It’s Good to Know
In this time of uncertainty, sadness, uneasiness, and confusion, the masses have turned to one overwhelmingly popular and powerful method of coping: art. Reliance on artists, their passions, and their products has been heavier than ever – and with technology enabling instant access to both viewing and sharing art, the outpouring of creations has been mesmerizing. We have been watching musical friends pick up new instruments, family members try their paintbrushes on expansive canvases, and celebrities share their talents in new ways to elevate awareness. One of those who have made dedicated efforts to spread some positivity is Joanna Noëlle Levesque, better known as JoJo. You may remember her singing “Chill (Stay In)” – a new version of her hit song “Leave (Get Out)” – to encourage people to stay indoors in order to ride out the coronavirus crisis.
JoJo’s career has been anything but straightforward. Coming from quite a humble background, at a very young age, JoJo sought out performance opportunities whenever and wherever possible. One of these opportunities, the television competition show America’s Most Talented Kids (originally titled America’s Most Talented Kid), jump-started it all. A man in the audience, who was impressed with her performance, connected her with her first record label. While this label may have been responsible for her initial steps into stardom, they later became the reason why she couldn’t release music anymore. After years of devastation, lawyers looking for loopholes, and fans wondering where their favorite pop star went, JoJo finally reemerged. She had to put her career on pause for 10 years – legally forbidden from releasing new albums from 2006 to 2016 due to clauses in her first record contract that she signed as a child.
As one could imagine, the past few years of her musical freedom have been pivotal and emotional ones in her career, but JoJo – just like everyone else – has had her plans rocked by COVID-19. Her new album, good to know, has been experienced by her fans, friends, and family alike in a different kind of world now – and JoJo is okay with that. “When it comes to this album, I was coming from a place of wanting to find escapism from myself and distract myself from the inward journey I knew I needed to take eventually,” she says. “It’s interesting that we have been forced in this time to slow down, or maybe go inward, or to connect in different ways.” Not only is JoJo embracing her album’s release coinciding with this trying time, but she’s also been using her newfound time at home in the best way possible. “It’s been a really productive time for me. I’m looking on the bright side of what I can take from this,” she shares. (The deluxe edition features collaborations with Demi Lovato and Tinashe, as well as five new tracks.)
She believes that the power of art can bring people together; as for the future, JoJo affirms: “I have faith in humanity. I think society will change, but I think that human beings still have so many wonderful things to share and to give to one another. I know that music is a great connector. I see it every time I step onto a stage – how everybody looks so different, but we’re all here together to bond over shared experiences and feel something. I know that music will always be so necessary to make people feel like, ‘Okay, I’m not the only one who feels this way.’”
Writer: Mia Fitzgibbon
Photographers: Dennis Leupold & Doug Krantz
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)