JoJo is back in the spotlight. After her song with PJ Morton, “Say So,” won best R&B at this year’s Grammys, she revealed she’s releasing a new album this spring and announced a tour.
But her comeback hasn’t been easy.
After the success of her song ”Leave (Get Out)” in 2004, the young pop star seemingly disappeared from the limelight.
The 29-year-old artist revealed in an Uproxx interview that though she was still recording new music after releasing her self-titled album in 2004, her label wasn’t releasing any of it.
“I thought that maybe it was the way that I looked because when I was 18, I remember being sat down in the (now defunct Blackground Records) office and the president of the label being like, ‘We just want you to look as healthy as possible,’ “ JoJo said in the interview, published Monday. “And I was like, ‘I’m actually the picture of health, I actually look like a healthy girl who eats and is active and I don’t think this is about my health. I think that you want me to be really skinny’ and he’s like, ‘No, I wouldn’t say that.’”
The “Baby It’s You” artist said she worked with a nutritionist who put her on a “500 calorie a day diet.” She was 18 years old.
”I was on these injections that make you have no appetite,” JoJo said. “I was like, ‘Let me see how skinny I can get, because maybe then they’ll put out an album. Maybe I’m just so disgusting that no one wants to see me in a video and that they can’t even look at me.’ That’s really what I thought.”
She said a woman’s body image is something that is always under scrutiny in the industry.
“I am speaking for probably I would say every woman in this industry that your image and your weight is up for conversation, and it’s just uncomfortable,” she said. ”It’s hard enough being a woman. I’m sure a lot of us develop extreme insecurities and disordered eating and really unhealthy thinking about ourselves.”
Because her music wasn’t being released, JoJo said she turned to other outlets for affirmation.
“I felt that how I was must have been not enough, must have been dissatisfying,” she said. “I started getting really (expletive) up, drinking, making out with strangers, looking for validation and attention and looking to feel pretty, looking to feel good, looking to feel worthy.”
She added: “I mean, there were definitely nights that I stumbled out of clubs and that I blacked out and was just completely reckless, did not care… I need to be buzzed to feel OK.”
“I should be dead,” she said.
JoJo said she turned her life around because she didn’t want to be like her dad, who she said suffered from substance abuse issues and died in 2015.
“I refused to end up like that, I did not want to do that. I would’ve ended up like my dad, just going to sleep one day and not waking up because life is hard,” she said. “Not coming from a cushy situation where I can just run home to mommy and daddy and ‘go home.’ Where is that for me? I make my own home. I had myself, so I had to make this work.”
JoJo’s tour kicks off April 21 in Seattle and includes cities across the U.S. and stops in Europe.
Read more at usatoday.com