Last Sunday night, the teen pop star played New Orleans, and photographer Steph Catsoulis was there.
JoJo’s career started in the early 2000s when MTV’s TRL and the teen pop era it escorted into America’s malls and living rooms were starting their decline. She received acclaim in 2004 for the single “Leave (Get Out),” which she recorded when she was 12. The single went gold and earned her MTV Music Award, Billboard Music Award and Radio Disney Music Award nominations (she won the RD for “Best Video That Rocks”).
Since then, JoJo has had one foot in music and one in television. She has appeared on The Bernie Mac Show, American Dreams, Romeo!, Hawaii Five-O and more. She has also toured regularly and visits New Orleans a few times in recent years.
JoJo played a packed Republic Sunday, March 19, and photographer Steph Catsoulis went, as much out of curiosity as anything else. “I had not thought about her since middle school,” she says. “As I stood in the line that wrapped around the outside Republic, I didn't know what to expect from the Mad Love Tour.”
(Click on photos to see them in a viewer)
Mad Love is JoJo's first record since 2004. She dealt with dropping out of a punishing record deal contract in court for quite some time until she signed with Atlantic Records in 2014. Onstage, JoJo made it clear that she wasn't a little girl anymore, as such songs as "F.A.B." (short for "Fake Ass Bitches") and "F*** Apologies" (recorded with Wiz Khalifa) made clear.
Even though she was out on stage declaring her transition into adulthood, the show was ultimately about pleasing the fans. There is Instagram Account for the tour and even a snapchat filter for the event for both JoJo and Stanaj, the opener on the tour. Earlier that day, VIP fans were given the chance to take photos with JoJo at a meet & greet, watch soundcheck, and receive a signed poster and tour laminate. VIP fans were allowed to watched from the balcony, but most opted out to be downstairs with JoJo and the band.
JoJo sat down to run through old tunes and invited the entire room to harmonize and sing along. Not surprisingly, the audience complied, but not to such a degree that it overshadowed her. The vocal talent that got JoJo in the game as a pre-teen is still obvious, and her band dancing and inviting energy made the night undisputedly enjoyable and most importantly, fun.