JoJo performing on the Joe Jonas & Jay Sean Tour in 2011
|Birth name||Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque|
December 20, 1990 |
Brattleboro, Vermont, United States
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Labels||Blackground, Da Family, Interscope, Streamline|
Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque (born December 20, 1990), professionally known as Joanna Levesque or simply 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. At age 13 she became the youngest solo artist to have a number-one single in the United States with the album's first single, "Leave (Get Out)". The song peaked at 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, was certified gold by the RIAA, and 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 two million copies worldwide. Her first mixtape, Can't Take That Away from Me, was released exclusively to Rap-Up.com on September 7, 2010. The mixtape was a prelude to her upcoming third studio album. On September 6, 2011, JoJo released the single "Disaster", which peaked on the Billboard Pop Songs chart at number 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.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 3 Other ventures
- 4 Acting career
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Discography
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 Tours
- 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'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 seven, 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" and 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 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 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 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 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.
2006–10: The High Road, Label trouble and mixtape
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 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 since been certified gold by the RIAA. 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, said to be her most personal album to date. On August 30, 2008, JoJo posted her own version of the song "Can't Believe It", originally performed by T-Pain. In January 2009, JoJo stated on her official Myspace that she was working with producers Chad Hugo, Jim Beanz, and Kenna. On June 3, 2009, JoJo stated on her official YouTube account that she was still 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. 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 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. At the end of 2009, JoJo confirmed she was working with Clinton Sparks and Chester French on a mixtape for release in 2010. The mixtape, titled Can't Take That Away from Me, was released in September 2010 and spawned the single "In the Dark". 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. In December 2010, JoJo made another cameo appearance in Clinton Sparks's debut music video. The video premiered on Clinton's official website on December 21.
2011–present: Agápē, Continued label conflict, and upcoming third studio album
In February 2011, JoJo uploaded a video to YouTube, giving information about her upcoming third studio album. She said that she was shooting a video for a new song, titled "Disaster" and also revealed 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." The title was "very symbolic for a variety of reasons... 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 my life."
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. The song attracted a lot of attention, both for its lyrical maturity with references to sex and alcohol, as well as explicit language used. Amongst praise from fans and critics alike, Drake himself also expressed his appreciation for her interpretation. The video has since accumulated over 35 million views.
On August 29, 2011, "Disaster" was released to U.S. radio. The song saw her continue in a similar style to her previous hits, "Too Little Too Late" and "Leave (Get Out)," 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" became available for purchase as a digital download on iTunes on September 6, 2011. and 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. 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" online on July 17, 2012. It was supposed to be officially released as a single the following month, however, its release was eventually scrapped for reasons unknown despite a music video already filmed. Produced by Canadian hip-hop producer Noah "40" Shebib, known for his frequent collaborations with Drake (he also produced "Marvin's Room"), the song marks a mature, sexy and sultry exploration of sexuality in a relationship and was well received by critics.
After Blackground Records lost their distribution deal through Interscope Records in late 2012, resulting once again in the delay of the release of the album, JoJo began recording new material specifically for a brand 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. JoJo told music blog Idolator, "On this mixtape, my friends, The Backpack Kids, who I did this with, gave me a safe place to be myself. There was no expectations. We just went in and did it because we love music. And we just love everything about it, so that’s why I call it a labor of love." The project was released for free through digital download on her 22nd birthday on December 20, 2012 and received wide acclaimed, with Nate Jones, writing for Popdust, praising JoJo for "scrapping her label-approved sound" and venturing out on her own "to make the kind of music she always dreamed of making."
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. The court date is set for September 18, 2013. On September 6, 2013, Blackground responded to JoJo's lawsuit, stating that they would like the case to be dismissed in its entirety, as it fails to comply with New York law and that due to the improper formatting, the Complaint is too difficult to read or comprehend. They claim that "By accepting payments and other consideration, she reaffirmed her agreement and willingness to be bound by the Recording Agreement", adding that "after she obtained the age of majority, while represented by legal counsel, she discontinued her 2009 action and agreed to continue to record for Blackground". In conclusion, they stated that they are "ready, willing , and able to fulfill all of its obligations under it's agreement with Plaintiff". On September 16, 2013, JoJo’s legal team replied to Blackground’s opposition, stating that there was "no implied agreement between the parties that requires JoJo to remain bound to Blackground Records for an indefinite period of time". They added that "JoJo was not aware that her recording contract expired in March 2011, and if Blackground Records did know they intentionally deceived her and prevented another label from signing her in 2012, even though she asked to be released from the Recording Contract". Additionally, in reply to Blackground’s statement that “the efforts we’ve invested into this recording artist will be lost”, her legal team state that "the company had six years to release a third album and failed to do so. Thus, Blackground Records should not be allowed to continue to control JoJo’s career, and she must be released immediately to begin the process of regaining control over her career".
Products and endorsements
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 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 in the hit television series Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, but she turned down the role because she was not really 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 Golden Globe winner Valerie Bertinelli and Shenae Grimes, which was broadcast on Lifetime television. The film was released on August 9, 2008 on Lifetime Television and 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 is 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. The film co-stars Paul Iacono ("The Hard Times of RJ Berger") as Brent and Michael J. Willett ("United States of Tara") as Tanner. The trio of snarky, popular girls is played by Andrea Bowen ("Desperate Housewives"), Xosha Roquemore, and Sasha Pieterse ("Pretty Little Liars"). 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.
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. A Washington Post article in November 2006 reported that the couple 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.
|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 15 – Kai e'e|
|The Dance Scene||Herself||Cameo|
|2013||G.B.F.||Soledad Braunstein||Main role - post production film|
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|
|2006||Teen Choice Award||Female Choice Breakout with Aquamarine||Nominated|
|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|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to JoJo (singer).|
- Official website
- JoJo's channel on YouTube
- JoJo (singer) on Twitter
- JoJo at AllMusic
- JoJo at the Internet Movie Database