Interview: K-Ci and JoJo Talk Recording New Music, Influencing a Generation, Possible Jodeci Reunion
K-Ci and JoJo. Jodeci. The histories of the two groups are pretty much synonymous for all r&b fans over the past 25 years. Their legacy’s? Timeless. When K-Ci and JoJo left Jodeci to form their own duo, it was a risky move but came with great success as they were able to cross over into the mainstream, reaching greater heights than Jodeci ever had. Even though they haven’t released an album in the U.S. in over a decade, the group is still in high demand, performing sold out shows across the globe. Due to their history of timeless music, they could comfortably make a career touring the rest of their lives, but to the delight of fans, they plan to release a new album this year. Is there still a place in r&b for new music from K-Ci and JoJo today? Well, the group is re-energized and refocused on proving there is. YouKnowIGotSoul sat down with them while they were in NYC after a recent performance and discussed what to expect on the new album, the goal now in creating new music, the original decision to leave Jodeci, if there will ever be a reunion, and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Your new album is slated for Fall 2013. It’ll be your first U.S. project in over a decade. What can we expect on this album?
JoJo: On this album right here, my brother and I just wanted to keep it the same because everything except the music has changed throughout the years. We just wanted to keep it pretty much simple and just try to bring back the R&B feel because it seems a lot of people have lost it. Just expect K-Ci and myself doing what we do, you’ll hear love songs. It’s kind of weird because we started with a mid-tempo this time.
K-Ci: And it’s still sexy! *Laughs*
YouKnowIGotSoul: Has your creative process changed at all since you guys started out with Jodeci?
K-Ci: In the Jodeci days and early K-Ci & JoJo days, we were younger and now we’re older with it. We’ve looked over our life and our past and we’re taking this more passionately now. We’re just doing it grown and sexy now. I mean we were doing it grown and sexy back then too, but now that we’re older, it’s just a little different.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You guys have had platinum sales and number one singles. What is the goal for you guys now?
K-Ci: To keep our fans.
JoJo: Yeah exactly our fans or we’d like to call friends. We pretty much just want to keep doing good music. We just want to do what we do and hopefully the fans and friends will just keep the support. We’re not trying to be too extra, we just want to be K-Ci & JoJo.
YouKnowIGotSoul: With the success you’ve had, it’s afforded you the opportunity to tour overseas and in the U.S. Have you found that your fans are craving new music from you guys?
K-Ci: We’re just blessed that we still have our friends. They’ve grown with us and we just want to continue doing what we do best which is doing great music and satisfying our friends.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’ve influenced so many of today’s generation. What does it mean to you have influenced a whole generation?.
K-Ci: Like we always say, we’re blessed. We’re just happy that those guys are still with us and never gave up on us even though we made mistakes in the past. You guys have grown with us and you guys have made mistakes too. You just have to learn by your mistakes and we’re just happy that everybody is still feeling us.
JoJo: As far as the influence we’ve had, it’s an honor that a lot of these groups such as Dru Hill, Jagged Edge and Ginuwine and everybody. We’re like one tight-knight family and I’m happy for their success and they were able to learn something from us.
YouKnowIGotSoul: When you guys originally left Jodeci and became K-Ci & JoJo, were there any concerns that it wouldn’t work out? I know Jodeci had a very loyal following.
JoJo: It kind of scared K-Ci the most because my manager Damon Jones took me out of the loop because I didn’t really write on Jodeci’s albums, but I composed and did harmonies. When my manager came to me and asked me to write for a certain artist and it worked out. K-Ci was more nervous than me.
K-Ci: I was nervous because I was so used to that Jodeci thing, but on another hand, I was still working with my brother. Everybody knows that we were doing all the vocals anyway so it was different, but it really wasn’t that different. After the first CD, I was like “Yo we have something here!” Not saying we didn’t have anything with Jodeci, but we grew up and grew out of Jodeci. We got more mature.
JoJo: Anther thing is that we crossed over, so it made it much easier. It’s funny because a lot of people don’t connect the dots that K-Ci & JoJo are a part of Jodeci. It’s like a whole different entity. It’s the same sound, but we came from this to that.
K-Ci: It came from boots to suits. *Laughs*
YouKnowIGotSoul: You guys released an album in Japan back in 2008. What is the music scene in Japan compared to here in the U.S.?
K-Ci: Trust me, Japan is very talented. That was a big test for us because they had to translate the lyrics for us because we took 10 songs from 10 of the biggest hits in Japan and had to do them in English. That was a big challenge and we overcame it. We had fun doing it, but at the same time we were sweating bullets.
JoJo: Don’t get it twisted, over in Japan and all those other countries, they listen to Hip Hop, R&B, Country.
YouKnowIGotSoul: We had a chance to speak to Fantasia recently. She talked about how big it was being raised in a musical family. What was it like living in a musical family and what was the impact of it?
K-Ci: It was like one big happy choir. We just do what we do. When we get together, we don’t want to outsing each other, but we want to outshine the other.
JoJo: Oh we used to have some battles!
K-Ci: Oh yeah, that’s going to happen. I did come up on top most of the time. *Laughs* Our family is just blessed just to have a music-oriented family. It’s just a lovely thing.
YouKnowIGotSoul: We always hear the rumors of a Jodeci reunion. Do you see that happening?
JoJo: I don’t think there’s going to be a Jodeci reunion right now. It may happen something down the line, but at this current date and time, I don’t really see it happening anytime soon.
K-Ci: We’re still friends though, still brothers.