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JoJo Dishes on Super Bowl XLVI, ‘Jumping Trains’ + One of Her Most ‘Painful’ Experiences

JoJo
Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Fans of JoJo are on the edge of their seats awaiting the singer’s upcoming album ‘Jumping Trains,’ which is slated for release in April. ‘Jumping Trains’ will mark JoJo’s first full-length album since 2007, and the 21-year-old is ready to make a strong comeback with her 2012 album.

PopCrush recently caught up with the Massachusetts native, who is now residing out in the Los Angeles area of California, to discuss the recording process for ‘Jumping Trains,’ the inspiration behind her first single ‘Disaster,’ and her ‘It Can Wait’ campaign with AT&T and Cambio to promote the hazards of texting while driving. JoJo also dishes on her hopes for the New England Patriots to bring home Super Bowl gold in 2012 as well as a “traumatic” and “painful” experience she had.

As a native New Englander, are you excited that the Patriots are in the Super Bowl?
Oh come on! I’m so excited! I grew up in Foxborough so I grew up basically with the stadium as my backyard. You know, I’d always hear concerts and always experience all the traffic coming from the games and stuff. So I’m thrilled! I know that my family will be having a crazy Super Bowl party — I’m excited.

So, are you going to celebrate out in California?
Oh absolutely! There’s this pub down in Santa Monica called Sonny McLean’s, which is like a Boston sports pub. I think I’m gonna try to make my way over there and celebrate like the true Masshole that I am. [Laughs]

So, what was the recording process like for ‘Jumping Trains’?
I’ve never stopped recording, so that’s basically been my process. As often as I can, I’ll be in the studio. ‘Jumping Trains’ has taken on a different shape several times as we record new material and replace songs with newer songs we love more. I just want to basically tell the truth and be transparent with music. The process was really — if I’m feeling something I’ll go into the studio and record it. I got to work with some really great people. It just felt like a big therapy session, a big party — it was just a joy. I love to record and I love to create, and I got to do it with pals.

You’ve been inspired by a lot of different musical genres, from pop and R&B to jazz and blues. Do you think this will reflect on ‘Jumping Trains’?
Absolutely. I like to call what is represented on ‘Jumping Trains’ as infused pop. The end result is a pop album, however it’s infused with all of the things that inspire me and keep me going and fill me. So it’s not just a straight-forward dance record and it’s certainly not a bubblegum pop record — it’s infused with all of the different things that I love.

Do you have any ideas for your next single yet?
No, we’re pretty focused on ‘Disaster’ right now. I mean, of course we have some ideas in mind for what the second single will be — but as ‘Disaster’ continues to climb, that’s just basically our focus for the moment. I try to one track-minded when it comes to a task like that.

So, you co-wrote almost every song on ‘Jumping Trains.’ Can you talk about the writing process for your single ‘Disaster’?
I [wrote the track] with one of my close friends Gino Barletta. It was just something that happened very organically. I mean, I’ve got to give him the credit for kind of initiating the idea and everything, but it was definitely based off of something [he] and I can both relate to: a relationship that turns into something that you never expected. You know, like no one gets into a relationship and is like, “Wow! This is gonna be painful and this is gonna suck.” [Laughs] Sometimes, things don’t always go the way we plan them in our minds. So, that’s what this is about. [Gino and I] were able to bring out something in each other that turned into a song. It was a fun experience.

Watch the JoJo ‘Disaster’ Video

You’re touring with Big Time Rush in February. Are you excited for that and performing for a new generation of fans?
Yeah! It’s gonna be a great experience. I mean any time I get to tell my stories and perform and connect with people is always a treat. So it’s always something I look forward to! So yeah, it should be interesting. It will be a younger demographic and will probably be a new audience for me in a sense so it should be cool!

You’ve been performing a lot of covers live lately. How do you go about deciding which songs you’re going to cover that night?
There’s really no method to it, there’s really no rhyme or reason. I kind of just talk to my guitarist JinJoo and we just throw out ideas and we try it out — if it sounds decent, then we go with it.

Watch JoJo Cover Bruno Mars’ ‘Grenade’

You’re working with AT&T and Cambio for the ‘It Can Wait’ campaign against texting while driving. How did you become involved with that and what does it mean to you?
I think that’s an important issue that’s facing our generation. I feel like a lot of people, myself included, get this false sense of infallibility — feeling like, “OK, although other people might not be able to handle texting and driving, well I can because I’ve got it under control.” It does not discriminate, you know what I’m saying? I wanted to be involved with this because texting and driving and what can happen from it is so across the board. It’s a very serious issue that is very relevant right now and especially for people in my age group. I wanted to somehow bring attention to it however I could …  and also kind of poke and remind myself there’s no text that’s worth sending that could put yourself or other people in harms way or even lose a life as a result. It was a reminder for myself and also I wanted to bring attention to it.

What’s something that has happened to you recently that your fans might not know about?
I used to have a micro-dermal piercing on my shamrock tattoo, which is on my right hand. I used to have like this jewel that was implanted right in the middle of my shamrock, and it was very painful to get put in and even more painful to get ripped out. So basically, I was sleeping one night and my hand was underneath my pillow, and it got caught on the pillow and it ripped out. It was like a murder scene! There was blood all over my bed. It was pretty traumatic.

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