Most have not heard a note from pop music phenom Joanna Levesque, better known as JoJo, since her 2006 album, The High Road. However, that’s not necessarily her fault, nor does it mean she hasn’t continued to sing her absolutely gorgeous face off.
Despite holdups in her career that came from faulty dealings with former record labels and distribution companies, the 25-year-old performer has consistently released some of the best underground tunes — two mixtapes, two EPs, and a myriad of single releases that were meant to appear on a previously cancelled follow-up, Jumping Trains — that the majority of the music-loving world have never heard (they are available, though, and I suggest you head on over to Google to start searching).
In 2015, JoJo debuted the EP III, meant to be said as Tringle, the first preview of her work with her latest major backing, Atlantic Records. All three offerings from the mini-album — the club-ready “When Love Hurts,” “Save My Soul,” a moving ballad about a destructive relationship, and “Say Love,” an emotive ode about hearing everything but those three words from the one you’re with — managed to reintroduce to the world-at-large one of the most talented vocalists of the past 12 years (her debut album, JoJo, was released way back in 2004), while also proving that the heartbroken tween from the “Leave (Get Out)” video had become a full-blown, full-grown artist while they weren’t paying attention.
She has now solidified that power play with the bold “F**k Apologies,” the first offering from her upcoming and long-awaited third album, Mad Love. Released on Wednesday, with the visual following 24 hours later, the explicit Wiz Khalifa-assisted track is filled with lyrics that work as a duality of a kiss-off message to a lover, and to the industry that attempted to keep her away from the microphone for nearly a decade.
“And honestly, I was just about to pick up the phone
And then I realized that I didn’t do nothing wrong
You would even tell two lies to prove that you were right
Usually I’d go on and take the blame but not this time, not this time…”
Even if the double-meaning was unintentional, she has the right to be a bit miffed about her past. During a sit down with Vice last year, JoJo explained that she was always a team player for Blackground, her former stomping grounds that once also housed the music of the late Aaliyah — they just never realized it.
“I would have gladly put out seven albums with them if they would have released them,” JoJo said. “I never wanted to fight. I’m not into label drama. It was something where they didn’t have distribution and we lost communication, and it was just so disappointing and disheartening. It was very sad. So I was just in limbo. I’m the type of person who wants to make things work.”
And work, she definitely has. Even before anyone knew of the existence of Mad Love (the singer only clarified the title of the album this week), JoJo has continuously been promoting herself and her music. She’s about to begin her third tour in three years, this time as an opening act for girl group Fifth Harmony, and is gearing up for the release of Mad Love, which is said to be dropping on October 14. She has also continued her impressive acting career, last showing off those particular talents in the 2013 LGBT-themed comedy G.B.F. (“gay best friend”).
But, of course, music is what JoJo has always had mad love for, even when it seemed that it didn’t feel the same way about her.
“I’ve been doing this — putting out music — for half my life,” she told the Huffington Post recently. “I’ve been recording albums since I was 12, so it’s wild. But I don’t know any other way [to be].”
[Photo by Mark Windle/Getty Images]