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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 3, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 05
THE MUSIC LOUNGE
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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JoJo is back: R&B-pop singer talks about gay fans and Grammys ahead of Seattle performance

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

We can't get enough of JoJo. Just five months after she performed at Bumbershoot, the Emerald City welcomes her return this month for what's expected to be a knockout performance at The Showbox Market. The R&B pop artist is touring in support of her third studio album, 2016's Mad Love, which features the hit singles 'Fuck Apologies' (with Wiz Khalifa) and 'FAB.' (with Remy Ma). You'll probably hear both of these songs at the February 17 concert, as well as newer tracks and older favorites, like 'Too Little Too Late' and 'Leave (Get Out).' When she isn't recording music or performing live, the New England-bred singer is actively involved with several charities, including the Boys and Girls Club of America, Make A Wish Foundation and World Vision. For tickets to the show, go to aeglive.com.

Via email, I caught up with JoJo before she headed out to Seattle and this is what she shared with me inside The Music Lounge.

Albert Rodriguez: You've played Seattle before, as recently as last fall at Bumbershoot. What do you like about our city? Anything about Seattle that stands out to you?

JoJo: Air is so fresh, people so cool, coffee so strong. I love getting edibles when I'm in Washington, too. One of my best friends, Leah Labelle, is from Seattle and has shown me around a bit when we've toured there. I'm a big fan of the city.

Rodriguez: Tell us about the upcoming show. Will you be performing with a full band, backup dancers, any opening acts?

JoJo: My band and I have the best time. They are next level amazing. We are adding two background singers and more production with lighting and set. It's exciting to keep growing and elevating our live show.

Rodriguez: How many songs from the new album have you rehearsed for this tour?

JoJo: About 3/4ths of the new album.

Rodriguez: Will you be performing a mix of songs from different albums?

JoJo: Of course. Always. A few songs from mixtapes/one off's, too.

Rodriguez: Whenever you get free time on tour, what do you like to do - go shopping, explore the city, stay in your hotel room?

JoJo: Exploring where I am is one of my all-time favorite activities. Just leaving the bus or hotel and walking around, stumbling upon whatever. It often starts with me looking for local vegan or Thai or Ethiopian cuisine, and then wandering from there. Also, getting a good workout in when I have time keeps me feeling great.

Rodriguez: How did you ring in the New Year?

JoJo: I was on a solo trip to Sedona, Arizona. I rented a room in a woman's home through Air B&B. She told me about a yoga studio she volunteers at and that they were doing multi-hour Kirtan chanting on NYE. I went there and participated (my first time chanting) for over three hours, 9 pm-12:30 am.

Rodriguez: Have you ever had a gay fan encounter, or have you ever looked out into the audience and spotted any gay fans?

JoJo: So many encounters stand out to me I don't even know where to start. Most recently, I've been pulling a person up onstage with me on my European tour and performing a bit of a lap dance on them. I start it off by looking at the audience and saying 'Now, I don't care if you're a boy, a girl, gay, straight, don't identify with any of those titles. I don't care if you're big, little, or somewhere in between. I wanna know who wants to come up here and have a good time with me tonight.' Then once I choose the night's person, I ask, 'Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?' And if they do and they're in the audience, I ask them if they mind if I set the mood for the night. In meet & greets I've had a few boys tell me that they used to dress up as me in my music videos when they were younger and it made them realize they were gay. Also, girls telling me I was their first crush.

Rodriguez: What is the last piece of music you downloaded to your smartphone or MP3 player?

JoJo: Earth, Wind & Fire's All 'N All album.

Rodriguez: The Grammys are coming up. Any picks or predictions for Best New Artist - Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris, or Anderson .Paak?

JoJo: This is a tough category! All are worthy of the nod, but I'm going to predict Anderson .Paak will walk away with the Grammy.

Rodriguez: What can we expect from JoJo in 2017 - more touring, any new music, TV appearances?

JoJo: Touring will take up half of the year for me. After that, I'm going to take a couple months to write and record a new album. So ready to start creating again.

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