Grey Goose and the Grammys have teamed up for a new three-part series, “Monday Mix,” leading up to the awards April 3 in Las Vegas. The series kicks off today, March 14, with JoJo.
In the 12-minute video, premiering here, the pop star singer/songwriter starts the show with a soulful, stripped-down performance of “Think About You.” Following the performance she sits down with host Law Roach, the Grammys’ “Style Partner.”
Over the course of their conversation JoJo talks about her new EP, Trying Not To Think About It, style and more. Before the premiere today I spoke with JoJo, while she was in Austin for South By Southwest about her Grey Goose drinks of choice, her current Frank Sinatra fandom and why she is enjoying music now more than ever.
Steve Baltin: Where are you playing tonight?
JoJo: The show is in Austin, Texas tonight. So we just rolled in this morning. The city is lit up, they are so excited to have South By back. I’m in the mix of it all. It feels good, the energy is great.
Baltin: Are you a South By veteran?
JoJo: I have played before. I love it, it’s one of my favorite festivals.
Baltin: It does feel like we went from zero to 60 in like two seconds.
JoJo: That’s exactly right. There definitely was a time two years ago where I questioned if we’d ever be able to play live shows again.
Baltin: Where did you fall on the Rorschach Test of missing playing shows?
JoJo: What a great way of putting it, such a visual analogy of how it felt. But touring has been such a huge part of my adult life. Yes, my teenage life and career, but it’s really what’s kept me alive and kept me going and allowed me to build relationship and community with my fans. So to not be able to have that connection and perform these songs live and get that feedback, it literally had me questioning a lot about myself. Just not being in the practice of doing it I’m like, “Can I even do this anymore?” I wonder if any other artists have echoed that same sentiment cause if you haven’t done something in a couple of years it’s like getting back in the saddle.
Baltin: Yes, a lot of artists echoed that and also felt like they wanted to tour now in new ways.
JoJo: Similarly to that, as many stamps I have in my passport I can’t say that I really got the chance to explore all that many places as far as really breaking out and spending time. So at the end of my European dates I hope to be able to spend a little time in Italy or France or Sweden and god willing, we’ll see how that goes.
Baltin: What is the one place you’d want to camp out the longest?
JoJo: I really love Ireland, I love Scotland, so I would love to spend a little bit more time there.
Baltin: Those places do have a rich history of enjoying their libations, so that leads nicely into a partnership with Grey Goose.
JoJo: Listen, I’m a fan of celebration. I haven’t always been the best at celebrating myself, but the older I get and the more perspective I have on how amazing it is to get to live this life the more I’m like, “When we got out, we’re celebrating, we’re doing it right.” When I was in my college age I used to drink anything and I’m so not that girl now. When it comes to like a good spirit it’s important. That’s why this partnership with Grey Goose felt like a super easy, no brainer to me. We have choices and I want to feel good about what it is I’m drinking.
Baltin: What is the celebration song?
JoJo: The first one that comes to mind is Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink To That).” That’s probably the first one that comes to mind, it gives me like that Irish pub vibe. But on a classy tip “The Best Is Yet To Come,” Frank Sinatra. If I’m sipping a martini that’s the vibe. So I’ve been in my Sinatra bag lately I must say.
Baltin: What is the ultimate Grey Goose drink? And is there like a JoJo Grey Goose drink?
JoJo: Ooh, I love this. So everybody has their take on a Martini, but I like mine classic and strong. It’s pretty filthy. Some like it with a twist with lemon, I definitely like mine with olives. And if I’m feeling particularly like I want to really go out and celebrate, I try not to do any berry or cheese, but I do love a bleu cheese-stuffed olive. So I would have a super filthy Grey Goose martini. Olive brine, vermouth, chilled, shaken and, to me, a really nice glass is important as well. I love to have the proper glass for whatever type of drink it is, whether it’s a martini or whatever type of drink I’m having. So filthy, chilled and they have to be fresh olives.
Baltin: So that is the companion drink to listening to Sinatra?
JoJo: Exactly, you can picture it as I do. I just to love think of the Rat Pack getting together and being impossibly fly.
Baltin: Who would be your dream Grammy duet?
JoJo: What I love about the Grammys is how they bring all genres together and how I end up learning about different albums or different acts that I wasn’t familiar with until I turned into the show. So I would love to do a collaboration across genres, one that is not in pop or R&B. I would love to duet with somebody like Chris Stapleton or Jimmie Allen or Mickey Guyton, someone who is in the country world. Or even people more in the rock space. I think what’s going on in rock and alternative is really cool. I just love playing and singing and having fun. So I’d love to step up to any type of talent and cover any song or duet with anyone.
Baltin: You mentioned getting older. Are you enjoying things more as you get older and you can do things like this partnership just for fun?
JoJo: One hundred percent. I have a perspective on what it means to live this life that I couldn’t have had when I first started out in my career. And I understand the balance between work and play and between work and personal. All of it matters — the hard work, the discipline and the celebration. The planning and being more on the fly. That only comes with age I think and making a lot of choices and then figuring out what works for you. So I’m having more fun than I ever had. And I think that’s because I understand how anything can be taken away. Nothing is promised. We’re not owed anything. We’re so lucky to be able to live a musical, creative life of travel and expression and hanging out with people who are making cool things and carving their own paths.
Baltin: Are there people that you look to or you’ve become friends with that you admire for the way they have gone through the ups and downs of fame?
JoJo: Yeah, there are a lot of people that we’ve kind of grown up together in this industry. And we’re able to look at each other either from a distance or close up at various times. I think of my friend Tori Kelly, Keke Palmer, Demi Lovato, Alessia Cara and it’s just wonderful to run into them or to talk with them and know that we’ve had some shared experiences of starting so young, having the longevity that we’ve had and growing up and figuring ourselves out in this experience. And it definitely is unique, but none of us are alone in it. We’ve all had something that we can bond over. And as far as musically I just think now is the best possible time to be yourself. I think there are way less rules and way less restrictions and confinement and I think the power is getting back in the hands of the artists, which is a really exciting thing. I just want to continue to be a part of that. I think ownership is a big thing, I like to see people taking things into their own hands. I think it is a great time to be a woman in music and a person in music in general.