JoJo was just 13 when her smash hit single “Leave (Get Out)” shot to the top of the charts in 2004. However, in a candid interview with UPROXX, she opened up for the first time about what it was really like shooting into pop stardom while signed to a shady label.
JoJo, now 30 explained that she didn’t see any red flags when she first signed by Blackground Records’ founder Barry Hankerson — who is Aaliyah‘s uncle. In fact, she felt it was the right thing to do after “hearing about how he had made Aaliyah into the icon that she was.”
Then, things took a dark turn just as her song hit number one. Her label, riddled with lawsuits, lost its distribution and stopped releasing her music despite the fact she wrote and recorded “hundreds of songs” for them. “It felt like I was banging my head into a wall,” said JoJo, explaining that she became desperate to convince them to restart her career.
That led to her label putting her on a crash diet when she was 18, but phrased it as wanting her “to look as healthy as possible.”
“I ended up getting put with a nutritionist who had me on a 500-calorie-a-day diet,” She revealed. “I was on these injections that make you have no appetite.”
However, the diet triggered a deep sense of insecurity and caused her to spiral into drugs, alcohol, and partying because “I needed to be buzzed to feel okay.”
“I should be dead,” she gravely added.
Now clean and finally free from her old label, JoJo is looking forward to her new chapter with Clover Music and Warner Records. She’ll be dropping her new album good to know on May 1 and will head out on tour April 21.
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