JoJo couldn’t even remember the last time she played New York City prior to her performance Monday (Aug. 26) as the latest artist to be a part of The Fader and vitaminwater’s #Uncapped summer concert series.
“I’m fuckin’ pumped!” the 22-year-old singer enthused from her dressing room at The Alger House, a private residence in Manhattan’s West Village that hosted its first pop concert for the occasion. “It’s been an awesome past few days. I’ve been rehearsing, soaking up the vibe of the city.”
Part of JoJo’s New York visit included booking some time with Vested In Culture/Epic rapper Casey Veggies, who teamed up with the singer for a remix of her Toto-sampling “Anything” from 2006’s “The High Road” alongside recent Atlantic signing Francesco, who played guitar and sang the hook from “Africa.” A studio version of the remix will be released by Fader next week, as part of its ongoing #Uncapped content, which has this year included performances from Earl Sweatshirt, Solange and Trinidad Jame$.
“Anything” was one of several hits JoJo revisited from her catalog, many of which were recorded during her early teenage years. “Leave (Get Out),” which made her the youngest artist to top Billboard’s Pop Songs chart at the age of 13, for example, was reworked with a beat borrowed from Kanye West and Jay Z’s “No Church In The Wild,” while 2006 hit “Too Little Too Late” had a beefier arrangement than the more acoustic setup that first accompanied it. She also played selections from a pair of mixtapes (2010’s “Can’t Take That Away From Me” and 2012’s “Agape”) she’s self-released in recent years while being trapped in label limbo with Blackground Records, whom she officially took to court last month.
“I think this is actually a really great way to be reintroduced as an adult,” JoJo says. “I always wanna show my support with respect of what got me here. But I also like to keep it current. I just worked with some amazing musicians and came up with some stuff to make it more dynamic and more applicable to who I am at 22 as opposed to 13.”
JoJo and her guests attracted a large number of industry heavy-hitters at the packed #Uncapped show, the largest turnout yet for super-private shows that have attracted an average of 50 to 70 invite-only fans. Atlantic co-chairman Julie Greenwald was spotted in support of Francesco, as was Vested In Culture founder Sylvia Rhone on behalf of Casey Veggies. Also in the crowd: Noah Friedman, general manager for Duck Down Music, Lenny S., an A&R exec for Def Jam, LTD magazine founder Hawaii Mike Salman, Dim Mak artist and Myspace creative director Kenna, indie-pop songstress Betty Who, hostess Miss Info, Fader publisher Andy Cohn and vitaminwater brand manager Ben Garnero.
Aside from the “Anything” reboot and a guest verse on Dawn Richard’s “Valkyrie” remix, JoJo says “working with the lawyers” has kept her out of the studio for the most part in recent months. She will, however, make an anticipated return to acting in the film-festival favorite comedy “G.B.F.,” which will see a theatrical release soon. In the meantime, JoJo’s been taking time to do a lot of “introspective work and journaling,” she says. “I’m just working on myself by myself. Lots of hot yoga, lots of meditation, lots of studying. When I come back out, I wanna be at my very personal best.”