Widely-recognized for her debut single “Leave (Get Out)”, singer JoJo (born as Joanna Levesque) was just entering her teenage years when she quickly rose to stardom.
Despite her ups and downs in her mainstream career, the now 29-year-old opened up in a candid interview on her tumultuous record label journey. Jojo recounted her struggle with substance abuse and being forced to be placed on a 500-calorie diet.
“You’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen, ‘Oh my god, I thought JoJo died! Like, she’s still out here?’,” the singer told UpRoxx. “Yeah, b**ch! I’m still here!”
Jojo’s first industry deal landed at Blackground Records where the singer-songwriter secured a contract at just 12 years old. She spent years at the Barry Hankerson-backed label before moving on to others. At one point the singer was under the impression that her label was not releasing her new music because of the way that she looked.
“When I was 18, I remember being sat down in the background office and the president of the label being like, ‘We just want you to look as healthy as possible,” she recounted. Confidently knowing that she was living a healthy lifestyle, Jojo said she was then forced to be placed on a daily 500-calorie diet.
The total number of calories a day for an adult should reach up to 2,400 calories.
After being placed with a nutritionist, JoJo was also given injections that would curb her appetite. The battle with her body image and Blackground Records would become an issue for the songstress who spiraled into alcohol abuse and depression.
“There were definitely nights that I stumbled out of clubs and that I blacked out. I was just completely reckless, did not care,” she admitted. “I needed to be buzzed to feel okay. I would go to the edge, stand on my tiptoes on the edge and then come back.”
She later spoke about putting a stop to using substances after her father died in 2015 while dealing with addiction. “I should be dead,” she said. “I would’ve ended up like my dad, just going to sleep one day and not waking up. Because life is hard.”
With new music released, the R&B-pop singer recently won the Best R&B Song with PJ Morton at the 2020 Grammy’s.
We look forward to more achievements as the artist continues to take control of her newly reinvigorated music journey. We’re still rooting for you, Jojo!
Watch her interview below:
(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)