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JoJo on Getting The Rights to Her Own Voice Back

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After her explosive hit "Leave (Get Out)" took over music charts in the early 2000s, Jojo was on track to become a superstar -- but a legal battle held her back. In this clip from The School of Greatness, she shares her emotional journey.
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really. Yeah. Yeah. I just didn't worse. Yeah. Every year I can't say it was every year. But there's so many ups and downs because I developed what I would call a situational depression. That has, you know that I've ridden the wave of when I filed my lawsuits for the first time against my record label so I could get the rights to my voice back and be able to continue on with my career since they weren't functioning label anymore. So give people context. We don't know what happened. How old were you and I was 18 when I sued them for the first time because they were in breach of contract. They, we weren't able to have delivered several versions of a third album to them and there was just no they didn't want or didn't wanna put it out, they didn't have the means to put it up, they didn't have distribution anymore. And it was just whole bummer of a situation. I really thought that we would just ride off into the sunset together because these were my father figures, they were my uncles and they were my mentors. So I never wanted to like who wants to be in a lawsuit? That's, it sucks. So um tried to work it out for a while, but I was tied up In a legal battle with them for about five years. So at 23 I think when I I took I took a lot on, I was like what could I have done differently or? But it really did. I don't want to be overdramatic about it, but it was a bit traumatic for me. It's very dramatic. I felt so out of control and nothing's really in our control, but it's just so disappointed and so hurt that we couldn't make things work and like do all these great things together because all I wanted to do since I was a little kid is work and perform and connect with people. And I felt like that was taken away from me. So I was very upset because you couldn't release your art to the world because of the contract, right? Right. And it wasn't just about creative control because I wasn't like putting a hard line of stand and being like, no, I want to make up, you know, right, I want to do some left stuff. It wasn't it wasn't that I was like, I was really down to try, at least from my perspective. So anyway, thankfully that is not going on any more. But it created a lot of like, agitation within me and upset. And and again, like I mentioned seeing people that had told me that I was the reason why they started singing and that they, you know, grew up learning how to sing through listening to my songs and stuff and then seeing them reached the heights of their career. Well, I'm I felt like this caged bird, So you saw young superstars become megastars, Yes, and say to you, you're the reason I started this. Yeah, and that's obviously like such an amazing thing to hear, inspiring, but you also want to see yourself correct, I want to talk to. Yeah, yeah, it was like, I really don't like being this thing that like this kid that can't play in the playground that I love. Yeah, yeah, and I was just not comfortable with being a afterthought, I feel like olympic gymnasts, I feel like have some of the hardest lives who are like olympic gold medalist in there 15, 16, very similar to your situation when you're on this global stage as a teenager and you reach the top, that's where do you go, where do you go to the next 80 years of your life? Right? It's like, oh, that's the hardest things to overcome. I'm not saying it's, I mean poor them for having a gold medal, but it's, it's a different type of adversity you have to face, right, right? And it's, it's not a, it's a first world problem. The immigrant winter bows that you face are extreme when you reach those levels. But I think that the payoff that can come if you are able to like change your perspective and have a new idea of what success is or just keeping your blinders on and saying, okay, so that's amazing. I've accomplished that. But what's next? Just not if I was going to pass so much. Yeah, it sucks.