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April 2006
RV: An Interview with Joanna “JoJo” Levesque

RV: An Interview with Joanna “JoJo” Levesque

by Wilson Morales

April 12, 2006


You mentioned that you want your next album to be a number one album. In today’s pop market, its mass, furious – the labels are ruthless. How hard is it to create an album that you think is going to do well and be good and still work within that system – want to turn out a single and stuff like that.

JOJO: What’s interesting is that there are so many different kinds of artists whose music that’s working today, like Country is really big today and so is Hip Hop so you have like two different kinds of ends of the spectrum, and I don’t fall into either of those categories so I feel like I have to work really hard especially because of my age and stuff, but I try not to let that you know be a barrier, or restrict me in any way, I really try to be the best artist that I can be and I’m really exited about this new album because I’ve been working on it for like six months and I really put a lot into it, so that’s all I can do, its like I worked on it, and now you’ve just got to put it out and just let what happens, happen.

Do they put pressure on you, or are they like six months is too long, we want to have another album out immediately while you’re hot?

JOJO: No, I’m kind of on the independent label, Blackground Records distributed by Universal so they’re really cool. We’re just being artistic and taking time and they know that I’m putting out this second album, I’m only 15 right now and it will come out when I’m turning 16 and then that I want to wait until I’m 18 and put out another one. They know that already so I like to take my time and just put everything into a record.

So how are you avoiding that?

JOJO: The president of the label is always like, “you know there’s a sophomore jinx and we wouldn’t want to not encounter that.”  I guess he just like I said you just need to put it out there and just let it be what it is because its all you can do and just promote it to the best of your ability and go out there and do shows and sell the record that you worked really hard for.

Do you have any big name collaborations on the album?

JOJO: Swizz Beats did a few tracks, Scott Storch, Sean Garrett, Diane Warren, Billy Steinberg who wrote Like a Virgin for Madonna and he’s worked with Whitney Houston, all kinds of people so people from different ends of the spectrum, pop and hip hop.

Does that come out of rehearsal? Does it come from the way Barry works with you, or does it come more in the editing that you saw?

JOJO: Barry is a great director. He’s very eccentric but he’s also very precise and he knows what he wants to do. He was very good with directing me especially since I was new so yeah, definitely through his guidance and through reading of the script and becoming comfortable with it and kind of figuring out how Casey would react in certain situations.

Can you talk a little bit about being a young performer in this business, and how is it in comparison to the other young women that are also coming up and how you handle that and also to your young fans, the pressure of being a role model and what that feels like.

JOJO: I think it’s like human nature compared to people. Everyone compares people whether it’s friends or just whatever, it’s very natural so I kind of expect it and people that have come before me and people that are at the same time and coming out as me, I know I’m going to get comparisons to them for various reasons and that’s okay as long as I just do the best that I can because like I said that’s all I can do and I coming to realize that. As far as being a role model, I think it’s great, I think it’s great when young girls write letters or just come up to me and ask for my autograph and say thank you for not weighing 80 pounds and thank you for doing real music that I can relate to, I really love it but I’m not going to let it worry me that I have to put out this wholesome image because I just want to be real, I just want to like live my life and be healthy and do what I like to do, I would never put myself in a position where it was inappropriate because I’m just not the kind of person anyway.

AS a follow up, when you folks like Britney Spears and Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson doing well, do you find yourself being pigeonholed maybe by the industry in general?  I mean are you really trying to break away from that or do you really kind of feel like an MTV kind of – where are you going –

JOJO: Well, with my first album I had number one videos on  MTV and stuff so I love MTV and they have been great to me but also with Disney and Nickelodeon so I get that teenage, that early 20 audience and I also get the young like teens, even younger than that so I think that that’s cool and that’s also attributed to my age because I fall right in between so I don’t know where I want to do, I just want to continue to grow up and you know become a young woman and just like, just let it fall, I mean, I don’t know where it’s going to take me. I want to take it all the way. I want that number one album and I want to tour, have my own tour and do that successfully and I want to maybe one day even oversee other people’s careers, young people’s careers, like maybe own a record company because I think that this business is fascinating, it has its ups and downs but it’s really very intriguing and interesting.


So with TRL and you won the video music award, it’s kind of funny because on MTV your video got played in its whole maybe fix or six times and then they showed clips and they had people talking over and just not as much videos on MTV anymore.

JOJO: Oh yeah, there’s so many T.V. shows.

Is it harder to sort of get across now because they are not actually playing as much music as more of you instead of the actual song?

JOJO: That’s interesting, yeah, it seems like more personalities are taking over instead of like music and now it’s about like the artist as a whole and not just like the music which is what we really work on but I think that that’s just changing times and that’s just like you know, obviously at MTV now you have Laguna Beach, and Athen Ocean  and all these television shows that have nothing to do with music but this is music television, that’s what MTV stands for. I don’t know, its weird but that is just how the times are changing.

What do you attribute your brightness to?

JOJO: I have no brothers or sisters so I guess I hung out with my uncles a lot and they have no idea but I also hang out with kids, that forced me to make friends because I had no brothers or sisters so that portion would be kind of an extra burden, it would be like hi, I’m Joanna, you want to go play with me in the playground because I have no friends, that’s really what it was.

What was the most exciting part of this movie for you?

JOJO: The most exiting part? Well, actually kind of offset I learned to play Poker. Cheryl taught me so I walked away from it being a card shark and that was really cool. We had tournaments actually, like Robin would have us over to his place or we’d rent like a hotel banquet room and everyone would just come over and play so that was fun.

Did you win?

JOJO: Once and I fought for it.

What about school? What do you do about school?

JOJO: I went to public school until I was in 7th grade and then I’ve been working with a tutor for the past like three years so I’m a straight A student and I like school and I take it seriously. I think I definitely want to take college courses eventually.

Do you think you’re missing out on the high school experience and the driving and all that good stuff?

JOJO: I still get to drive but I think I’m missing out on bullies and torment, you know, I think that’s all I’m not missing out on that because I have a tight knit group of friends and I really love them and most of them are not in the industry so I think I’m just missing out on the bad stuff.

What’s the best music concert you’ve been to?

JOJO: I’m friends with the guys from Good Charlotte and when I was in Australia shooting Aquamarine I got to see their show in Brisbon, Australia. That was so cool to see those international fans react to them so strongly, they sold it out and it was great.

You said you’re seeing Cherry Bomb, Bikini Hill, is that your speed?

JOJO: I was not familiar with the song but no, it’s not really my speed.

So you don’t see yourself going out to a punk direction ever?

JOJO: Like I said I like Good Charlotte and some Point One and Simple Plan and Green Day and stuff but me personally, I would say, no.

What are you doing next?

JOJO: I’m reading a lot of different scripts just waiting until something strikes me just – but I’m just definitely finishing up the second album and promoting RV.

Do you have a title for the album yet?

JOJO: Not yet.

RV opens on April 28, 2006

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