What’s the first thing you do after being freed from a seven-year legal battle with your record company? If you’re smart like singer JoJo, you hook up with man-of-the-moment, Pharrell Williams, to create some killer music.
After she hit the big time in her early teens with hits like “Leave (Get Out)” and “Too Little Too Late,” JoJo was left in musical limbo for years due to issues with her label. But after signing with Atlantic Records in December 2013, the crazy talented R&B songstress is fired up and ready to start the next chapter in her life, which has recently included collaborating with singer-producer Pharrell.
Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with JoJo recently to chat about her recent work with VH1’s Save the Music for their Family Day benefit at NYC’s Anderson School, where she also performed. She dished exclusively on how she ended up on Pharrell’s new album, the status of her new music, and the Grammy-nominated rapper she wants to work with next.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What made you decide to get involved with VH1’s Save the Music?
JoJo: I’ve been a fan of Save the Music since I was a little girl. I really cherished my experience with the music program at my public school in Massachusetts. I played alto saxophone, and that was a really great escape for me. Even if music isn’t something you have a passion to pursue later in life, I think that it’s great for kids to expand their minds and have experience with the arts.
It was a pleasant surprise to hear you on Pharrell’s new album, Girl, in the hidden track “Freq.” How did that come about?
I actually recorded a few songs with him for his album. I was happy that [“Freq”] made it, because I really love that one. He just has the best energy, he’s so inspiring. He called me in and had me do some background vocals and some lead stuff. I’m such a fan of the album.
And speaking of Pharrell, it’s been a big year for that throwback style of R&B music, which seems to be your genre. What do you think of that?
It’s exciting. It makes me feel like it’s time to seize the opportunity, because that’s my passion. I love music and melody and vibes.The fact that we’re being inspired by the feeling that that kind of music gave us in the ‘90s is a great thing. I think the return to feeling good and wanting to groove — that Pharrell helped us realize that we were missing that.
He recently mentioned that he was hoping to work on your album. Has that happened yet?
I’m in the very, very beginning process of the album. So we haven’t gotten in yet, but we definitely will.
We know you’re only in the beginning stages, but what sort of direction are you hoping to go in, sound-wise?
My goal is to solidify a sound for myself and to make a synthesis of the things that inspire me. I want to draw on all of those influences and tie it up with a pop ribbon. I want it to be an album that people around the world enjoy that will really touch people. I don’t know exactly what it will sound like yet, but I’m totally obsessed with making this album.
Anyone else you’re really hoping to collaborate with?
I’d love to work with Kendrick Lamar. I think that so many great people on the scene right now. There’s a lot of people that I’d like to take a stab at collaborating with.
What do you hope for JoJo and Pharrell’s collaboration? Tell us in the comments below.