JoJo Hailey was a member of arguably one of the greatest R&B groups of all-time, Jodeci. He sang Alongside group members Devonte, Dalvin and brother Ki-Ci, and created classic hits like “Come & Talk To Me,” “Freek’N You,” “Stay” and so many more. Those hits reached the highest heights that music has to offer. He then repeated the same format with his brother Ki-Ci as a duo. Now 25 years into his career JoJo embarks on the next phase of his journey, not only as a solo artist but an independent solo artist.
ThisisR&B’s Boom had the opportunity to catch up with the legendary singer to discuss his new solo career, creating and releasing music under his own record label, his debut single and much more. Can his years of experience navigate him through the new frontier of R&B and return him to the top of the charts? Find out all of that and more in the conversation below.
TIRNB: First and foremost, what is your favorite Jodeci and Ki-Ci & JoJo song?
JoJo: My favorite Jodeci song is “Love You 4 Life.” My Favorite Ki-Ci and JoJo song is “Honest Lover.”
TIRNB: You’ve accomplished so much in music. Tackling a new solo career, are you nervous about taking this “Special” journey alone?
JoJo: Not at all. I’ve got my family by my side, so I am never alone.
TIRNB: You have been in this industry for decades. Why go solo now?
JoJo: It was just time for me to do my thing. I’ve been a part of a group or duo for years. What a better way to start the decade than with a solo comeback?
TIRNB: How did the concept for “Special” come together in the studio?
JoJo: The concept for “Special,” one of my producers, Mike Smoov, was working on this track, I heard it, I started humming a melody, put some words to it, and it was special.
TIRNB: Why did you decide “Special” would be your debut solo single?
JoJo: We released “Special” on Valentine’s Day. “Special” is all about love so, it was the perfect track for that time of year.
TIRNB: How did you know Snoop Dogg, another legacy music artist, was the perfect fit for “Special?”
JoJo: Snoop actually surprised me with the verse. I didn’t know he was gonna get on the track and one day — I walked into the studio — my family played the track for me, and there was Snoops voice. I was very pleasantly surprised. He’s perfect for the remix.
TIRNB: Personally, after seeing so many greats come and go, how does it feel to still be relevant and creating music?
JoJo: It feels great. The world will always need love, so I will always be creating music.
TIRNB: What keeps you inspired as an artist?
JoJo: Love and family.
TIRNB: In your opinion, what is the current state of R&B music? Is it in a good place?
JoJo: Artists nowadays don’t talk about love anymore. The vibes have changed, and not really in a good way.
TIRNB: Tell us about the sound we can expect from JT Entertainment?
JoJo: You can expect new music from my daughters, Kayla Tiffany and Sakoya Wynter, along with my nephew Devin Hailey.
TIRNB: Before starting the new label, did you study, analyze, or read about the new tactics and guidelines used in streaming services? Today’s record labels and promoting artists?
To be honest, I didn’t BUT my wife did and shared all the information with me.
TIRNB: For your first label, why did you decide to go with Symphonic Distribution?
JoJo: I chose Symphonic because they understand my vision for my label.
TIRNB: As an executive, an up-and-coming artist asks you: “How do I make a hit song?”
JoJo: First, I would say, you never really know it’s a “hit” until it HITS (laughs). Just stay true to yourself and do what you do from the heart.
TIRNB: You’ve mentioned that your label is a family-centric outfit. Describe the meaning?
JoJo: I think that there is a lack of love for family units in the music industry. We have to stick together and support one another. I wouldn’t want to be doing this with anybody but my family.
TIRNB: As a fan of R&B, what would be a topic you would like discussed more in the media?
The state of R&B music. What can we do to get that feel-good music back?
TIRNB: In R&B, sampling classic songs have become an age-old tradition. But during your run, did you ever fathom that today’s artists would be sampling your hits and how does it feel hearing your music being sampled?
JoJo: No I never thought about it. I’m actually honored, I mean you know that means a lot.
TIRNB: There are so many trending topics swirling around today’s R&B. As a veteran, how do you know when to chime-in and when not to chime-in on certain topics like, “The King of R&B” claims or R&B is missing right now?
JoJo: I don’t get involved in any of that you know — because to me — we are all Kings. We have all done our part in the music industry to share our gifts.
TIRNB: To you, is the competitive nature in R&B still the same as it was throughout the 90s?
JoJo: Not really. I mean, I don’t know, it’s just not the same now as it was then.