JOJO LEVESQUE has had a rough go of it lately.
On November 14, the pop star's father, Joel Levesque, passed away. JoJo posted a tribute on Instagram, promising to keep singing for him.
The next day, she—understandably—canceled our phone interview, but she soldiered through a performance of the national anthem at a NASCAR race in Phoenix. She dedicated that performance to her dad, a disabled veteran. Since then, her social media posts have featured a mix of standard tour photos, song lyrics, and pictures of Dad. "It's not easy planning my dad's funeral with my aunts while keeping my obligations to my career and to myself," she wrote.
JoJo's loss is just the latest bump in a long and rugged road for one of the most star-crossed artists in recent memory. Her current tour is a major part of the plan to put her career back on track after years of confusion, inactivity, and wasted time. It's no wonder she's sticking with it even after the loss of a parent.
JoJo's career started with historical success, as the first single from her 2004 self-titled debut album reached the top of Billboard's Pop 100 chart when she was only 13 years old, making her the youngest artist to chart a #1 hit in the United States. JoJo sold three million copies worldwide, and a sophomore album, The High Road, came out in 2006, but that's when things began to go sour.
The second album's first single, "Too Little Too Late," is a pitch-perfect pop song that charted well, but JoJo's subsequent singles flopped. And then... nothing (officially) for a decade. Or, at least, nothing but publicity for all the wrong reasons. Long story short: JoJo became embroiled in a legal battle with her record label, Blackground, which refused to release her third album, she claimed, and eventually stopped communicating with her altogether.
"I don't have a relationship with them," she told Billboard in 2013. "I would just prefer to have a platform to release my music and support."
JoJo didn't stay completely silent throughout the ordeal, releasing a couple of mixtapes and some critically acclaimed singles. But a couple of years ago, she was finally cleared to put out her true third album when she was freed from her Blackground contract. She signed to Atlantic Records, which released III, AKA Tringle, in August.
III looks like an EP, but it's apparently three simultaneously released singles—hence the name, Tringle—from JoJo's long-awaited third album, due out in 2016. The three songs do not disappoint. "When Love Hurts" is an upbeat dance-floor banger with a disco pulse. The midtempo "Save My Soul" shows off JoJo's legendary pipes. And "Say Love" is a massive R&B ballad with a roller-coaster melody.
"When Love Hurts" has just recently been sent to mainstream radio stations, and its impact is yet to be seen. Here's hoping it's a hit and that it pushes JoJo back into the spotlight she deserves after so many years away.
If it's not? There's one thing to be sure of, and it's that JoJo is well equipped to overcome obstacles. At this point, it's just great to have her back.