Saturday, January 25, 2014

HEADLINES: JOJO Breaks Free From Contract Hell

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JoJo's Twitter Profile Picture, @JoJoIsTheWay

This news was a long time coming and I'm hoping you've already heard by now -- the fabulous JoJo is free to make that official third album she's always dreamed of making. Yes, fam -- the #FreeJoJo Movement has been a success and it's looking right now like Joanna Levesque will get that happy ending we all crossed our fingers for.

It has been confirmed that after years of being held in artistic limbo by Blackground/Da Family Records (best known for its work with the late and great Aaliyah as well as Timbaland), JoJo has effectively won her legal battle with the label which began back in 2009. She has been released from Blackground for good and has signed a new label deal with Atlantic Records (the happy home of a unique plethora of artistic clientele, including Bruno Mars, Zac Brown Band, Ed Sheeran, Cody Simpson and my beloved Straight No Chaser, amongst many others).

While fighting the good fight was surely exhausting, it also unexpectedly heightened JoJo's profile. Her last official album, The High Road (aptly titled), was released back in 2006 and the last single spawned from it, the underappreciated "Anything" released in 2007 (which has a prominent Toto's "Africa" sample), didn't even chart on the Hot 100. This is in stark contrast to the album's lead single -- "Too Little, Too Late" -- which hit #3 on the charts and became a bonafide hit. She made a brief blip of an appearance chartwise with 2011's "Disaster", despite the fact that the song did not reflect the sound she was dreaming of producing for her mysterious third album (who's title went from All I Want Is Everything to Jumping Trains -- two titles that still have significance to this day, no?).

Despite being mired down in legal woes, she still managed to jump on tour with Big Time Rush, Jay Sean and Joe Jonas (as well as launch her own headlined tour), collaborated with one of my many husbands Travis Garland (twice), as well as release two truly stellar mixtapes in Can't Take That Away From Me and Agape. It takes sincere talent to offer up an indie mixtape release that is honestly better than most major label album outputs (people, you know who you are) and the industry took notice. #FreeJoJo became a united chant -- Joanna Levesque had grown into a viable artist overflowing with not just vocal potential but songwriting potential, too.

With the announcement of her signing with Atlantic Records, perhaps we can all breathe a little easier now (JoJo included) that this phenomenal third record will actually be available soon -- and the rest of the industry better take cover. Below, take a listen to "All I Want Is Everything", part of her first mixtape and the initial title of her third album. Ambitious, strong females for the win.

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