It's 2004, where scooby-doos are in, as well as pastel eyeshadows, metallic lipsticks, wearing a dress on top of jeans was a unquestionable and fashionable trend, T-Mobile Sidekicks was today's iPhone SE and JoJo's was everyone's teenage dream.
At the time I was 8 years old, I begged my Mum to let me download 'Leave (Get Out)' as my ringtone on my Nokia 3410 and wished I could be as cool as her when I turned 13 as I eagerly watched the 'Baby It's You' music video fantasising at how cool it would be to be a teenager.
After the release of her second album in 2006, she descended away from the media spotlight. She faced a legal battle for several years with her former record label that went defunct and refused to allow her to release music and own her voice. But over the years, she still released mixtapes and continued working on her music behind the scenes.
Over the years, she's faced her own personal battles and questioning the journey of following her passion - current circumstances like that can cloud your motive. Are you really good enough? Is it ever going to get better? It's moments like those where your perseverance for doing what you love is truly tested.
It was upsetting to see that she wasn't given the platform she formerly had to grow in her success as her vocals went from strength to strength. In her life, she was facing her own personal battles and releasing those emotions in her music, whilst I was facing my own battling depression, anxiety and self esteem issues and I listened to her mixtapes, with songs such as 'Just a Dream' , 'We Get By' and 'All I Want is Everything' to help me get through my battles.
Flash forward 12 years later, JoJo released a 'tringle' and announced a tour in Europe. Excitedly, I bought myself a ticket to see her in concert in London. Which felt like a surreal moment all in itself because the tickets sold out in minutes, and £15 to see your teenage girl crush in concert was a miracle! Mostly, because listening to her music I knew she was going to make a comeback, raise the bar and be back in all her glory on stage where she's meant to be.
So, I went to the concert on my own - something I can't quite believe I had the balls to do since being in social situations alone leaves me anxiety ridden, but it felt like no one remembered who she was to take up on the offer of coming with me.
The concert was spectacular and I would have cancelled my wedding for this concert (yes, I'm being wholeheartedly serious)
The set up was simple - a keyboard player, a drummer, a guitarist and a DJ with JoJo present wearing a denim jumpsuit on a small stage. But the atmosphere was electric, JoJo's vocals soared through the packed venue and her stage presence didn't need embellishments because it reminded everyone why she's a platinum selling recording artist. She's that good. She's pure raw talent.
From performing throwback tracks such as Too Little Too Late, to performing renditions of Pillow Talk and Marvin's Room to her recent releases of 'When Love Hurts', 'Say Love' and 'Save My Soul'.
She ended the night with an encore of her single 'I Am' which appears on her upcoming album which is set to release later this year, she took a moment to share with the audience the inspiration behind the song:
"For a particular while, before I knew what was the fate of my career, if I was going to get free of that contract, if I was going to be able to release music again and do what I love. I was really depressed and for a while I couldn't say positive things about myself, I found myself saying things like "I am broken, I am powerless, I am depressed, I am all of those things.
And someone encouraged me to write down positive things about myself, and at the time I was like "f*ck you, I don't feel any positive things about myself right now, I don't even know who I am right now" but I tried, I started small.
I wrote down "I am.." and then next to it I wrote "I am a good daughter, I am a trustworthy friend, I am worthy of love, I am a child of God" - and it kept getting easier each time, but I'll be honest with you sometimes when i'm singing and I can't hit certain notes I have to remind myself I am still worthy of love, I am still okay, I am still enough. It's a constant journey, it's a constant battle. I hope this speaks to somebody tonight, this song is for me, it's for you "
The whole concert was a representation of the incarnation of JoJo's music career, also her growth in artistry, but most importantly in integrity. The main message that was taken from the concert was empowerment and resilience. Back in 2014, via a Twitter Q&A when I asked what kept her strong during the legal battle she answered "The future. Betting on it, believing in it. Really committed to music for life, knowing it was just part of the story".
In life, we all face battles and seasons of trials and downfalls, but it's how we handle them with grace and persevere in faith through them is what defines us and as uncomfortable as they are, it's in these moments that we grow. They create triumphs that mean much more to us than we ever thought they would, whether that's from reaching a point of finally feel content within and loving towards ourselves to being unable to legally own your voice and being unable to release music to performing in a sold out venue across the Atlantic Ocean, in London.
Your true strength and character is revealed in how you rise up from your battles. Triumph isn't given, it is earned from how you make your comeback into the spotlight and how you show the world that you are ready to return. It's in how you bring light and inspiration by giving your best, authentic self to your craft and audience fearlessly, despite the odds. And JoJo did just that.
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