JoJo is keeping the new music coming.
Ahead of the release of the deluxe version of her ‘Good To Know’ album on August 28, the vocal powerhouse talked with That Grape Juice where she discussed the project, working with Demi Lovato and Tinashe, removing Tory Lanez from the project, the possibility of new music, and more.
Join us below for her word on these topics and so much more…
That Grape Juice (Ryan): What inspired you to release three incarnations of ‘Good To Know’ between the standard version, the acoustic version, and the deluxe version?
JoJo: Not going on tour this year made us think outside the box a little bit about how we can get this music out there in different ways and just continue to release music and give my fans what they deserve which is as much as I can put out. And it’s some of my favorite stuff, so yeah I think it’s just out thinking outside of the box. I think it was just trying to be creative since I figured we’d be on tour most of the year. So I’m like, I wish I could sing these songs live for people every night. That’s where the acoustic came from and then the deluxe; there were several songs that I really wanted to be on the album. And I think it’s cool that it’s like a living album. We continue to add to it and expand and it’s like it has its own life.
That Grape Juice: We know Demi Lovato is featured on the remix of ‘Lonely Hearts’ and Tinashe is also featured on the album, so what was it like to work with them?
JoJo: It was virtual. I wish that we could have kicked it and got to like be in the same room together, but that’s just how Covid treats us. But it was actually really fun and collaborative even though it was virtual. And just texting with them while we were in the studio and sending each other stuff back and forth and just getting really excited about what they added to the songs. So yeah, it was kind of like a new experience because I really do love to record in the same studio and be all together. That’s how me and PJ [Morton] did our duet in New Orleans. We really sang it together. But I think that because me and Demi and Tinashe were in communication the whole time it felt like we were together even though in physicality we weren’t.
That Grape Juice: Can you tell me a little bit more about your decision to remove Tory Lanez from the deluxe edition of the album?
JoJo: It just felt like the right thing for me to do. I believe Meg. She has absolutely no reason to lie about what she’s experienced. And while I’m not normally one to just jump to conclusions, I don’t think that’s what I’m doing here. I really feel strongly about supporting Megan and this is just a very small, easy thing that I could do to show, if there are sides to be taken, whose side I’m on.
I wanted to have Kehlani on ‘Comeback’ actually. I wanted to have her replace Tory’s verse. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but we talked about doing it and I think that would have been really dope since we both ended up feeling the same way about moving forward with new versions of this record.
That Grape Juice: Is there any other particular other artist you want to collaborate with in the future?
JoJo: I want to work with Chloe x Halle. I love them across the board as artists, producers, songwriters, vocal arrangers, musicians. I think they’re so exciting and dope and I’d love to do a, what would it be called? A duet, a trio, a tre-ete, a triad? I don’t know what it would be called, but it would be really cool to do that. Or just to write together and produce something. I think Chloe is the one who does a lot of the production. I’m not sure if Halle does that or if they both do. But I think that that would be really cool. It’s exciting to work with women on the production side and just in making the entirety of a song. I started to do that with Nova Wav who did ‘What U Need’ and ‘Love Reggae’ and they did a lot of Beyoncé’s new project. And just, women are amazing and really want to collaborate with more women so yes, Chloe and Halle are definitely on top.
That Grape Juice: You visited Mariah at her residency and sang some songs backstage. Would you be open to a Mariah collab in the future?
JoJo: Open in an understatement. That would be like the highlight of my life. I mean, I would love to. That would be an honor for sure. I hope one day it happens. I’m just going to keep manifesting amazing things because just even to see her comment on my Instagram pictures sometimes, it’s still mind-blowing. I still feel like a little girl. I’m still that little girl that looks up to her.
That Grape Juice: When can fans expect new music and can you explain the process you go through when making music?
JoJo: I haven’t fully dived into starting the new album yet, but that’s going to start by the end of this year. I don’t really have a hard time frame because I plan to make my best album yet so I don’t want to try to squeeze it or … I just want it to be super right; right and right. I want it to really just take its time and develop. And I think it’s about getting the right team together. I want to find my Missy and Timbaland. I want to find what Aaliyah had with them and what Justin had with Timbaland and Pharrell and Danja. And I want to take the time until it feels like we’re all really excited and like we’re doing something that’s innovative and pushing things forward. That’s where I’m at. I’ve been in the game for a long time and I’m really interested in challenging myself and leveling up and making this be my best thing yet.
That Grape Juice: What is it like having more creative control now on your own record label?
JoJo: I think the biggest difference is just my experience and tolerance for bullsh*t. I don’t have tolerance for doing things that don’t resonate with me or that don’t feel aligned. And I really like being in the position of having a bit more responsibility or more skin in the game and making decisions along with Warner because we are partners here. I love the idea of partnership. It just feels much more empowering than how I’ve ever felt before.
That Grape Juice: Would you be open one day to releasing a Mariah-esque album of old material and unreleased material to streaming services?
JoJo: I would love to. That’s always been something that I thought would be really fun to do and just open up the vaults. But for legal reasons I can’t because I don’t own a lot of the masters from before I got out of my first contract. So I just have to let that be and kind of got to take the hit and just keep moving. So I’ve gone back so much and I always perform my old music and I love giving people that nostalgic feeling because a lot of us grew up together. But I’m more interested in new stuff than in really going back; at least for now. I love what Mariah did with The Rarities. I think that’s so special for her fans particularly.
I won’t get that opportunity and it’s a legal thing and it’s about ownership and masters. But I feel that even that being said, I have so much music just in the past few years that maybe, as long as it doesn’t fall under that contract with Blackground, who knows? I guess I’ll never say I’ll never do something. I might.
That Grape Juice: What does the warm critical and commercial success of ‘Good To Know’ mean to you?
JoJo: It’s encouraging. It really just makes me want to get back into the studio and make something greater and just keep going. But it is encouraging for sure. Like it feels really great to have people dig what you have put out and grateful. I know that sounds corny, but I really am because the illest part about being an artist is being able to connect with so many different people and the fact that people can see themselves in this music or relate to it or want to have it be a part of this crazy year and take it along with them on their journey. I feel really honored.
That Grape Juice: Where is JoJo at now as person?
JoJo: I’m really just trying to live in the moment as much as I can and at the end of this decade. I’m 29 and I feel like the best is yet to come. I really do. Every year I get more comfortable in my own skin, more confident, more grateful and wiser and more open, realizing that as much as I have learned, I still don’t know anything so that openness to being a perpetual student. I’m having a lot of fun. I feel like I can see things more clearly. I think 2020 did that for a lot of us, giving us that 20/20 vision whether we were ready for it or not; busted a lot of things wide open in our collective experience and in our personal experience. So I’m kind of riding this wave and I’m trying to figure out what the next song is. What I’m going to sing about next, I guess. What am I going to write about next, what this next song will be about?
That Grape Juice: Would you look to continue in more in the R&B genre for the next album or continue into new sounds?
JoJo: I want to experiment with different sounds while staying rooted in my foundation which is R&B. But I definitely want to experiment with a lot of different things. Like I’m really inspired by ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’ [by Justin Timberlake] and how eclectic and cohesive it was. And there were so many different influences that you can hear on there and yet it is like a Pop-R&B record, I guess, if you want to put it in a genre. So I’ve just been thinking about that project a lot and then some of my other favorite albums and wanting to make my own favorite album. I think about Justin, I think about TLC, Aaliyah, Janet Jackson and I want to take all the things that make me love these projects and see how I can make my own version of that feeling that it gave me.
JoJo’s ‘Good To Know’ deluxe edition lands on all platforms on August 28.