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Biography

Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque (born December 20, 1990), professionally known as JoJo, is an American recording artist and actress. After competing on the television show, America's Most Talented Kids, she was noticed by record producer Vincent Herbert who asked her to audition for Blackground Records. JoJo's self-titled debut album was released in June 2004 and has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. The first single from the album, "Leave (Get Out)", was released in February 2004. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was certified gold by the RIAA. JoJo's second album, The High Road, was released in October 2006, and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The album's lead single, "Too Little Too Late", was released in August 2006 and reached number three on Billboard Hot 100. The single was certified platinum by the RIAA. Her first mixtape, Can't Take That Away from Me, was released exclusively to Rap-Up on September 7, 2010. The mixtape is a prelude to her upcoming third studio album formerly titled All I Want Is Everything, which is scheduled for an early 2011 release through Blackground and Interscope Records. The first single from the Mixtape, "In the Dark", was released exclusively to Rap-up.com on August 30, 2010. On February 28, 2011, JoJo revealed the new title of her third album would be named Jumping Trains, named after one of her favorite songs on the upcoming Interscope Records project. She will announce the first single and shoot a video in the coming weeks. JoJo also has a film career. She made her first television appearance on The Bernie Mac Show. In 2006 she starred in two Hollywood films, Aquamarine, her film debut and RV. She has hosted the Ultimate Prom, and appeared in the movie True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, which earned her a nomination at the Poptastic Awards. Early life, JoJo was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, and raised in Keene, New Hampshire and Foxborough, Massachusetts. She has English, Irish, Polish, French, Scottish, and Native American ancestry. She grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in Foxborough, in a low-income family. Her father sings as a hobby and her mother sang in a Catholic church choir and was trained in musical theater. Her parents divorced when she was three. JoJo's stage name comes from a childhood nickname. As a child, JoJo listened as her mother practiced hymns. She started singing when she was two years and three months old by imitating, everything from nursery rhymes to R&B, jazz, and soul tunes. On the A&E's show Child Stars III: Teen Rockers, her mother claimed that JoJo had a borderline genius IQ. As a child, JoJo enjoyed attending Native American festivals and acted locally in professional theaters. At age 7, JoJo appeared on the television show Kids Say the Darnedest Things: On the Road in Boston with American comedian and actor Bill Cosby and she sang a song from singer Cher. After auditioning in the television show Destination Stardom, JoJo sang Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit "Respect" & Chain of Fools. Soon after, The Oprah Winfrey Show contacted her, inviting her to perform. She performed on Maury, on one of the frequent "kids-with-talent" episodes, as well as many others. Reminiscing, she has stated that "when it came to performing, I just had no fear". Music career, 2001-05: Discovery and JoJo: At 6 years old, JoJo was offered a record deal, but her mother turned it down because she believed JoJo was too young for a music career. After appearing on talk shows and the McDonald's Gospel Fest performing Whitney Houston's "I Believe In You and Me" and competing on the television show, America's Most Talented Kids, but did not win the show and lost to Diana DeGarmo. Record producer Vincent Herbert contacted her and asked her to audition for Blackground Records. During her audition for Barry Hankerson, Hankerson told her that the spirit of his niece, the late singer Aaliyah, had brought her to him. She was signed to the label, and had recording sessions with famed producers like The Underdogs and Soulshock & Karlin. JoJo's live demo, Joanna Levesque, recorded in 2001, features covers of soul and R&B songs, including Wilson Pickett's 1966 "Mustang Sally", Etta James's 1989 "It Ain't Always What You Do (It's Who You Let See You Do It)", Aretha Franklin's 1968 "Chain of Fools" and 1969 "The House That Jack Built", The Moonglows' 1956 "See Saw", Stevie Wonder's 1972 "Superstition", and The Temptations' 1975 "Shakey Ground". In 2003, at age 12, JoJo signed with Blackground Records and Da Family and begin working with some producers on her first debut album. JoJo's gold-certified debut single "Leave (Get Out)" was released in 2004. Before the album's release, JoJo embarked on her first ever tour, the Cingular Buddy Bash with Fefe Dobson, Young Gunz and Zebrahead. The tour went to nine malls, starting at Atlanta's Northlake Mall and ending at South Shore Plaza. When the single reached number one on the Top 40 Mainstream, she became at age thirteen the youngest solo artist to have a number-one single in America. The first single was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, which made JoJo become the youngest MTV Video Music Award nominee. Her first album, the platinum-sellingJoJo, followed, it peaked at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number ten on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, selling about 95,000 copies in its first week and reaching the top forty of the UK Albums Chart. JoJo co-wrote two of the album's songs, as well as wrote and co-produced one full track. In December 2004 she was nominated for Female New Artist Of The Year and Mainstream Top 40 Single Of The Year at the Billboard Music Awards. She is also the youngest artist to be nominated at the Billboard Music Awards. Her second single, the gold-selling "Baby It's You" -- which features rapper Bow Wow -- peaked at number twenty-two in the U.S. and number eight in the UK. The final single from the self-titled album, "Not That Kinda Girl," was released in 2005 and peaked at number eighty-five in Germany. In mid-2005 rapper Eminem mentioned JoJo in his song "Ass Like That" along with many other popular teen female celebrities at the time. In 2004 JoJo participated in "Come Together Now", a charity single to benefit the victims of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. That year, she was requested by First Lady Laura Bush to perform at the 2004 Christmas in Washington special, broadcast by TNT and hosted by Dr. Phil and his wife Robin McGraw. Despite performing at other events for the Republican Party, she has stated that she "does not agree with the things that President George W. Bush has done in office. I'll leave it at that." JoJo hosted and performed at the Hope Rocks concert in 2005 to benefit City of Hope Cancer Center and co-hosted the 2006 TV Guide Channel's countdown to the Grammy Awards. 2006-07: The High Road: JoJo's second album, The High Road, was released October 17, 2006. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. It was produced by Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz, J. R. Rotem, Corey Williams, Soulshock & Karlin and Ryan Leslie. It has received mainly positive reviews. JoJo says her next album really shows how she's grown up to her music and she feels more confident in her vocals and in the things that she sings about. In the summer of 2006, the lead single from her second album, "Too Little Too Late", was released to radio stations. "Too Little Too Late" broke the record for the biggest jump into the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, moving from number sixty-six to number three in one week; this record was previously held by Mariah Carey with her 2001 single "Loverboy", which went from number sixty to number two. The album's second official single, "How to Touch a Girl", experienced less success. It charted just outside the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number seventy-six on the Billboard Pop 100. The single is one of her favorite songs from The High Road and was written by herself. On March 16, 2007, The Second JammX Kids All Star Dance Special broadcast a new song by JoJo entitled "Anything", which samples Toto's 1982 hit single, "Africa" but it did not have a music video. The album has sold over 550,000 and since been certified gold by the RIAA. On July 20, 2007, JoJo's answer to "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston leaked on the Internet called "Beautiful Girls Reply". It debuted at number thirty-nine on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 chart one month later. JoJo left a message that she wanted her fans' input in deciding between "Coming for You" or "Let It Rain" as the next single, but it was canceled to release a third single for The High Road. She has also stated that she will be touring in the summer of 2007 in the U.S. and Europe in support of The High Road. Though there has not been an official tour, she has been performing with a live band as part of the Six Flags Starburst Thursday Night Concert series during the summer of 2007. During some of these shows she has included medleys of her favorite popular songs from Beyoncé ("Déjà Vu"), Kelly Clarkson ("Since U Been Gone"), SWV, Gnarls Barkley, Jackson 5, Justin Timberlake ("My Love"), Maroon 5, Usher, Carlos Santana, Jill Scott, Michael Jackson, George Benson, Musiq Soulchild, and Amy Winehouse ("Rehab", replacing the title with "Boston"). In November 2007, JoJo she toured in Brazil at the Live Pop Rock Brasil. On December 1, 2007, JoJo won the Boston Music Award for National Female Vocalist of the Year for "Too Little Too Late" and has performed. In late 2007 JoJo stated that she had been writing songs for her third album, to be released when she turned eighteen. She wants her fans to see growth in her music. She is seeking a publisher so that she can sing some of her self-written songs. 2008-2010: Record label conflict and Can't Take That Away from Me: In an April 8, 2008 interview at the Hearst Tower for the "Ultimate Prom" party, JoJo stated that she is writing and producing an album in Boston and Atlanta. She has lined up producers Tank, DJ Toomp, J. Moss, Toby Gad, The Underdogs, Danja, J.R. Rotem, Billy Steinberg, Bryan-Michael Cox, Marsha Ambrosius, Madd Scientist, Tony Dixon, Eric Dawkins and J. Gatsby. Out of three quarters of the finished material, she wrote all but one song. She said it will be her most personal album to date with inspiration coming from a romantic breakup to finding a new relationship, as well as feeling sexier and more confident becoming a woman. The self-written title track is described as an inspirational anthem. On August 30, 2008, JoJo posted her own answer version of the song "Can't Believe It", which originally performed by T-Pain. On September 1, JoJo said that her album would be out early 2009. In 2008, R&B singer Ne-Yo sampled JoJo's second single "Baby It's You". On October 14, 2008, JoJo sang the National Anthem before Game 4 of the ALCS at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. On December 9, 2008, JoJo was nominated again at the Boston Music Awards and was nominated for Outstanding Pop/R&B Act Of The Year but the singing group Jada has won this award. In January 2009, JoJo stated on her official MySpace that she has working with producers Chad Hugo, Jim Beanz & Kenna and she currently is working very hard for her new album. She stated she had problems with her record label and she has changed her label from Blackground to Interscope Records. In April 2009, JoJo stated in her MySpace blog that she is still signed to Blackground. Singer-songwriter Jovan Dais said in an interview he will work with DJ Toomp on JoJo's forthcoming album. He said: I'm really selective about who I work with because I'm not interested in it like that as far as working with so many different people. I really like JoJo. I like her music, I like her voice and I believe she's a true talent. We came up with some great material. JoJo's song "Note to God" from her second album The High Road was recently covered by Filipina pop singer Charice. On June 3, 2009, JoJo stated on her official YouTube account that she was waiting for her record label to sign a distribution deal to release her album, but apart from that she has finished work the forthcoming album. On June 10, 2009 samples of her songs written by Toby Gad "Fearless", "Touch Down" and "Underneath" leaked on the internet. JoJo posted on her official MySpace: "These songs are not on the album nor do they represent the sound or direction of this record". In few months time nearly 20 of her songs were leaked through a Youtube channel. She later stated that most of these leaked tracks will not make it to the new album. In mid July she said on her Myspace that she's writing songs for other recording artists and herself and vibing with some talented producers in Los Angeles. In August 2009, it was reported that JoJo filed a lawsuit in New York against her record label Da Family Entertainment for putting her in musical limbo. The label will not let her out of her contract or let her record a new album. She is seeking $500,000 for her troubles and to be released from her contract. JoJo was released from her contract in October 2009 and a deal was reached to make Interscope Records her distributing label. In October 2009, finally a deal was reached with Blackground Records to have JoJo's third album distributed by Interscope Records. JoJo had confirmed that on Twitter. She left Da Family Entertainment after six years and is now at Interscope. Her label is currently getting all the legal things together for her third album to be released in 2010. In late 2009, JoJo appeared in Timbaland's Shock Value II in a song called "Lose Control" and it's her first official song on an album after two years. In an interview in November she said that she's so excited to be on his record. She appeared in another song called "Timothy Where You Been" with the Australian band Jet as a background vocalist. In an Interview with Rap-Up, JoJo said about the album: "I wanted to do something that people would be like, 'Wow, this girl has come a long way and she's really taking the reins, I wanted people to get a sense of who I am" and that Timbaland, Jim Beanz, The Messengers, Kenna, Chad Hugo & Pharell Williams work on her new record and in 2010 she's ready to come back and put the finishing touches on the album in January. On March 27, 2010 JoJo joined Timbaland and Justin Timberlake for the Manila Changing Lives Concert tour in support of Timbaland's Shock Value II album. Where she performed her song "Too Little Too Late" and the song "Lose Control" with Timbaland from the album. Less than two months later JoJo returned to Manilla for the Then & Now Massive Music Festival on May 15, 2010 with other artist like Baby Bash, Frankie J, Diana King, SWV and more. This time she performed several songs from her past two albums as well was two new songs "Play This Twice" and "Safe With Me" (which is one of the 26 leaked tracks) from her third album. In the end of 2009, JoJo confirmed she was working with Clinton Sparks and Chester French on a mixtape for release in 2010. In July 2010, she confirmed in an Interview with Sam E. Goldberg that she will release her mixtape the month before the album. She announced on Twitter that her mixtape called Can't Take That Away from Me with the first single "In the Dark" produced by Jordan Gatsby. In August 2010, she gave in an Interview with Rap-Up more information about her upcoming mixtape, it set to release on September 7, 2010. The singer said about the mixtape: "This mixtape is more experimental, I was able to explore the full spectrum of things that interest me and inspire me musically. Whereas the album, I wanted to make pop records and radio hits and things that satisfy me, but particularly for All I Want Is Everything, it's more of a continuous body of work." She added that the mixtape is more different than her upcoming album All I Want Is Everything. The first single "In the Dark" is different than anything people have heard from her. She said about "In The Dark": It's a very sensual record and there's an undertone of sadness to it. In November 2010, JoJo made a cameo appearance in Keri Hilson's music video for "The Way You Love Me" from her second studio album No Boys Allowed and was known as "Boots" for the video, where she plays as one of the sexy hunter girls in Keri's gang, alongside Faith Evans (Danja), Dawn (Money) as well as Rick Ross, Columbus Short, and Polow Da Don. In December 2010, JoJo made another cameo appearance in Clinton Sparks's Debut music video for "Favourite DJ" Ft Jermaine Dupri & DJ CLASS and at the end in the song "Sucks To Be You" which features LMFAO and JoJo. The video premiered on Clinton's official website on December 21. JoJo plays Clinton's crazy ex girlfriend. In January 2011 JoJo made yet another cameo appearance in the D'Hask music video for Tempat Ku alongside Marylin Manson and Tai Ling. The video was directed by Rock Jacobs. In December 2010, JoJo stated that she was set to shoot another video for another one of the songs off the mixtape with director Alfredo Flores. It still has yet to be confirmed when the video will be shot and for what song. it is unknown if she will still shoot a video for another song off the mixtape, since she had been planning on shooting and releasing it either before the end of 2010 or before any promotion on the album is done. 2011-present: Jumping Trains: According the The New York Post, JoJo owns the final mastered copies of the record. According to JoJo's manager, via Twitter, JoJo is set to release the name of her first single by the end of February 2011. There is still no confirmed release date for the single nor the album yet. On February 18 JoJo begun her album packaging photoshoot for the third album and released a sneak peek at the album packaging shoot through her Twitter account. JoJo's manager Gita, said that they will be releasing an update on the single/album to be announced on 28 February. This will include the release of the name of JoJo's new single and possibly the announcement of the albums release date. On February 28, JoJo revealed the new title of her third album, Jumping Trains, named after one of her favorite songs on the upcoming Interscope Records project. JoJo states that "My third album will be called Jumping Trains and it's very symbolic for a variety of reasons," explained JoJo. "Moving from Boston to L.A., transitioning from being a girl to being a young woman, living on my own, taking a different direction sonically, and just really finding myself and just jumping into a new chapter of life." She will announce the first single and shoot a video in the coming weeks. To hold over her patient fans. JoJo's manager stated that they are expecting to shoot the video for the first single during the week of April 18. JoJo's manager confirmed that the first single will be called "The Other Chick" on the set of the music video. On May 14 the final song was released onto JoJo's official website at early hours of the morning after the unfinished version was leaked a week earlier. In an interview with MuuMuse.com JoJo stated that "The Other Chick" will now only serve as the buzz single from the album "It's something cool that'll introduce people to a more mature me, I suppose. It's edgy, but it's a buzz single." Instead, the album's official first single will be released in the summer, with Jumping Trains to follow in the fall. On August 18, JoJo announced via her official twitter account that the first official single from Jumping Trains would be "Disaster". she also stated "I'll send the dates for "Disaster" as soon as I have them. Executives are meeting and figuring it all out." In support of the new single "Disaster" JoJo, will be opening for Joe Jonas & Jay Sean co-headlining 19 city fall tour which begins on September 6 at the House of Blues in Boston, MA through till October 6 at the Best Buy Theater in New York. The lead single "Disaster" was released to US radio on August 29, 2011. It was available for purchase as a digital download on iTunes on September 6, 2011. JoJo shot the music video for "Disaster" on September 14, 2011 in Down Town Los Angeles. She stated that the album is slated for an early 2012 release. Acting career, JoJo has acted since age four. She did local theater, radio, and TV commercials in the New England area, and national TV shows from age seven. JoJo made her professional stage debut at eight in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as Mustardseed at the Huntington Theater. She received her first union card from the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA) at ten. After appearing on the television series The Bernie Mac Show and American Dreams, JoJo was cast opposite Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton in Aquamarine, playing Hailey. The film opened on March 3, 2006, opening at number five with $7.5 million. Her second major film, RV, a comedy starring Robin Williams, was released on April 28, 2006. It opened at number one and grossed $69.7 million. JoJo had to audition for the part five times, and eventually replaced an actress who had already been cast in the role. JoJo stated that "no one hired an acting coach for me on the set of Aquamarine." She announced that she will be billed as "Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque" in her film roles, but that she will still be credited as simply "JoJo" for her music work. In 2005, she was offered a role as Zoe Stewart in the hit television series Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, but she turned down the role because she was not really interested doing a television show. She was more concerned with being a legitimate artist, and a film career was not really what she saw for herself. On August 28, 2007, in an interview with BOP and Tiger Beat online, JoJo stated that she was working on a new film. On September 10, JoJo revealed that she would be traveling to Toronto to film a small screen adaptation of Lola Douglas' True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet and play the role of Morgan Carter with Golden Globe winner Valerie Bertinelli and 90210-star Shenae Grimes, to be broadcast on Lifetime television. The film was released on August 9, 2008 on Lifetime Television and on DVD on March 3, 2009. On January 7, 2011, JoJo had been cast in a special episode of CBS's Hawaii Five-0 that will air after the AFC Championship game on Sunday, Jan. 23. JoJo will play Courtney Russell, the daughter of a Tsunami Warning Center scientist who goes missing on the eve of a big storm hitting the Honolulu coast. This is JoJo's first acting role since 2008. Personal life, JoJo and her mother reside in Edgewater, New Jersey, and her recording studio is in Manhattan, New York City. She was home schooled for three years, has stated that "school was definitely a big part of my life". She performs well academically, receiving marks in the As and Bs. JoJo dated American soccer player Freddy Adu from May 2005 until September 2006. Both met on the MTV show Fake ID Club while she was hosting it. JoJo made an appearance in the commentary box at a New England Revolution home game when they were playing D.C. United. Freddy Adu registered an assist in that game. A Washington Post article in November 2006 reported that the couple split after one year. JoJo mentioned on American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest that she and Adu were still good friends. JoJo stated that she was single on the October 18, 2006 episode of Live with Regis and Kelly. She was also in the October 2006 issue of Teen People magazine confirming her breakup with Freddy Adu. She said: "I'm single right now and it's good. I'm so young. I'm going to be 16 in December and I'm just so busy. It's hard if you also want to date someone who has a high-profile profession; we were just both consumed with our own world..." Since 2006 she's a good friend with actress Emma Roberts, Sara Paxton and Robin Williams' daughter Zelda Williams. She appeared with her father on the Behind the scene of JoJo's "Too Little Too Late". On February 28, 2007, she was ranked at number ten in the list of Forbes top twenty earners under 25 with an annual earning of $1 million. In August 2009, she confirmed that she graduated from high school and will focus very hard on her future projects. JoJo was accepted to Northeastern University but did not attend; she considered majoring in cultural anthropology. In July 2009, JoJo was ranked at number five in the list "Barely Legal: The 10 Hottest '90s Babies" by Complex.com, after Emma Roberts and Willa Holland. Aside from singing and acting, JoJo is also a supporter of various charitable organizations such as Boys and Girls Club of America, World Vision, She's the First, Make A Wish Foundation, and many more. Filmography, Film YearFilmRoleNotes 2002 Developing Sheldon Young Elizabeth Starring as Joanna Levesque 2004 Shark Tale Herself Starring as Joanna "JoJo" Levesque 2006 Aquamarine Hailey Rogers Main role RV Cassie Munroe Main role Film Made for Television or Video YearTitleRoleChannel 2008 True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet Morgan Carter / Claudia Miller made for television (Lifetime Television), Main role Television guest appearances YearTitleRoleNotes 1998 Kids Say the Darndest Things Contestant Starring as Joanna Levesque 1999-2000 Destination Stardom Contestant Starring as Joanna Levesque 2002 The Bernie Mac Show Michelle 1 episode 2003 America's Most Talented Kid Herself -- performer 1 episode 2004 American Dreams Young Linda Ronstadt 1 episode 2005 Hope Rocks: The Concert with a Cause Co-Host made for television (Fox Television) , Starring as JoJo 2006 Romeo! Herself 1 episode 2007 Punk'd Herself Season 8 - Episode 6 2010 House of Glam Herself Season 1 - Episode 4 - La La Land 2011 Hawaii Five-0 Courtney Russell Season 1 - Episode 15 - Kai e'e The Dance Scene Herself Cameo


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