJo to perform. She is also set to perform at the K104.7 Not so Silent Night on December 5, 2011.

A sneak peak teaser clip of "Disaster" was shown on MTV '10 On Top.' on October 29, 2011 four days before the videos release. The full video premiered on JoJo official website on November 1, 2011. and was made available to VEVO on November 2. JoJo revealed via her official Twitter account that the April 3 release date for the album has not been 100% confirmed yet. However the album is set for an April release date under Blackground, Interscope and Streamline Records. JoJo is scheduled to tour with Big Time Rush for a 5 dates of their 16 date Better With You Tour beginning February 17, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada and ending on February 22, 2012 in Broomfield, Colorado. "Sexy to Me" was made available for purchase on February 28, 2012 as a promotional single on iTunes and Amazon.
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