When it came time to cast a male lead for JoJo's "Too Little, Too Late" video, the bubbly singer — who'll be turning 16 in December — decided it had to be an unknown. Not a model or a trained actor, but a regular Joe.
"I thought it brought more of a real feel to the video," JoJo said of the two-timing, soccer-playing scoundrel she pines for — and eventually kicks to the curb — in the clip. "We had great onscreen chemistry too. But the video's just about moving on."
The High Road, the follow-up to JoJo's 2004 platinum, self-titled debut, drops October 17. JoJo debuted at #4 on Billboard's album sales chart the week after its release, selling close to 95,000 copies; the disc has gone on to sell more than 1.3 million units.
JoJo said she wanted to work with just one man to help bring her "Too Little" vision to life on the small screen: director Chris Robinson, who has helmed videos for DMX, T.I., Snoop, Nelly and Jay-Z.
"He was my first choice," JoJo explained. "We collaborated on this idea, and it was his idea to incorporate sports into the video. My first thought was American football, but he said, 'Think about it on an international level. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world.' And I said, 'Perfect,' because I am a soccer fan."
In the video, JoJo spots her boyfriend — played by UCLA student Mike Zaher, a defender on the school's soccer team — flirting shamelessly with a blonde inside a house party. She spends much of the rest of the clip staring out her bedroom window, mulling over the situation as rain trickles down the glass. By the end of it, she's decided it's time to take out the trash and ditches the double-crossing dude.
In creating The High Road, JoJo enlisted songwriters Diane Warren and Billy Steinberg, as well as producers Scott Storch, Timbaland, Swizz Beatz and Jermaine Dupri. About 25 songs were recorded for the effort, which she describes is a mix of hip-hop, R&B and pop (see "JoJo Works Her Mojo, Nabs Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland For New LP").
And, of course, JoJo's just itching to hit the High road either late in the fall or this winter, and can't wait to play the new material live.
"I just put a band together — my first band — and I'm in the process of putting a tour together," she explained. "I'll also be doing a lot of [local] radio station shows. It's just always fun to get back out there."
JoJo's also plotting her next move as an actress. She appeared in two films this year — "Aquamarine," about a mermaid who falls in love with a finless lifeguard, and "RV," in which she starred alongside Robin Williams, who takes his dysfunctional family on a road trip to the Colorado Rockies.
"I'm just reading scripts right now," she said. "I'm really focused on this album, because I spent nine months making it. I don't want to just throw it out there and let it be. I want to take time to do movies, and I want to take time to do music — but I want to take time to do them separately."