VIBE Vixen: Did the collaboration with Noah come about through the YouTube cover of “Marvin’s Room?”
JoJo: It was in a way. It was a dream of mine to work with him. They’re a really incredible team, so I was excited at the fact that he took the time to work with me, and it was interesting. When we were in the studio together, when we first got in, we were laughing about how we’ve already done a record together, we just never really done it knowingly.
What was his feedback about your take on Drake’s song?
He was very positive about it. He liked how I put my own spin on it and we were talking about how it’s a new time in music. This is the era of everything going viral, spreading everything so quickly.
You’ve been in the music game for more than eight years. Do you feel like you have to compete against this new crop of artists who are getting famous off the web?
Absolutely. I think it would be silly to say that I wasn’t. Everybody is kinda on an equal playing field as far as I’m concerned, but at the same time, I don’t like to think about competing. I like to think about being my personal best, representing something that I can be proud of and just trying to one-up myself and keep my blinders on in that regard, because if I was really focused on outdoing everybody, that would be a really stifling existence.
It seemed like “Demonstrate” came out of nowhere because you dropped “Sexy To Me” and “Disaster” earlier this year, but they didn’t get as strong of a response as this single did.
To be honest with you, this is the first time in a long time where I felt like everything is just making sense for me. I’m doing the music that I want to do, and the fact that I’m getting such a positive response from it just reiterates that it’s OK for me to move in this new direction.
It’s been two years since you’ve released your mixtape Can’t Take That Away From Me. What changes have you gone through, whether it’s in the creative process or life experiences, that led to you becoming more vulnerable in your music?
I’ve been through a lot. The biggest change for me was after the response came in from “Marvin’s Room.” I was really, really apprehensive to put it out there because I thought people would think, Oh she’s so grown now, she’s using the ‘F’ word, who does she think she is? [Laughs] I didn’t know what they were going to say. So when they responded and there was a lot of positivity and people were digging it, it gave me the OK to be myself. I am that rough-around-the-edges chick who’s very outspoken. I think I’ve become more liberated from that. And yeah, I’ve definitely gone through things in my personal life where I can’t help but to write what I’m going through, so for the past three years, when I was working on the album, a lot of the material I was writing was very angry, very aggressive because that’s what I was going through in my personal life. I was in a terrible relationship and now that I’m on the other side of it, I’m writing about love, making love, feeling good, having a good time and that’s where I wanna keep the music at right now.
A lot of girls flock to your music. Were you nervous that the younger ones now would hear you cursing and think, ‘Hey, that’s not the JoJo I used to listen to?’
I still think that I can simultaneously be myself–a young woman, outspoken, sometimes controversial artist–and I think I can also be a role model. I don’t think I need to choose. I have to make the decisions that make me happy in my artistry, but I know that the young lady that I am is someone I can look at in the mirror. I have little cousins that I have to see when I go back home to Boston and my family is all up in my face all the time. My mom was like, ‘Goodness gracious, Jo, that was very raunchy!’ I know that when I go back to Boston, I still have my family to answer to, [and] I never wanna compromise myself in a way that I can’t feel good about what I’m doing.