Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque (born
December 20, 1990), professionally known as JoJo, is an American R&B
singer–songwriter, and actress. After competing on the television show,
America's Most Talented Kids, record producer Vincent Herbert took notice
who asked her to audition for Blackground Records.
She rose to fame after releasing her self-titled debut album, which
debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 95,000 copies, selling
over 3 million copies worldwide. The first single off of the album, "Leave
(Get Out)", was released in February 2004. It climbed to #12 on the
Billboard Hot 100, and was certified gold by the RIAA. The single also
rose 5 weeks to #1 on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream, making her the
youngest solo artist to have a number-one single in the United States.
She also has a film career. She made her first television appearance by
The Bernie Mac Show. In 2006 She starred in two Hollywood films,
Aquamarine, her first film debut and RV. JoJo's second album, The High
Road, was released on October 17, 2006, and debuted at number three on the
U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 108,000 copies, selling over 2
million copies worldwide. The first single of the album, "Too Little Too
Late", was released in August 2006 and reached number three on Billboard
Hot 100. The single was certified with platinum by the RIAA.
She has hosted the Ultimate Prom and appeared in the movie True
Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet which earned her a nomination at the
Poptastic Awards . Her third studio album, All I Want Is Everything is yet
to be released in early 2010.
JoJo was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, and raised in Keene, New Hampshire
and Foxborough, Massachusetts. She has English, Irish, Polish, French,
Scottish, and Native American ancestry. She grew up in a one-bedroom
apartment in Foxborough, in a low-income family. Her father sings as a
hobby, her mother sang in a Catholic church choir and was trained in
musical theater. Her parents divorced when she was three.
During her early years, JoJo listened as her mother practiced hymns. She
started singing when she was two years and three months old by imitating,
everything from nursery rhymes 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.
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. After auditioning in the television
show Destination Stardom, JoJo sang Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit "Respect" &
Chain of Fools. 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. Reminiscing, she has
stated that "when it came to performing, I just had no fear".
JoJo's stage name comes from a childhood nickname. At 6 years old, 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 have not win the show and lost to Diana DeGarmo.
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's 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/Da Family and
begin working with some producers on her first debut album. JoJo's
platinum-certified debut single "Leave (Get Out)" was released in 2004.
Before the album's release, JoJo embarked on her first ever tour, the
Cingular Buddy Bash with Fefe Dobson, Young Gunz and Zebrahead. The tour
went to nine malls, starting at Atlanta's Northlake Mall and ending at
South Shore Plaza. When the single reached number one on the Top 40
Mainstream, she became at age thirteen the youngest solo artist to have a
number-one single in America. The first single was nominated for Best New
Artist at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, which made JoJo become the
youngest MTV Video Music Award nominee. Her first album, the
platinum-selling JoJo, followed, it peaked at number four on the U.S.
Billboard 200 and number ten on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, selling about
107,000 copies and reaching the top forty of the UK Albums Chart. JoJo
co-wrote two of the album's songs, as well as wrote and co-produced one
full track. In December 2004 she was nominated for Female New Artist Of
The Year and Mainstream Top 40 Single Of The Year at the Billboard Music
Awards. She is also the youngest artist to be nominated at the Billboard
Her second single, the gold-selling "Baby It's You" — which features
rapper Bow Wow — peaked at number twenty-two in the U.S. and number eight
in the UK. The final single from the self-titled album, "Not That Kinda
Girl," was released in 2005 and peaked at number eighty-five in Germany.
In mid-2005 rapper Eminem mentioned JoJo in his song "Ass Like That" along
with many other popular teen female celebrities at the time.
In 2004, JoJo participated in "Come Together Now", a charity single to
benefit the victims of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the 2005 Hurricane
Katrina. 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. 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." JoJo hosted and performed at the Hope Rocks concert in 2005 to
benefit City of Hope Cancer Center and co-hosted the 2006 TV Guide
Channel's countdown to the Grammy Awards.
JoJo's second album, The High Road, was released October 17, 2006. The
album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. It was produced by
Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz, J. R. Rotem, Corey Williams, Soulshock & Karlin
and Ryan Leslie. It has received mainly positive reviews. JoJo says her
next album really shows how she's grown up to her music and she feels more
confident in her vocals and in the things that she sings about.
In the summer of 2006, the lead single from her second album, "Too Little
Too Late", was released to radio stations. "Too Little Too Late" broke the
record for the biggest jump into the top three on the Billboard Hot 100
chart, moving from number sixty-six to number three in one week; this
record was previously held by Mariah Carey with her 2001 single
"Loverboy", which went from number sixty to number two. The album's second
official single, "How to Touch a Girl", experienced less success. It
charted just outside the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number
seventy-six on the Billboard Pop 100. The single is one of her favorite
songs from The High Road and was written by herself. On March 16 2007, The
Second JammX Kids All Star Dance Special broadcast a new song by JoJo
entitled "Anything", which samples Toto's 1982 hit single, "Africa" but it
didn't have a music video. The album has sold over 550,000 and since been
certified gold by the RIAA.
On July 20, 2007, JoJo's answer to "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston
leaked on the Internet called "Beautiful Girls Reply". It debuted at
number thirty-nine on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 chart one month later.
JoJo left a message that she wanted her fans' input in deciding between
"Coming for You" or "Let It Rain" as the next single, but it was canceled
to release a third single for The High Road. She has also stated that she
will be touring in the summer of 2007 in the U.S. and Europe in support of
The High Road.
Though there has not been an official tour, she has been performing with a
live band as part of the Six Flags Starburst Thursday Night Concert series
during the summer of 2007. During some of these shows she has included
medleys of her favorite popular songs from Beyoncé ("Déjà Vu"), Kelly
Clarkson ("Since U Been Gone"), SWV, Gnarls Barkley, Jackson 5, Justin
Timberlake ("My Love"), Maroon 5, Usher, Carlos Santana, Jill Scott,
Michael Jackson, George Benson, Musiq Soulchild, and Amy Winehouse
("Rehab", replacing the title with "Boston"). In November 2007, JoJo she
toured in Brasil at the Live Pop Rock Brasil.
On December 1, 2007, JoJo won the Boston Music Award for National Female
Vocalist of the Year for "Too Little Too Late" and has performed.
In late 2007 JoJo stated that she had been writing songs for her third
album, to be released when she turned eighteen. She wants her fans to see
growth in her music. She is seeking a publisher so that she can sing some
of her self-written songs.
In an April 8, 2008 interview at the Hearst Tower for the "Ultimate Prom"
party, JoJo stated that she is writing and producing an album in Boston
and Atlanta. She has lined up producers Tank, DJ Toomp, J. Moss, Toby Gad,
The Underdogs, Danja, J.R. Rotem, Billy Steinberg, Bryan-Michael Cox,
Marsha Ambrosius, Madd Scientist, Tony Dixon, Eric Dawkins and J. Gatsby.
Out of three quarters of the finished material, she wrote all but one
song. She said it will be her most personal album to date with inspiration
coming from a romantic breakup to finding a new relationship, as well as
feeling sexier and more confident becoming a woman. The self-written title
track is described as an inspirational anthem. On August 30, 2008, JoJo
posted her own answer version of the song "Can't Believe It", which
originally performed by T-Pain. On September 1, JoJo said that her album
would be out early 2009. In 2008, R&B singer Ne-Yo sampled JoJo's second
single "Baby It's You".
On October 14, 2008, JoJo sang the National Anthem before Game 4 of the
ALCS at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. On December 9, 2008, JoJo
was nominated again at the Boston Music Awards and was nominated for
Outstanding Pop/R&B Act Of The Year but the singing group Jada has won
In January 2009 JoJo stated on her official MySpace that she has working
with producers Chad Hugo, Jim Beanz & Kenna and she currently is working
very hard for her new album. She stated she had problems with her record
label and she has changed her label from Blackground to Interscope
In April 2009, JoJo stated in her MySpace blog that she is still signed to
Blackground. Singer-songwriter Jovan Dais said in an interview he will
work with DJ Toomp on JoJo's forthcoming album. He said: I’m really
selective about who I work with because I’m not interested in it like that
as far as working with so many different people. I really like JoJo. I
like her music, I like her voice and I believe she’s a true talent. We
came up with some great material. In April 2009, JoJo announced on her
MySpace blog that she will be attending Northeastern University, and will
continue to focus on her music career. She is currently waiting for her
record label Blackground Records to finalize a new deal so she can release
her new album.
JoJo's song "Note to God" from her second album The High Road was recently
covered by Filipina pop singer Charice.
In June 3, 2009 JoJo stated on her official YouTube account that she was
waiting for her record label to sign a distribution deal to release her
album, but apart from that she has finished work the forthcoming album. On
June 10, 2009 samples of her songs written by Toby Gad "Fearless", "Touch
Down" and "Underneath" leaked on the net. JoJo posted on her official
MySpace: "These songs are not on the album nor do they represent the sound
or direction of this record". In mid July she said on her myspace that
she's writing songs for other recording artists and herself and vibing
with some talented producers in Los Angeles.
In October 2009, finally a deal was reached with Blackground Records to
have JoJo's third album distributed by Interscope Records. JoJo had
confirmed that on Twitter. She left Da Family Entertainment after six
years and is now at Interscope. Her label is currently getting all the
legal things together for her third album to be released in 2010.
In late 2009, JoJo appeared in Timbaland's Shock Value II in a song called
"Lose Control" and it's her first official song on an album after two
years. In an interview in November she said that she's so excited to be on
his record. She appeared in another song called "Timothy Where You Been"
with the Australian band Jet as a background vocalist. In an Interview
with Rap-Up, JoJo said about the album: "I wanted to do something that
people would be like, ‘Wow, this girl has come a long way and she’s really
taking the reins, I wanted people to get a sense of who I am" and that
Timbaland, Jim Beanz, The Messengers, Kenna, Chad Hugo & Pharell Williams
work on her new record and in 2010 she's ready to come back and put the
finishing touches on the album in January.
JoJo has acted since age four. She did local theater, radio, and TV
commercials in the New England area, and national TV shows from age seven.
JoJo made her professional stage debut at eight in Shakespeare's A
Midsummer Night's Dream as Mustardseed at the Huntington Theater. She
received her first union card from the American Federation of Television &
Radio Artists (AFTRA) at ten.
After appearing on the television series The Bernie Mac Show and American
Dreams, JoJo was cast opposite Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton in Aquamarine,
playing Hailey. The film opened on March 3, 2006, opening at number five
with $7.5 million.
Her second major film, RV, a comedy starring Robin Williams, was released
on April 28, 2006. It opened at number one and grossed $69.7 million. JoJo
had to audition for the part five times, and eventually replaced an
actress who had already been cast in the role.
JoJo stated that "no one hired an acting coach for me on the set of
Aquamarine." She announced that she will be billed as "Joanna 'JoJo'
Levesque" in her film roles, but that she will still be credited as simply
"JoJo" for her music work.
In 2005 she was offered a role as Zoe Stewart in the hit television series
Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, but she turned down the role because
she was not really interested doing a television show. She was more
concerned with being a legitimate artist, and a film career was not really
what she saw for herself.
On August 28, 2007, in an interview with BOP and Tiger Beat online, JoJo
stated that she was working on a new film. On September 10, JoJo revealed
that she would be traveling to Toronto to film a small screen adaptation
of Lola Douglas' True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet and play the role
of Morgan Carter with Golden Globe winner Valerie Bertinelli and
90210-star Shenae Grimes, to be broadcast on Lifetime television. The film
was released in August 9, 2008 on Lifetime Television and on DVD on March
According to rumors JoJo was offered the role of Jeanette Miller in the
sequel to the film Alvin and the Chipmunks with Drew Barrymore and Miley
Cyrus, but these rumors were refuted in 2009. Actress Christina Applegate
got the role instead.
JoJo and her mother reside in New Jersey, and her recording studio is in
Manhattan, New York City. She was home schooled for three years, has
stated that "school was definitely a big part of my life". She performs
well academically, receiving marks in the As and Bs.
JoJo dated American soccer player Freddy Adu from May 2005 until September
2006. Both met on the MTV show Fake ID Club while she was hosting it. JoJo
made an appearance in the commentary box at a New England Revolution home
game when they were playing D.C. United. Freddy Adu registered an assist
in that game. A Washington Post article in November 2006 reported that the
couple split after one year. JoJo mentioned on American Top 40 with Ryan
Seacrest that she and Adu were still good friends.
JoJo stated that she was single on the October 18, 2006 episode of Live
with Regis and Kelly. She was also in the October 2006 issue of Teen
People magazine confirming her breakup with Freddy Adu. She said: "I'm
single right now and it's good. I'm so young. I'm going to be 16 in
December and I'm just so busy. It's hard if you also want to date someone
who has a high-profile profession; we were just both consumed with our own
Since 2006 she's a good friend with actress Emma Roberts, Sara Paxton and
Robin Williams' daughter Zelda Williams. She appeared with her father on
the Behind the scene of JoJo's "Too Little Too Late".
On February 28, 2007, she was ranked at number ten in the list of Forbes
top twenty earners under 25 with an annual earning of $1 million.
JoJo announced on her MySpace blog that she will be attending Northeastern
University, but she will not hold her career and decided to continue to
focus on her music career. In August 2009, she confirmed that she is
finished with her High School and will focus very hard on her future
In July 2009, JoJo was ranked at number five in the list "Barely Legal:
The 10 Hottest ’90s Babies" by Complex.com, after Emma Roberts and Willa