NEW YORK — It's practically become a rite of passage for teen pop stars — if you want to cross over to the big screen, it might help to channel a little Joan Jett. That's what Britney Spears did in "Crossroads," when she sang along to "I Love Rock 'N Roll," and now JoJo follows suit, in her upcoming film debut, "R.V."
"I made a conscious decision not to play a singer in a movie, so I'm definitely not [singing for real]," she said. "But in one of the scenes, I have to put on an iPod and just sing very off-key to a song I had no idea existed before, a song by Joan Jett. It's so out of character for me!"
Just don't ask her which song, because she can't remember. Is it "I Love Rock 'N Roll"? "No..." "Crimson and Clover"? "I don't remember! It's a lesser known song, but it was great," she said.
The 14-year-old singer/actress, who was honored in New York on Tuesday by CosmoGirl! at the magazine's Born to Lead Awards, finds it "weird" that although she shot "Aquamarine" first, her second film, "R.V.," will be considered her movie debut ("JoJo Gushes About 'R.V.' Adventure With Robin Williams"). "R.V." was shot this summer in Vancouver, British Columbia, and will be out in March. Meanwhile, "Aquamarine" was shot last year in Australia, but will be out one month later, in April (see "JoJo Says She's No Lindsay Lohan, Scrambles To Ready Herself For 'Aquamarine' "). "It all gets turned around really quick, huh?" she joked.
Now that she's got two films in the can, JoJo's returned to work on her first love, music. For the first time in two and a half years, she's hunkering down in the recording studio, collaborating with "some great people" — people she wants to keep a mystery for now. And no, it's not necessarily Dr. Dre (see "JoJo Says She's 'Not That Kind Of Girl,' Wants Dr. Dre For Next Album")." "I want it to be right when it comes out," she teased. "I really want it to be special and surprising. I'm going to have to leave it to your imagination!"
Still, she couldn't help but gush a little bit about her sophomore effort. "It's so incredible; I'm so excited about the direction I'm going in. The new songs sound great, mmwah," she said, making a kissing noise. "I cannot wait for you to hear them. It's just a natural progression, as far as the maturity of vocal, the maturity of lyrics I'm writing as well."
Part of that newfound musical maturity includes using live instruments, because "that's really important for me," she said. Her first single for the still-untitled album is called "Too Little, Too Late," and is due to hit radio in January.
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