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JoJo Hailey Interview: New Single “Special”, Going Solo & State of Jodeci

It seems like JoJo Hailey has always found no matter what he decided to do. Jodeci is regarded as one of the most influential R&B groups of all time and the success of K-Ci & JoJo is not something you can downplay either as they are a multi-platinum selling act as a duo. The “All My Life” is branching out now as a solo artist which is led by his new single “Special”. YouKnowIGotSoul had a chance to speak to the legendary singer about his new single as well his journey with Jodeci and K-Ci & JoJo. We also talk about the state of Jodeci and what his thoughts were on their latest project “The Past, The Present, The Future”.

YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about your new single that you just dropped.

JoJo Hailey: The single is called “Special” and it’s a song that was produced by my good friend and producer Michael Bell. The song is basically a happy love song. Instead of ballads like “All My Life”, it’s talking about the same thing, but you can bop your head and ride to it. It’s talking about the special person in your life whether it’s him, her or it.

YouKnowIGotSoul: This song doesn’t necessarily sound like “All My Life” or any Jodeci songs. It’s sort of in between those worlds, was that intentional on your end?

JoJo Hailey: Yes! I have a lot to say and I really want people to feel my compassion and how I’m thinking about being loved and sharing love. It’s just seeing the lighter side of JoJo for a moment.

YouKnowIGotSoul: Take me through the timeline of going solo because we never thought you would do that.

JoJo Hailey: Things happened and it got to happen where I told my wife that I wanted to do something. Jodeci was off and K-Ci & JoJo was off for a minute, so we started out our company called JT Entertainment. It involves my kids and one of my nephews. I wanted to do something different. I want the world to see me for me and as me, so I just said “What the hell? Let me put this out there”. I never had any intentions of doing a solo project, but then when I got started doing the project, I was really writing songs for K-Ci and myself. I started getting into it more and I started becoming me and I felt that. I love that feeling and I said “You know what? I’m going to keep going”. I never thought I would go solo, but I just thank God that I’m in the position that I am in now.

YouKnowIGotSoul: How does this compare to when you and your brother branched out from Jodeci to become K-Ci & JoJo? You mentioned previously that was a nervous time for you. Does this feel like a new beginning or are you seasoned enough to understand that you’ve been through changes before?

JoJo Hailey: A little of both. I’m seasoned enough because I have been through a big change from Jodeci to K-Ci & JoJo. That was when I was really beginning to find myself when it came to writing and expressing myself through songs and words. I am well seasoned, but it’s new and I’m kind of nervous about it. But I know a lot of people that have some kind of love for ol’ JoJo, so I’m happy.

YouKnowIGotSoul: We’re so used to you and K-Ci going back and forth on the vocals. Did it take you some time to find your voice and understand that you could do it on your own?

JoJo Hailey: You ask wonderful questions and you’re right. It took me awhile and I still miss my brother saying “Sing it JoJo!”. I miss that a lot, but I said “You just have to block that out and get used to it”. It was kind of hard, but I feel good and I love where I am today with that.

YouKnowIGotSoul: What’s exciting about this single is that on the last Jodeci album, we didn’t hear a lot of JoJo vocals on it. Are you excited to showcase your vocals again?

JoJo Hailey: I’m very excited about that! It gave me more time to be more creative and find myself and be happy with it. I’m comfortable with this lane that I’m in today.

YouKnowIGotSoul: A lot of people are curious on how you feel about that last Jodeci album “The Past, The Present, The Future”?

JoJo Hailey: To be honest, I feel like we weren’t in a good place when that album was being worked on. Everybody was somewhere else, so we didn’t take the time to figure it out and plan it out. To me that was just another Jodeci album. Did I feel it was a tremendous one of Jodeci’s albums? No, it wasn’t. There was a lot that was left out. You just have to take it in stride and keep moving forward.

YouKnowIGotSoul: Recently I’ve seen some Jodeci shows where it’s just yourself and Mr. Dalvin. What’s the state of Jodeci?

JoJo Hailey: I love my brothers. We love one another, but right now I’m just concentrating on JoJo.

YouKnowIGotSoul: The one thing we’ve always admired about Jodeci and K-Ci & JoJo are the harmonies that you guys came up with. Can you talk about those harmonies?

JoJo Hailey: I’m going to take that as a big compliment. The way Jodeci was formed, Devante did the music and wrote the songs and I did all the vocal arranging. Like half of the songs that you’ve heard, even on K-Ci & JoJo albums, that’s all me doing the backgrounds. I love creating harmonies. In my head it’s like I’m matching colors with melody. I love that part! That’s basically what I love to do. And once again, I feel so good about my solo project right now because I get to be even more creative.

YouKnowIGotSoul: On average how many tracks would you guys have done to record a harmony back in the day?

JoJo Hailey: I’d be giving you my secret if I tell you that. *Laughs* Put it this way though, it’s multiple stacks. I can do one note and make that one note sound like a choir because multiple stacks is the key.

YouKnowIGotSoul: Do you look at the legacies of Jodeci and K-Ci & JoJo as separate entities or as one?

JoJo Hailey: Jodeci and K-Ci & JoJo is one big family. It’s different rooms in the house, but we live together. It’s just equal to me. Jodeci is love and we always sang about love. Those are the only songs I know how to write because I can speak so highly about it. I can because I hope I’m a lovable person and I know I love to be loved. I also have a lot of love to give.

YouKnowIGotSoul: One thing that’s really cool about K-Ci & JoJo is that you guys crossed over to the Pop world with “All My Life” and “Crazy”. What were those discussions like when you guys decided to go to that K-Ci & JoJo route?

JoJo Hailey: There was actually no conversation. It was more like “Jodeci is taking a break. K-Ci, what are you doing?”. We didn’t want to be bored, so we went in the studio and let God handle everything. There was nothing planned. Especially with going Pop, “All My Life” wasn’t even supposed to go on that album. I wrote that song for my daughter and that was just a demo. The radio station in Hawaii picked it up and it knocked out of the park. It was unexpected. That’s why “All My Life” wasn’t sold as a single, it was just on the album. Then we were forced to perform that song because everyone loved it. We ran with it though! Radio picked it up and thank you Jesus! We like calling our fans our friends and by crossing over, we made new friends and I love it.

YouKnowIGotSoul: You’ve been doing a lot of shows whether it’s as Jodeci or K-Ci & JoJo, what kind of love do you get from artists that came up after you guys?

JoJo Hailey: I love all of my peers and I don’t have any enemies. There is no room for that in this world. They always respect us. When we have shows and we’re walking backstage, they’re all very excited and welcoming. They really give us our respect and it makes us feel needed and recognized.

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