JoJo (album)

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JoJo album cover.jpg
Studio album by JoJo
Released June 22, 2004 (2004-06-22)
Recorded 2003–04;
Genre R&B, pop
Length 52:08
Label Da Family, Blackground
Producer Joanna Levesque, Bink!, Reggie Burrell, Ronald Burrell, Mike City, The Co-Stars, G.P., Vincent Herbert, Kwamé "K1 Mill", Brian Alexander Morgan, Balewa Muhammad, Dexter Simmons, Soulshock & Karlin, Tre Black, The Underdogs, Young Freak
JoJo chronology
The High Road
Singles from JoJo
  1. "Leave (Get Out)"
    Released: February 24, 2004
  2. "Baby It's You"
    Released: September 6, 2004
  3. "Not That Kinda Girl"
    Released: February 15, 2005

JoJo is the debut studio album by American recording artist JoJo. The album was released on June 22, 2004 through Da Family Entertainment, Blackground Records & Universal Music. Incorporating R&B and Pop, JoJo was influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Brown, Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé amongst other of JoJo's idols. A special edition of the album featuring 3 bonus tracks, was released simultaneously alongside the fourteen-track standard edition, which was only be made available in some European and Oceania countries. On the album, JoJo co-wrote three out of the seventeen tracks.

While recording the album, JoJo worked with many producers, such as Brian Alexander Morgan, Soulshock & Karlin, Vincent Herbert, Mike City, Balewa Muhammad, Tre Black, Bink!, Kwamé "K1 Mill". and The Underdogs as well as others, to handle production for the album. JoJo recorded a number of songs for the album over an eight-month period. Amongst those included is a cover of R&B girl group SWV's 1993 hit single "Weak", in addition to one collaboration with Bow Wow, who features on the single release version of "Baby It's You". Occasionally, the album dips into other genres such as hip hop and soul music.

The album was preceded by the release of JoJo's debut single, "Leave (Get Out)", which achieved critical and commercial success worldwide. In the United States, the single peaked inside the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and also topped the Pop 100 singles chart, making her the youngest artist in history to achieve this. In the United Kingdom, the single also performed well, reaching a peak of number two. Follow-up single "Baby It's You" featured rapper Bow Wow and became JoJo's second top 40 hit in the United States. In the United Kingdom, the song became her second Top 10 hit, peaking at number eight. The single also reached the top ten of New Zealand, climbing to a peak of number ten. The third and final single, "Not That Kinda Girl" was released internationally only. However, it did see a minor release onto US radio. Due to the lack of a physical copy, the single failed to chart in the United States, becoming her first to do so. The single did manage to chart in Australia and Germany, however, the chart performance of the song was an overall failure.

JoJo was promoted mainly through live, televised performances, appearing on shows such as On Air with Ryan Seacrest as well as performing at the 2004 Kid's Choice Awards. Aside from network appearances, JoJo also embarked on The Cingular Buddy Bash Tour with other artists, and as the opening act on the European leg of Usher's Truth Tour. The album debuted and peaked at number four on the US Billboard 200, selling 95,000 copies in its first week. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on November 15, 2004, denoting US sales in excess of one million copies. The album also proved to be a success elsewhere. In the United Kingdom and Germany, the album has been certified gold, while in Canada, the album received a platinum certification. To date, the album has sold 4,000,000 copies worldwide.


As a child, JoJo listened as her mother practiced hymns. She started singing when she was two years and three months old by imitating, 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.[1]

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.[2][3][4] After auditioning in the television show Destination Stardom, JoJo sang Aretha Franklin's hits "Respect" and "Chain of Fools".[5][6] 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.[7] Reminiscing, she has stated that "when it came to performing, I just had no fear".

At 6 years of age 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' 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.


Harvey Mason, Jr. co-wrote produced a few songs for the album including "Baby It's You" & "Breezy".

The music found on JoJo is primarily pop and R&B. During an interview about the album's composition, JoJo stated, "I wrote three songs on the album. I am not the [kind of] person who sings something that I have no reference point to. I feel like I am a real artist and I want to be able to feel what I am singing about. So when I sing, "Leave (Get Out)," I have been through that. I think it is just a new generation, whether people are ready for it or not. Teenagers are dating. They go through things and that is really what it is about."[8] Many have noted that the album is influenced mainly by R&B tracks. On her influences for the album, JoJo has listed many celebrities. During one interview, she stated, "I really was, I had no idea what it was. I was raised in a mostly white neighborhood. I was this little white girl jamming out to Ella Fitzgerald and Bobby Brown. I don't know what kind of stuff I was on!" During a separate interview, JoJo stated, "Well, I listened to everyone from Aretha Franklin to Bob Seager, to the Beatles, but I have to say that my mom is probably my biggest influence. She really has a great voice."[9] JoJo has also listed singer Beyoncé as a major influence, stating, "I think she is the perfect example of a strong woman and just a talented person. She's a songwriter, she's a dancer and she's an incredible singer and I don't think anyone can touch her right now."[10]

"My aunt was a big fan of SWV and loved that song. When I got into the studio Brian Morgan was there and Vince the executive producer of my album hadn't told me I was going to record the song. Brian was there who had did the song originally and wrote it for them and produced it. I really the way it turned out."

— JoJo, on recording her cover of "Weak"[10]

The first track on the album, "Breezy" is an up-tempo hip hop track that speaks of JoJo's relationship with a boy, and how he calls her "Breezy". The lyrics are more spoken than sung by JoJo, as the song has a different feel than the rest of the album. "Baby It's You" is the second track on the album, as well as the second single. The song is an up-tempo R&B song that speaks of JoJo not wanting the luxuries and perks of dating someone, and all she wants is them. "Not That Kinda Girl", the album's third single, also serves as the third song. The song sees JoJo comparing herself to other girls, and telling a boy that she's "not that kinda girl", and has true feelings for him. "The Happy Song" is the fourth song on the album. The up-tempo R&B influenced track sees JoJo speaking of how happy a boy makes her feel, and she thinks he might be the one. "Homeboy" is the fifth song on the album, and is more of a hip hop influenced track. The track speaks of how JoJo's feelings have changed for a boy she grew up with. The sixth song on the album is the urban "City Lights". It was inspired lyrically by JoJo's love of Beat Generation culture and named after San Francisco Beat landmark City Lights Bookstore. Lines such as "I feel like I'm on medication" and "I can see the stars/expensive cars on the boulevard" were inspired by the Jack Kerouac novel On the Road. "Leave (Get Out)" is the seventh track on the album, as well as the lead single. The single was met positively by critics, and was majorly successful on music charts worldwide, reaching the Top 10 in eleven different countries, including the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The eighth song on the album is "Use My Shoulder", an R&B ballad that lyrically speaks of JoJo trying to cheer up her boyfriend. "Never Say Goodbye" is a pop ballad, that lyrically speaks of JoJo being glad to have someone in her life, and how she "never wants to say goodbye" to him. "Weak" is the tenth track on the album, and is a cover of the song by SWV. "Keep On Keepin' On" is the eleventh song on the album, and is a mid-tempo R&B song that talks of never giving up when you are in dire straits. It is autobiographical and deals with the time JoJo and her mom were living humbly in a small apartment, being jealous of her rich friends, and asking God why. The twelfth track on the album is the Christian pop song "Sunshine" that speaks of how someone is like an angel to her and makes all her dreams come true. "Yes or No", the thirteenth song on the album, is more uptempo and hip hop than the rest of the album, and lyrically talks of JoJo questioning a guy to see if he is ready to handle a girl like her. The final track on the album is "Fairy Tales", a pop ballad that lyrically speaks of how JoJo feels she may not be able to love again after the pain her ex has caused her. The second verse interpolates the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.



The lead single from the album was "Leave (Get Out)". The single was released on February 24, 2004 as a physical copy and for radio airplay. The song became an instant hit for JoJo, reaching the top ten in 11 different countries. In the United States, the single reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 12.[11] Due to large amounts of airplay nationwide, the single topped the Pop 100 chart in the United States.[12] The single was even more successful internationally. In the United Kingdom, the single peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart.[13] It reached the same height on the European Hot 100 Singles, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.[14][15][16] In Ireland, the single performed very well, reaching number three.[17] In Belgium, on the Ultratop 50 singles chart, the single also had great success, leaping to a peak position of number four.[17] The single also peaked at number 4 on the Dutch Top 40 singles chart.[18] In Germany, the single reached the Top 10, peaking at number 9 on the official singles chart.[19] The music video, directed by Erik White, takes place in a high school. JoJo is seen with friends and dancing with cheerleading girls. The video was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, which made JoJo become the youngest MTV Video Music Award nominee.

"Baby It's You" was released as the album's second single on September 6, 2004. The album version of the song is performed by JoJo herself, however, the version released as a single features Bow Wow. Although it failed to match the success of her debut single, the song was successful in many countries. In the United States, the single became her second top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 22. The single's highest peak position was at number three on the New Zealand Singles Chart, becoming her second single to chart that high.[20] In the United Kingdom, the single also became her second top ten hit, reaching a peak of number eight.[21] The single also had similar chart success in countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, and Denmark.[22][23][24][25] "Not That Kinda Girl" was released as the album's third and final single on February 15, 2005. The single received a limited release, only receiving minimal airplay in the United States. Due to lack of a physical CD in many countries, the single was a commercial failure. It did, however, manage to chart at number 52 in Australia and number 85 in Germany.[26][27] The music video was directed by the team of Eric Williams and Randy Marshall, known as Fat Cats, and was shot in Los Angeles. It premiered on MTV's Total Request Live on March 24, 2005. It spent only four days on the countdown and did not climb higher than number eight.


JoJo promoted the album mainly through live performances. During 2004 and 2005 JoJo performed at many televised appearances as well as extensive touring with other artist. JoJo performed the lead single, "Leave (Get Out)" at the 2004 Kids Choice Awards to positive reviews from the audience and critics.[28] JoJo also performed several songs from the album, including "Leave", "Baby It's You" and "This Time" on Sessions@AOL, and a digital EP was released to promote the performances.[29] JoJo also performed the album's lead single during an episode of On Air with Ryan Seacrest. The performance featured JoJo performing with several back up dancers.[30] JoJo also appeared on Top of the Pops to perform the single, using the same dance routine with her back up dancers. JoJo also performed "Leave" at the Arthur Ashe Kids Day concert, to a generally positive reception from the crowd and critics.[31] JoJo also performed the single live for Yahoo! Music, which was posted on their official website.[32] The single was performed yet again on the French television show Hit Machine, where JoJo performed with back up dancers dressed similar to high school students.[33]

Before the album's release, JoJo embarked on her first ever tour, the Cingular Buddy Bash with pop rock singer Fefe Dobson, hip hop duo Young Gunz and alternative metal band Zebrahead. Like debut tours by Tiffany and Britney Spears before her, it stopped at nine malls, beginning at Atlanta's Northlake Mall and ending at South Shore Plaza. 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.[34] 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." In 2005 JoJo and an all-star lineup participated in the charity single "Come Together Now", to benefit victims of two recent disasters; the 2004 Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina a year later. Also in 2005 JoJo hosted and performed at the Hope Rocks concert benefiting City of Hope National Medical Center and co-hosted the 2006 TV Guide Channel's countdown to the Grammy Awards.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[35]
Blender 3/5 stars[36]
Entertainment Weekly B[37][38]
Slant Magazine 2/5 stars[39]
USA Today 2.5/4 stars[40]
Yahoo! Music UK 6/10 stars[41]

The album has received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Entertainment Weekly praised the album, stating, "Apparently, the army of urban producers (Soulshock & Karlin, the Underdogs, Mike City) on JoJo's JoJo know how to build a disc brimming with sizzling hooks too. The prototype this time? Xtina, with her over-the-top melismatic delivery. Too bad, since many of these otherwise engagingly gritty R&B tracks, especially the euphoric 'Happy Song,' out-sass recent material by grown-up divas like Monica, Tamia, and even Mary J. Blige. Though the 13-year-old's vocal calisthenics quickly grow tiresome, with a few more years under her belt JoJo may yet discover her inner soul singer."[37] Slant Magazine gave the album a mixed review, stating, "But while the girl's certainly got pipes, her eponymous debut is as contrived and calculated as the strategic tears in the t-shirt and cap she sports on the album's cover. Even the songs JoJo penned herself can't give the disc the personality it so desperately needs; "Keep On Keepin' On" is a "personal," inspirational tune, but it's high-end sneakers and a duplex that JoJo wants, a sad reminder of how success is measured by today's young people—as dictated by hip-hop trends and MTV's Cribs. Then again, it's not surprising coming from a girl who got her start on Bill Cosby's Kids Say the Darndest Things. It's not the catchy lead single "Leave (Get Out)," produced by Soulshock and Karlin, or even a cover of SWV's early-90s hit "Weak" that keeps JoJo afloat, but—despite lyrics like "I'm on a high/Feel like I'm on medication"—the old-school "City Lights" and the minimalist "The Happy Song," which let JoJo's vocals take center stage. As long as she surrounds herself with smarter people (and stops rhyming words like "breezy" with "heezy," as she does on the album's opening track), the young up-and-comer could very well be the next Teena Marie. But probably not."[39]

Yahoo! Music also gave the album a mixed review when they reviewed it, commenting, "JoJo is mercilessly multi-tracked a la J.Lo, her voice encoded flatteringly as she too-many-notes her way through a succession of R'n'B beats and hooks that owe everything to studio wizardry and little to simple songwriting. Inevitably, she's "Not That Kinda Girl" and boys "make me happy" but friends are where it's at. In short, she only has as much to say as the Spice Girls' "Wannabe", but does so across 14 largely forgettable tracks of scales and curlicues that make Mariah sound restrained. Discovered, like Charlotte Church, via a series of serendipitous TV appearances, JoJo's talent is less apparent. She's evidently superior to your typical schoolgirl belting out ringtones on the bus - and in Number Two hit "Leave (Get Out)" she has a signature song solid enough to base a career on - but beyond that she has no identity to speak of. Her album wouldn't disgrace the memory of deceased label mate Aaliyah but that's to the credit of Blackground Records rather than JoJo herself. Too young to have experienced life, too polished to have any soul to her sound, thus far she's a prodigy without purpose. Let the mood swings commence!" The interview was ended with the album being rewarded 6 out of 10 stars.[41]

Commercial performance[edit]

Upon release, JoJo debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and at number ten on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums, selling 95,000 copies in its first week.[42] The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on November 15, 2004 for sales exceeding one million.[43] After the success of the album on the charts, the singles began to sell more copies. By October 25, 2004, "Leave (Get Out)" had been certified gold for sales of 500,000 copies in the United States. Also, the album's second single, "Baby It's You", received a gold certification on May 19, 2005.

The album also performed well internationally. JoJo reached number twenty-three on the Canadian Albums Chart and was certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies.[44] In the United Kingdom, where the album's lead single had a large amount of success, it debuted and peaked at number twenty-three on the UK Albums Chart and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on November 5, 2004, denoting shipments in excess of 100,000 copies.[45] It debuted at number fifty-two in Germany, eventually receiving a gold certification by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI).[46] Despite the success of "Leave (Get Out)" in Australia, the album only managed to chart as high as number eighty-six on the ARIA Albums Chart.[47] Elsewhere, JoJo reached the top thirty in Japan and Portugal,[48][49] the top forty in New Zealand,[50] the top fifty in Italy,[51] and the top seventy in France and Ireland.[52][53]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Breezy"   Kwamé Holland, Balewa Muhammad, Sylvester Jordan, Jr., Thom Bell, Roland Chambers, Kenny Gamble Kwamé "K1 Mill" 3:15
2. "Baby, It's You"   Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas, Eric Dawkins, Antonio Dixon The Underdogs 3:11
3. "Not That Kinda Girl"   Neely Dinkins, B. Cola Pietro, Muhammad, Jordan The Co-Stars, Muhammad 3:27
4. "The Happy Song"   Mike City City 3:59
5. "Homeboy"   Roosevelt Harrell III, Muhammad, Jordan, Vincent Herbert, Ritchie Adams, Mark Barkan Bink! 3:35
6. "City Lights"   Reggie Burrell, Ronald Burrell, Herbert, Stephen Garrett Burrell, Burrell, Herbert 4:54
7. "Leave (Get Out)"   Soulshock, Kenneth Karlin, Alex Cantrell, Phillip "Silky" White Soulshock & Karlin 4:02
8. "Use My Shoulder"   Burrell, Burrell, Garrett, David Conley, Bernard Jackson, David Townsend Burrell, Burrell, Herbert 3:43
9. "Never Say Goodbye"   Mason, Thomas, Dawkins, Dixon The Underdogs 3:51
10. "Weak"   Brian Alexander Morgan Morgan 4:50
11. "Keep on Keepin' On"   Joanna Levesque G.P., Young Freak, Levesque 3:15
12. "Sunshine"   Herbert, Levesque, Tremain Saunders Herbert, Tre Black 3:07
13. "Yes or No"   Herbert, Levesque, Saunders, Burrell, Burrell Herbert, Tre Black 3:14
14. "Fairy Tales"   Herbert, Saunders, Nastacia Kendall Herbert, Tre Black 3:45
Total length:
Sample credits[54]
  • "Breezy" contains replayed elements from "Something for Nothing" by MFSB.
  • "Homeboy" contains elements from "Chasing Me into Somebody Else's Arms" by Scherrie Payne.
  • "Use My Shoulder" contains replayed elements from "Happy" by Surface.


Credits for JoJo adapted from liner notes.[54]



Region Certification
Canada Platinum[44]
Germany Gold[46]
United Kingdom Gold[45]
United States Platinum[43]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
United States[62] June 22, 2004 Da Family Entertainment, Blackground Records
Canada[63] June 29, 2004 Universal Music
Germany[64] July 19, 2004 Black Ocean Records
United Kingdom[65] September 6, 2004 Mercury Records
Australia[66] October 4, 2004 Universal Music
Japan[67] October 21, 2004


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