Standing tall. JoJo reflected on a rough period in her life where she felt that “the way that she looked” was the reason her record label wasn’t releasing her new music, despite already having two successful albums — JoJo in 2004 and The High Road in 2006 — under her belt.
“When I was 18 I remember being sat down in the Blackground [Records] office and the president of the label being like, ‘We just want you to look as healthy as possible,'” JoJo, 29, recalled in a recent interview with Uproxx. “And I was like, ‘I’m actually the picture of health. I look like a healthy girl who eats and is active. I don’t think this is about my health. I think that you want me to be really skinny.’ He’s like, ‘No, I wouldn’t say that.'”
She added, “I ended up working with a nutritionist who had me on a 500-calorie diet a day. I was taking these injections that make you have no appetite. I was like, ‘Let me see how thin I could become because maybe then they will put out an album. Maybe I’m so disgusting that nobody wants to see me in the video and they can’t even look at me.’ That’s really what I thought.”
The “Leave (Get Out)” singer explained that her insecurities led her to abuse drugs and alcohol to feel “pretty” and “worthy,” which eventually spiraled out of control.
“I felt that how I was must have been not enough. Must have been dissatisfying,” JoJo said. “There were definitely nights that I stumbled out of clubs and that I blacked out. I was just completely reckless, did not care. I needed to be buzzed to feel okay. I would go to the edge, stand on my tiptoes on the edge and then come back. I should be dead.”
The “Too Little, Too Late” songstress shared that she stopped abusing substances because of her father, Joel Levesque, who passed away from drug addiction complications in 2015.
“I would’ve ended up like my dad, just going to sleep one day and not waking up. Because life is hard,” JoJo said.
She decided to take legal action against Blackground Records and was officially released from her contract in 2014. JoJo noted that she “didn’t get any money” or “any damages” from the case but was happy just to be “able to sign another record contract.”
JoJo went on to re-record her first two albums owned by Blackground and launched her own record label through Warner Records, which will release her latest album, Good to Know, in the spring.
“This journey has been a journey of learning how to love myself,” JoJo said. “I feel really lucky, really, really grateful for the longevity that I have and for the resilience that I do have. But I work on it every day. I want to create a life for myself and I want to create a legacy.”
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