Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and… JoJo? Casual pop music fans might scoff at the assertion that the third studio album from the former teen star is going to be one of the biggest records of, well, whenever it finally comes out, but those who know, know. Joanna Levesque is suing her apparently troublesome record label and is preparing to finally release a full-length album, and it’s going to knock all those other divas out of the water.
The vocal powerhouse performed a short but memorable set last night as part of The Fader and VitaminWater’s Uncapped series, taking an audience of industry heavyweights, press and fans to church with her crystalline runs and exhilarating range.
Dimly lit in blue and purple, JoJo took the stage at Alger House in Manhattan’s West Village and performed an eclectic mix of songs from her first two albums as well as from her independently released mixtapes, with a few well placed covers thrown into the mic as well. She brought out super hot right-now LA rapper Casey Veggies and Toronto’s Francesco for a verse on “Anything” (you know —the one with the Toto sample), and took some risks, rapping to Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” and covering the inimitable Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo” to the delight of the crowd.
JoJo featuring Casey Veggies & Francesco — ”Anything” (live)
The real highlight of the show, however, came with the performance of her song “Boy Without A Heart.” From the 2010 mixtape Can’t Take That Away From Me, the song is a straight forward R&B ballad, and in its three-year old, original form, it’s not even that much of a standout, but with years and time it seems that something has happened to the already preternaturally gifted singer: she’s become a knockout.
Not many people can make a crowd of music insiders whoop and shout like they’re at a revival. Not many people can give you goosebumps for the entirety of a song. While she was singing you could see the naysayers being educated and the believers looking around and saying “I told you so.” The girl’s got it, and she’s not so young anymore.
One might think that seeing anyone who could be labeled “former teen star” perform at a branded event could be dubious at best, but JoJo used the stage as a way to undeniably prove to those not yet in the know that she is a force to be reckoned with. You know what else? “Leave (Get Out)” would still be a hit today, I guarantee it. And we can’t wait to see what’s next.