JoJo performing on the Joe Jonas & Jay Sean Tour in 2011
|Birth name||Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque|
December 20, 1990 |
Brattleboro, Vermont, U.S.
|Origin||Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S.|
Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque (born December 20, 1990), better known by her stage name JoJo, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Raised in Foxborough, Massachusetts, she performed in various singing competitions as a child, and after competing on the television show America's Most Talented Kids in 2003, she was noticed by record producer Vincent Herbert who asked her to audition for Blackground Records. JoJo released her eponymous titled debut album in June 2004, "Leave (Get Out)", her debut single, became number one on the Billboard Pop songs chart, which made her the youngest solo artist to have a number-one single in the United States, at thirteen years old. The song peaked at 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the RIAA. The album has since sold over 4 million copies worldwide to date.
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 the Billboard Hot 100. The single was certified platinum by the RIAA in March 2007 and became her first platinum-selling single. The album has since sold over three million copies worldwide. She has also released two mixtapes independently, Can't Take That Away from Me in 2010 and Agápē in December 2012, as well as an EP following her signing to Atlantic Records. As of November 2013, she has sold more than 7 million albums worldwide  and has sold over 2.1 million albums and 4 million digital downloads in the United States alone.
In addition to her music career, JoJo also launched a career in acting. She made guest appearances on several television series, beginning with the 2002 American sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, and later in American Dreams in 2004 and Romeo! in 2006. That same year, JoJo made her feature film debut in two major Hollywood films Aquamarine, and RV. She starred in the Lifetime Television film True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet in 2008.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 3 Acting career
- 4 Other ventures
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Discography
- 7 Tours
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 Filmography
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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 old by imitating everything from nursery rhymes to R&B, jazz, and soul tunes. On the A&E 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 seven, JoJo appeared on the television show Kids Say the Darndest 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" and "Chain of Fools". Soon after, The Oprah Winfrey Show contacted her, inviting her to perform. She performed on Maury, on one of the "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 various talk shows, the McDonald's Gospelfest, performing Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You and Me" and competing on the television show, America's Most Talented Kids (losing to Diana DeGarmo), 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 producers 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 began working with producers for her first 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 the youngest MTV Video Music Award nominee. Her first album, the platinum-selling JoJo, was released in 2004, peaking at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number ten on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, selling 95,000 copies in its first week and reaching the top forty of the UK Albums Chart. 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 album, "Not That Kinda Girl," was released in 2005 and peaked at number eighty-five in Germany.
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.
2006–10: The High Road, label trouble and mixtape
JoJo's second album, The High Road, was released on October 17, 2006. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 108,000 units. It was produced by Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz, J. R. Rotem, Corey Williams, Soulshock & Karlin and Ryan Leslie. It received mainly positive reviews. 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 66 to number three in one week; this record was previously held by Mariah Carey with her 2001 single "Loverboy", which went from number 60 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 76 on the Billboard Pop 100. "Anything", was released as a third single to little success. The album sold over 550,000 copies and was certified gold by the RIAA in December 2006.
On July 20, 2007, JoJo's version of "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston leaked on the internet titled "Beautiful Girls Reply". It debuted at number thirty-nine on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 chart one month later. In late 2007, JoJo stated that she would be writing songs for her third album, to be released when she turned 18. She said she wanted her fans to "see growth" in her music.
In an April 2008 interview, JoJo stated that she was writing and producing an upcoming album in Boston and Atlanta. On August 30, 2008, JoJo posted her own version of the song "Can't Believe It", originally performed by T-Pain. 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. In a few months time, nearly 20 of her songs were leaked through a YouTube channel. 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. She reportedly sought $500,000 for her troubles and to be released from her contract. JoJo was released from her contract in October 2009 and a deal was reached with Blackground Records to have JoJo's third album distributed by Interscope Records.
In late 2009, JoJo appeared on Timbaland's Shock Value II as a featuring artist on the song "Lose Control". She later appeared on "Timothy Where You Been" with the Australian band Jet as a background vocalist. Can't Take That Away from Me was released as JoJo's first mixtape in September 2010 and spawned the single "In the Dark". In late 2010, JoJo made cameo appearances in music videos for Keri Hilson and Clinton Sparks.
2011–13: Agápē, compilations and touring
In February 2011, JoJo uploaded a video to YouTube announcing that she was shooting a video for a new song, titled "Disaster" and that she had changed the title of the album from All I Want Is Everything to Jumping Trains, stating that she had desires to "represent something different; something fresh."
In June 2011, she released a remix of rapper Drake's song "Marvin's Room," renamed "Marvin's Room (Can't Do Better)" through Rap-Up's YouTube channel. JoJo rewrote the song from a female perspective to express a frustration towards an ex-lover and his supposed new girlfriend. Drake himself expressed his appreciation for her interpretation.
On August 29, 2011, "Disaster" was released to U.S. radio. The song saw her continue in a similar style to her previous hits, which was praised by critics for not "jumping on the synthpop bandwagon," but also criticized for not showing much progression after a five-year hiatus. "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. In support of the single, she opened for the Joe Jonas & Jay Sean Tour. JoJo gave her first televised performance of the song on Good Day Dallas on September 29, and later performed on a small promotional tour for "Pinktober" in order to raise money for breast cancer research during the month of October. A music video for the song premiered on JoJo's official website in November 2011.
In early 2012, JoJo toured with Big Time Rush for 5 dates of their Better With You Tour. A promotional single, "Sexy to Me," was made available for purchase on February 28, 2012 on iTunes and Amazon. JoJo, wanting to go in a new direction with the album, released "Demonstrate", produced by Noah "40" Shebib, on July 17, 2012. Its release as an official single was eventually scrapped for reasons unknown despite a music video already having been filmed.
After Blackground Records lost their distribution deal through Interscope Records in late 2012, resulting once again in the delay of the release of an album, JoJo began recording new material specifically for a new mixtape to be released by the end of the year, as she "didn't want to keep the fans waiting for new music any longer". On November 15, 2012, she announced the release of a mixtape, titled Agápē, which means "unconditional love" in Greek. The project was released for free through digital download on her 22nd birthday on December 20, 2012. In support of the mixtape, JoJo embarked on her first headlining North American tour, The Agápē Tour. "We Get By", was released as the lead single from the mixtape on November 15, 2012. "André" was released as the second single from the mixtape on November 30, 2012, with the music video for the song premiering on March 21, 2013 through Complex magazine.
2014: Label change and third studio album
On July 30, 2013, it was reported that JoJo had filed a lawsuit against her labels Blackground Records and Da Family for "irreparable damages to her professional career". Allegedly, minors cannot sign contracts that last more than seven years under New York State law and thus she claims that as her contract was signed in 2004, her deal should have expired in 2011. In December 2013 both of JoJo's and Blackground's attorneys agreed to drop the case as both parties came to an agreement outside of court. On January 14, 2014, it was officially announced that JoJo was released from her multi-year battle with the label and signed a new recording contract with Atlantic Records. On February 14, she released an EP titled "#LoveJo" featuring covers of three classic songs. On March 16, she performed at SXSW 2014.
JoJo has acted since age four. She did local theater, radio, and TV commercials in the New England area, and national TV shows from age seven. JoJo made her professional stage debut at eight in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as Mustardseed at the Huntington Theater. She received her first union card from the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA) at ten.
After appearing on the television series The Bernie Mac Show and American Dreams, JoJo was cast opposite Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton in Aquamarine, playing Hailey. The film opened on March 3, 2006, opening at number five with $7.5 million.
Her second major film, RV, a comedy starring Robin Williams, was released on April 28, 2006. It opened at number one and grossed $69.7 million. JoJo had to audition for the part five times, and eventually replaced an actress who had already been cast in the role.
JoJo stated that "no one hired an acting coach for me on the set of Aquamarine." She announced that she will be billed as "Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque" in her film roles, but that she will still be credited as simply "JoJo" for her music work.
In 2005, she was offered a role as Zoe Stewart on the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana, but she turned down the role because she was not interested doing a television show. She was more concerned with being a legitimate artist, and a film career was not really what she saw for herself.
On August 28, 2007, in an interview with BOP and Tiger Beat online, JoJo stated that she was working on a new film. On September 10, JoJo revealed that she would be traveling to Toronto to film a small screen adaptation of Lola Douglas' True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet and play the role of Morgan Carter, with Valerie Bertinelli and Shenae Grimes. It was broadcast on Lifetime Television on August 9, 2008, and released on DVD on March 3, 2009.
In January 2011, JoJo was cast in an episode of CBS's Hawaii Five-0 as Courtney Russell, the daughter of a Tsunami Warning Center scientist who goes missing on the eve of a big storm hitting the Honolulu coast. This was JoJo's first acting role since 2008.
In October 2012, JoJo was cast and began working on a new film titled G.B.F., which stands for Gay Best Friend. The film's story centers on the social warfare that erupts when two gay high school boys realize they must become best friends to the most popular girls in school to improve their social status. JoJo stars as Soledad Braunstein who is the President of the Gay Straight Alliance. The film was shot in Los Angeles over 18 days by director Darren Stein.
In August 2011, JoJo had signed a promotional deal with HeartSoul clothing to become the new face for their Fall/Winter collection. To celebrate their upcoming collaboration, HeartSOUL and JoJo set out on a national search for the next fresh face of HeartSOUL clothing. Their core audience is an 18 to 34-year-old career oriented girls.
JoJo dated American soccer player Freddy Adu from May 2005 until September 2006. Both met on the MTV show Fake ID Club while she was hosting it. JoJo made an appearance in the commentary box at a New England Revolution home game when they were playing D.C. United. Freddy Adu registered an assist in that game. In November 2006, The Washington Post reported that the couple had split after one year. JoJo mentioned on American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest that she and Adu were still good friends.
In August 2009, she confirmed that she graduated from high school and will focus very hard on her future projects. JoJo was accepted to Northeastern University but did not attend; she considered majoring in cultural anthropology.
Aside from singing and acting, JoJo is also a supporter of various charitable organizations such as Boys and Girls Club of America, World Vision, She's the First, Make A Wish Foundation, and many more.
Awards and nominations
|2004||MTV Video Music Award||Best New Artist with Leave (Get Out)||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Awards||Female New Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Mainstream Top 40 Single of the Year with Leave (Get Out)||Nominated|
|Radio Disney Music Awards||Best Female Artist Leave (Get Out)||Nominated|
|Best Video That Rocks Leave (Get Out)||Won|
|2005||Radio Disney Music Awards||Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|2006||Teen Choice Award||Female Choice Breakout with Aquamarine||Nominated|
|Radio Disney Music Awards||Best Artist Or Song Your Teacher Likes Too Little Too Late||Won|
|Best True Ringer Ring Tone Too Little Too Late||Nominated|
|Best Song to Wake Up To Too Little Too Late||Nominated|
|Best Song You've Heard a Million Times and Still Love Too Little Too Late||Nominated|
|Favorite Karaoke Song Too Little Too Late||Won|
|2007||Boston Music Awards||National Female of The Year with Too Little, Too Late||Won|
|Hollywood Life 9th Annual Young Hollywood Awards||Breakthrough performance||Won|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a Feature Film with Aquamarine||Nominated|
|2008||Yahoo Music Awards||for over 10,000,000 downloads for Too Little, Too Late||Won|
|Boston Music Awards||Outstanding Pop/R&B Act of the Year||Nominated|
|2009||Poptastic Award||Best TV Movie with True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet||Nominated|
|1998||Kids Say the Darndest Things||Contestant||Starring as Joanna Levesque|
|1999–2000||Destination Stardom||Contestant||Starring as Joanna Levesque|
|2002||Developing Sheldon||Young Elizabeth||Starring as Joanna Levesque|
|2002||The Bernie Mac Show||Michelle||1 episode|
|2003||America's Most Talented Kid||Herself – performer||1 episode|
|2004||American Dreams||Young Linda Ronstadt||1 episode|
|2004||Shark Tale||Herself||Starring as Joanna "JoJo" Levesque|
|2005||Hope Rocks: The Concert with a Cause||Co-Host||made for television (Fox Television), Starring as JoJo|
|2006||Aquamarine||Hailey Rogers||Main role, film debut|
|RV||Cassie Munroe||Main role|
|2007||Punk'd||Herself||Season 8 – Episode 6|
|2008||True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet||Morgan Carter / Claudia Miller||made for television (Lifetime Television), Main role|
|2010||House of Glam||Herself||Season 1 – Episode 4 – La La Land|
|2011||Hawaii Five-0||Courtney Russell||Season 1 – Episode 14 – Kai e'e|
|The Dance Scene||Herself||Cameo|
|2013||G.B.F.||Soledad Braunstein||Main role|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to JoJo (singer).|
- Official website
- JoJo's channel on YouTube
- JoJo on Twitter
- JoJo at AllMusic
- JoJo at the Internet Movie Database