JoJo helped kick off Rap-Up’s brand new series, Rap-Up LIVE, with an acoustic performance in Los Angeles on Friday evening (April 1).
Fresh from a sold-out European tour, the platinum songstress brought down the house with a cover, some classics, and new material, and provided an update on her highly-anticipated third album.
“I’m so excited to soon be able to perform new music from this album that’s coming out soon,” she told the crowd at Rap-Up’s L.A. headquarters. “I just came from the studio across the street. I have like three more days left of recording and then I don’t want to see another studio for at least six weeks.”
While guests sipped on Cîroc Vodka and DeLeón Tequila cocktails, JoJo opened with a cover. “I want to start off with a cover of a song I wish I’d written,” she said, before launching into a mellow version of James Bay’s “Let It Go.”
From there, the pop powerhouse took fans to 2012 for a rendition of Agápe’s “We Get By.” “It’s just about continuing to go on,” she said of the track, “to not let anything get in your way, to just kind of say, ‘OK, this is my reality. Here we go. We keeps it movin’.’ It’s what we do here at Rap-Up.”
Bathed in pink lights, JoJo took it even further back with her 2004 breakout hit “Leave (Get Out)” off her self-titled debut. “This is a song that changed my life forever,” she explained. “I recorded it when I was 12 and came out with it when I was 13. It’s crazy to listen back and hear my little chipmunk vocals on it.”
After a melodic stroll down memory lane, though, JoJo came back to 2016 for the evocative “Save My Soul,” which was the most emotional performance of the night. “It’s about feeling helpless, feeling hopeless,” she explained. “I’ve definitely felt that many times and I know I’m not alone so I wanted to share this song.”
More empowerment followed with “I Am,” a track that will appear on her next album.
“This song will actually be on my third album, whereas ‘Save My Soul’ is gonna live where it lives,” she said. “This song is about those two simple words: I am. We can build ourselves up with those. We can totally tear ourselves down by saying things like, ‘I am weak. I am broken. I am depressed.’ You give a lot of power to the things that you speak. I found myself doing that. This song is actually an exercise for me in trying to say nice things about myself because I don’t always feel that.”
Before finalizing her set, JoJo also offered some kind words about Rap-Up.
“I just want to say thank you so much to Rap-Up. You guys are family to me,” she said. “I look forward to premiering many more things with you guys and just continuing on this wonderful relationship we have.”
Five lucky fans won tickets to the intimate event, while fans from across the world were able to watch the performance live on Facebook.
If you missed the live stream, you can watch JoJo’s full set below.