ENTERTAINMENT
01/26/2016 05:27 pm ET

How A Bad Contract Kept JoJo From Owning Her Own Voice

The voice behind "Leave (Get Out)" is back with new, deeply personal music

After years and years of literal radio silence following her 2004 hit "Leave (Get Out)," JoJo's comeback is in full effect -- and it includes a frank explanation of why she was forced out of the spotlight for a decade.

"I wasn't able to release music for a long time," JoJo told HuffPost Live on Tuesday during a conversation about her long-awaited new songs. "I was in a bad contract, and the label I was with didn't have distribution and I wasn't able to release anything. I didn't own my voice. So I was stuck in a situation where I just felt like my hands were tied, and they were."

JoJo explained that it was easy for her record company to hold her back using the contract she signed at just 12 years old. She couldn't understand the "legal mumbo-jumbo" in it, she said, and neither could her mother, who acted as her manager with no experience in the wheeling and dealing of the music business.

"My mom was managing me, and we're from a small town in Massachusetts. She was cleaning houses before she was managing me," she said. "We just didn't know what we were getting into, so it's natural that you might be in a situation over your head." 

The entire experience left her with one valuable piece of advice for anyone breaking into the entertainment industry: "Make sure you're lawyered up."

Watch JoJo discuss her personal new music (below), and catch the full HuffPost Live interview.

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