Sometimes, you’ve got to go back to the beginning to get where you’re going next.
If you’re at all familiar with now 28-year-old singer-songbird JoJo (happy birthday by the way, sweet Jo), you’re likely also at least peripherally aware of her seemingly eternal legal battle with her former label Blackground Records, which raged on for almost a decade. A few years ago, she inked another major label deal and released her 2016 record, Mad Love. But even then, the bulk of her catalog – including the hit that started it all, “Leave (Get Out),” remained in contention and unavailable.
And so, she decided to take it upon herself and just…do it all over again.
At midnight on Friday (December 21), JoJo surprise-dropped an entirely re-recorded version of her self-titled 2004 debut album JoJo, 2006’s The High Road (including “Too Little Too Late”), her 2011 single “Disaster” and 2012’s “Demonstrate” – an astonishing power move, and a delightful near-Christmas surprise.
Legally, it all checks out – according to Jo anyway, who I would only assume went above and beyond to make sure it’s a done deal. Professionally, she and the creatives involved are getting their well deserved, long overdue coin. And personally, I can only imagine, it’s provided the ultimate feeling of liberation – and closure, at last.
After releasing the new (old) albums, she also left this note on her Instagram:
“Your response to my re-recording my first two albums has taken my breath away. I’ve tried to read through literally every single comment!!! You guys are making me sooooo emo with your support!!!! What the hellllllll, to see an album I first made at 12 and another at 15 at the top of the iTunes album charts is just CRAZY. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea (and my team checked allllll the legalities to see that it would be ok!!) but I was SO SICK of seeing my fans day in and day out ask me where my old shit was. Not being able to give them what they deserve made me so mad. I’ve felt out of control for so long, and I WAS FUCKING TIRED OF IT. I couldn’t stand for it. This is for my day 1s. This is for the amazing creatives who shaped these songs with me (and so they can finally collect the publishing that is so rightfully theirs!). And this is for me. For healing. Reclaiming my time and my history. I am currently making the best music of my life for this new album. And I wanted to make sure that I saged myself so I could enter 2019 with lightness and space to be TOTALLY FREE. Getting this project off my chest feels SO GOOD and it means the world to me seeing you living with it/ loving it/ sharing it/ supporting it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. NEW MUSIC 2019. Love, Jo.”
I can only imagine the creative nightmare of having the bulk of your output in limbo for an indefinite amount of time, and your voice frustratingly silenced for years – long after those records were released. This is a victory in so many ways, for both the public and the singer herself. Even more, it’s inspiring as hell.
Beyond the music – which, obviously, dig in immediately – let JoJo’s undying commitment to her craft and reclamation of her time and legacy be the same boss-ass energy and sense of self-worth you bring with you into 2019.
Congratulations, Jo. You deserve this.
JoJo’s re-recorded albums and singles were released on December 21. (iTunes)
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