JoJo Commands the Stage With an Open Heart and Open Mind in New York City [EXCLUSIVE]
JoJo returned to New York on Tuesday night (Nov. 3) with an open heart and open mind as she continued on her I Am JoJo tour.
The Marlin Room at Webster Hall was buzzing with anxious fans, who've been waiting for what seems like forever to finally see their favorite singer step onto the stage. But before she grabbed the mic, singer Aaron Camper warmed up the crowd. After his set, all eyes were on the door to the left of the stage. While it seemed like no one was breathing as we waited for the woman of the hour to come out, the room erupted the moment she made her way to the middle of the stage. Dressed in black jeans, a black crop top and sheer gray overcoat, JoJo took us way back to 2004 by starting her set with "Baby It's You," "Too Little, Too Late," "Good Ol'" and the song that changed her life.
"This song, I didn't really like it when I first heard it," the 24-year-old songstress told the crowd before "Leave (Get Out). "But then you [the fans] loved it, then I was cheated on for the first time. Sometimes you just need an ex to clear."
For the the OG fans who've stuck by JoJo's side, this was a trip down musical memory lane and felt a lot like that '90s series MTV Unplugged, where the artist has the chance to talk about each track they sing about. Despite the size of the room, JoJo had a way of making it so intimate -- as if you're sitting in her bedroom and she's telling you all her secrets. But that's the thing with JoJo. All her songs are pieces of her life experience. And while they're mostly about the good, bad and ugly parts of love, tracks like "Marvin's Room" and "Thinking Out Loud" are songs that anyone who's been in some sort of relationship can relate to.
Romance aside, JoJo also revealed the other topic she loves to write songs about -- sex. Before performing "Demonstrate," she explained that she wrote it with Noah “40” Shebib, one of Drake's big collaborators, in Toronto. She admitted to leaving the door open every night, hoping the guy she was seeing at the time would just "slip in." The track's slow ebb and flow instrumental went perfectly with the vocal runs she did under the red lights. And when she hit that high note with precision, she clearly achieved a musical climax, leaving everyone sweaty but satisfied.
She also surprised with a cover of one of her favorite songs at the moment, Jeremih's "Planes," which you can watch below.
When she walked off the stage, you could feel a slight panic and fear that it was all over. But JoJo just went to do a wardrobe change, reappearing in another black cropped top and dark denim jacket with her name stitched onto the back. This return to the stage also signaled the second half of her sonic journey. She performed more tracks from her more recent projects, which she explained was inspired by the lull in her career as well as more failed relationships -- of course.
I've been doing this since I was a little cherub," she said before singing "When Love Hurts." "So being away from [music] really hurt me. So when I sing this song, that's how I feel."
She also performed the other two songs from her new release, III.: "Save My Soul" and "Say Love." "I wanted to come in with an open heart and open mind," she said about the new material, "with my scars, but I won't let them define me."
Although she intended to finish her with the ballad "Say Love," the fans weren't finished with her just yet. So after a few minutes of chanting, she came out and surprised everyone with a new song that she's hardly performed live called "I Am." JoJo turned the moment into a love letter to fans. The performance was powerful and uplifting, making for a perfectly solid ending to a show that demonstrated both her strengthened resolve and welcomed return.
"NYC thank you MADLY!!!! Another sold out night with you passionate incredible special people. Thank you from the bottom to the top," she wrote as the caption to an Instagram photo of herself posing after the show.