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Artist Spotlight: JoJo

After breaking free from the contractual binding that kept her tied to longtime label Blackground Records for years, 2014 was the year JoJo regained her freedom. She signed a new contract with Atlantic Records, and now, the singer can finally breathe easily. Her first major sigh of relief arrives today (Oct. 14) in the form of a 15-track album, her debut project on the Atlantic Records imprint, and the first official album she’s released in a decade. Mad Love chronicles the struggles JoJo endured during her hiatus from music, due to her lengthy legal dispute with Blackground Records. “Tell me who, who would I be without you/? No matter how much we lose, every time I bet my life on you,” JoJo sings on the album’s opening track “Music.," a heart-wrenching ode to both the titular subject and her late father Joel Levesque, who she lost in November of last year. “Went on the road to make my daddy proud," the singer recalls. "But I lost him and then I sang to the crowd/ My only hope is that he's looking down/ Thinking: 'Oh my God, my daughter's doing it now.'” It's been a decade since her previous LP, 2006's The High Road -- which hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200 -- and JoJo’s newest offering, Mad Love hosts only three features, leaving the Foxborough, MA native enough space to make up for the time lost. JoJo dropped the first single off Mad Love, the Wiz Khalifa-featuring “F**k Apologies.," back in July, and the empowerment anthem kicked off JoJo’s comeback season. Pop newcomer Alessia Cara assists the singer-songwriter on “I Can Only," and Bronx rapper Remy Ma comes through for “FAB.” – which was also the second single released for Mad Love.

Ahead of Mad Love’s arrival, the 25-year-old artist penneda letter for Motto (TIME Inc.’s advice website) on body image, and finding confidence after years of being shamed. “In my early career, I felt like a product. When I was 19, that feeling was confirmed. I was told that I didn’t look good enough to sell the music I was making," she wrote. Healthier and more confident than ever, JoJo has no desire to conform to the industry’s image standards. “When you accept who you are, it’s only a matter of time before others have no choice but to follow suit.”

~ Nerisha Penrose, Rovi (of

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