By Gerrick D. Kennedy
JoJo has signed a deal with Atlantic Records, ending an exhaustive multi-year battle with her former label, a representative for the singer has confirmed to Pop & Hiss.
In 2004, the Massachusetts-bred singer, born Joanna Levesque, arrived as a big-lunged 13-year-old poised for teen-pop stardom.
Her sassy, R&B-kissed self-titled debut yielded singles such as “Baby It’s You,” “Not That Kinda Girl” and “Leave (Get Out),” which hit the top of the pop songs chart, making her the youngest solo act to land a No. 1 in the U.S.
But more than seven years after a stellar sophomore effort, 2006’s “The High Road” — it featured the massive smash “Too Little Too Late” — a third album from the singer had yet to see release.
Most of the delay was the result of ongoing legal troubles with her longtime label, Blackground Music, that left her unable to issue new music commercially. A few official singles surfaced, including the lush, alt-R&B stunner “Demonstrate” from Drake’s producer Noah “40” Shebib.
JoJo did sate fans by offering a set of mixtapes, collaborations and covers that helped her transition from the tween demographic and earn her a ton of hipster cred. There are also dozens upon dozens of leaked tracks floating around on the Web.
Her fans strongly lobbied for her release, even launching a #FreeJoJo campaign on Twitter; last summer, the battle with Blackground (once home to the late Aaliyah) went public after the singer filed a suit to be released from the label and its imprint Da Family Records.
In the suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court in July and obtained by The Times, the singer claimed that the labels had essentially been holding her hostage for the better part of seven years.
Among her complaints in the suit was that Blackground and Da Family failed to release her third album despite delivery and acceptance of recordings and that the labels neglected to pay producers and “other vendors” she collaborated with.
More important, she argued that because her deal with the labels was signed when she was a minor, laws in both New York and California stipulated that she could not be bound to the contract after a period of seven years.
Finally free of label strife, the 23-year-old is on track to issue her long-gestating third album. She signed the new deal with Atlantic in December.
JoJo is set to make her film return in “G.B.F.,” which arrives in theaters on Friday.