Growing up in Foxborough, Massachusetts, R&B-pop singer JoJo (born Joanna Noelle Blagden Levesque in Brattleboro, Vermont) listened and learned as her mother practiced hymns. She started singing by imitating her mother, but quickly put her own spin on everything from nursery rhymes to pop tunes. An ad in the paper announcing open auditions for the television show Kids Say the Darndest Things: On the Road in Boston led to the young singer wowing the audience along with the show's host, Bill Cosby, and eventually led to a phone call from Oprah Winfrey offering JoJo a spot on her show.
Appearances on talk shows and gospel festivals followed, but it was her appearance on the television show America's Most Talented Kids that brought the call from producer Vincent Herbert. The former Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, and Destiny's Child producer had the young singer signed to Blackground Records and arranged sessions with famed producers like the Underdogs and Soulshock & Karlin. Her platinum-selling eponymous debut album followed in June 2004. JoJo featured the hit "Leave (Get Out)," which reached the top spot on the Billboard charts, making her the youngest solo artist to have a number one single in the U.S. JoJo went on to add actress to her résumé, starring in the comedies Aquamarine and RV with Robin Williams.
In 2006 she released her sophomore effort, The High Road, which featured her platinum-selling single "Too Little Too Late." After The High Road, JoJo became embroiled in contractual disputes with her label, Da Family Entertainment, which lasted until 2009. Although she made guest appearances on songs by Timbaland and the rock band Jet, she wouldn't return to her own music until late 2010, when she self-released the mixtape Can't Take That Away from Me. She joined tours with Joe Jonas, Jay Sean, and Big Time Rush to support her new music; however, label issues returned, delaying the release of an official album.
In December 2012 she released another mixtape, Agape, and embarked on a headlining tour. After filing a lawsuit against her label in 2013, she was finally released from the contractual delays that she claimed caused "irreparable damage" to her career and signed with Atlantic Records. She went on to release three EPs in 2015: #LoveJo, III, and #LoveJo2. Her third official LP, Mad Love, was released in 2016 with featured appearances from Alessia Cara, Wiz Khalifa, and Remy Ma. ~ David Jeffries & Neil Z. Yeung