MAY 01, 2020
WRITTEN BY ZACK TREMBLAY | PHOTOGRAPHED BY DENNIS LEUPOLD
JOJO DROPS HER BRAND NEW ALBUM, 'good to know'
At the top of the pandemic, JoJo and Zack Tremblay team up for an intimate conversation about the power of music. In this interview, JoJo also opens up about her journey, recording her new album and what to expect from her upcoming tour!
M U S I C
I think now more than ever, we as humans need an escape. For me, and I think a lot of you reading along at home, that escape is music. With music having such a powerful impact on our world, today marks a very special day for JoJo. Today, JoJo dropped her latest album, good to know. This time around, JoJo is carrying some new found confidence within herself surrounding this release. JoJo admits, “I think that there’s different cycles that we go through as human beings, where we feel like we’re coming to a different place and this is one of those moments for me, where I’m in a place of accepting who I am and having fun with it.” While it has been nearly four years since JoJo dropped her last album, Mad Love, she is went through a period of self-discovery leading up to the release of this album. “There was a lot of time that I put in to personal relationships that I learned a lot from. Like, there were two really meaningful relationships that I had in between ‘Mad Love’ and ‘good to know’ and that inspired a lot of this album.” JoJo is putting full focus on herself, and that comes with a lot of love and acceptance. JoJo continues, “That’s just been through a lot of really honest conversations with people I trust, therapy, journaling. I’m grateful that I have the luxury of having those resources.”
This has been a challenging journey for JoJo as she admits, “My career hasn’t formed the way I felt about me, myself personally. There’s been so much that has been out of my control or perceived to be out of my control within the way I felt about it. Stemming back to lawsuits or different things going on, label politics, executives moving, jumping ship and me kind of getting lost in that sauce. I felt really out of control and I think I tried to control my romantic relationships and it ended up just being something that I wasn’t proud of.” While the events that JoJo faced throughout her career were not easy, she had to take a step back and gain some self-love, which eventually led her to this moment. A moment of finally connecting with herself and understanding who she is as both a woman and an artist. “It’s been hard for me to separate myself from my music and I know that we are more than what we make or more than what we produce. I’ve always got my sense of self from what I’m creating and what I’m doing. This just feels like something I’m proud of, it’s something that I really did. I’m excited for people to hear it.”
This time around, JoJo is in a joint venture with Warner Music, which allows her to be involved every step of the way. JoJo reveals, “I think that I’ve stepped in to a position where I’m willing to have the uncomfortable conversation of like, “hey, this is important to me, I’m going to fight for this. Tell me what’s important to you, label, and let’s figure it out.”. Coming to an understanding is what a partnership is all about, according to JoJo. “It’s about listening, it’s about compromise. But then, it’s about saying, “this is who I am, I have to have this level of musicality, I cannot sing things that I don’t agree with the message on.”. That’s just something that I’ve done, that I will never do again.” JoJo has finally found that partnership in Warner Music - “we’re building something for the long-term and it’s not just like it’s do or die. I felt supported to make an album that reflects where I was at that moment and where I’m going.” When approaching this new chapter in her career, JoJo admits that a sense of empowerment was the most important aspect of her choices moving forward. “I didn’t want to feel backed in to a corner. I didn’t want to be made to feel like we just want these type of songs. It was important that this album felt more conceptual and like a snapshot of personal growth and that it reflected not just what was going on in music and what was going on, on the charts, because that is usually what is most important to a label. I wanted it to make sense to me.” At the end of the day it’s all an evolution and JoJo has grown in to such a strong beautiful woman. She is a fighter, which is why so many people connect with her and the music she releases.
When it came to the creative process for ‘good to know’, JoJo admits that she had the best time making this album. “In LA, I was working with Lido and 30 Roc. 30 just came off of just a crazy amazing run with Roddy Ricch on “The Box”. Lido makes some of the dopest musical fusions that I’ve heard in a while and I love what he does. We worked out of Shangri-La, which is Rick Rubin’s studio in Malibu. We just really got to camp out and talk about what stories we were telling and what feelings we wanted to bring forth.” But as an east coast girl, JoJo naturally had to work on part of her album in Toronto. Even though Toronto is a little bit more North of JoJo’s Boston roots, she loved being on this side of the coast, where she worked with Doc McKinney. JoJo shares, “to just touch down and rent a little room at an Airbnb, be there every day and hone in was really cool. I just got comfortable with these people and we kept fine tuning things over the span of a few months.”
One of JoJo’s favorite aspects of releasing new music is hitting the road and performing that new music live for her fans. “I love to see what songs resonate most with fans and in what city. How it differs and how we’re all the same because music is the great equalizer and it brings us all together. It’s such a beautiful thing to see and to be part of. This is going to be a tour like no other, especially with what’s going on in the world. It’s going to be so interesting to see.” If you have the chance to see JoJo live, that is an opportunity you do not want to miss out on. JoJo admits, “I want to leave everything on the stage because I really miss connecting in that way. I’m so eager to bring these songs to life, to tell my stories and do what I love. I know I’m not the only artist that feels that way. It’s going to be so interesting. It’s going to be something that none of us have ever experienced before.” This time around, JoJo has a lot to work with in a live setting. She is looking forward to performing “So Bad”, “Small Things and “Don’t Talk Me Down”, as they each offer something special in their own way.
JoJo’s brand new album ‘good to know’ is now available across all streaming services, featuring “Man”, “Lonely Hearts” + more.