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I wouldn’t have fought this hard if I didn’t love this shit.”It was the end of a difficult decade for Jo Jo, now 25, whose career struggles were also complicated by a tense relationship with her momager, Diana.
"I’m an only child and my mom comes from a bit of a tough background, so we’ve always been really close," explains the Foxborough, MA, native.
But while eating spicy Ethiopian doro wat with our hands at a dimly lit restaurant in New York's Hell's Kitchen last month, we laughed at the fact that — back in 2004 — neither of us had any idea that one day we'd both be able to say we had actually "kicked a motherfucker out of the house." Yes, during a September interview over lunch ahead of her new album , out October 14, Jo Jo and I got to talking about fuckboys. Since the release of her chart-topping sophomore studio album 10 years ago, the singer has released a handful of popular EPs, mixtapes, and singles, including 2011's "Disaster" and a cover of Drake's "Marvin's Room" that quickly went viral.
But before we get to the juicy stuff, let's start with what's most important thing: Jo Jo is back, y'all. But a years-long legal battle with her original record label, Blackground Records, is the reason you haven't heard new Jo Jo music on the radio since about 2006.
Do you remember where you were in life when Jo Jo's "Leave (Get Out)" was playing almost inescapably on the radio? At 16, I was teenager with a penchant for lying on the basement floor while listening to lyrics that would later wind up as not-so-subliminal AOL Instant Messenger statuses.
It had been 10 since a 12-year-old Jo Jo had been signed."I cried deep sobs when I won the lawsuit, because I’d been told all those years that I should go do something else," Jo Jo, whose given name is Joanna Levesque, says.
"People would tell me ‘You’re a smart girl, why don’t you just go to college? This is what I’ve been doing since I was a little girl — I can’t just give up because of these jerks.
Despite losing their ability to distribute music, the label kept the singer frozen in her contract, forcing her to sue — not once, but twice.
It wasn't until 2014 that Jo Jo finally found lawyers who were able to find a loophole in her ironclad Blackground deal: A minor cannot be held in a contract for more than seven years.(One of Jo Jo's was actually partially responsible for our meeting spot for this interview.