JoJo will headline this year’s spring concert on April 15 at 8:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall, the Muhlenberg Activities Council (MAC) announced.
JoJo is a singer-songwriter originally from Foxborough, Mass. Taking the stage as a child, she showcased her critically acclaimed vocals by performing Aretha Franklin covers on national television at the age of eight. She released some of her hit songs such as “Leave (Get Out)” and “Too Little Too Late” before her sweet sixteen. “Leave (Get Out),” her debut single, reached number one on the United States Billboard pop songs chart when she was just thirteen years old, earning her the distinction of being the youngest solo artist to top the chart.
Additionally, performing as an opener, JoJo has toured alongside artists like Joe Jonas, Jay Sean and Fifth Harmony.
JoJo has sold more than seven million albums worldwide, but has not released new music since late 2016. In addition to her music career, JoJo experienced success in her acting career as well, making her feature film debut in “Aquamarine” and “RV,” with the late Robin Williams, in 2006.
JoJo joins the list of blast-from-the-past artists slated to perform at Muhlenberg’s spring concert – Kris Allen, Jeremih, Jesse McCartney and Smash Mouth – but she was not the original choice of headliner.
For most students, the formal process that goes into selecting a performer for the yearly concert isn’t openly disclosed, but it’s not a secret either. Years ago, students were sent an electronic survey via email where they would be prompted to vote for a potential act. This method hasn’t been used in years and MAC is now primarily responsible for brainstorming, selecting and booking an artist.
“MAC has an agent that they reach out to every year and that agent gives us a list of performers that are already touring and might be in our region of Pennsylvania,” said Matt Itzkowitz ‘19, Vice President of MAC. “There’s a concert board – which is all of MAC’s e-board as well as any additional students that want to be a part of concert board – and from the artists that we’re given, we bring them our top choices. For there, we have our agent reach out to the artists in the order we chose them. If the top artist isn’t available, then he’ll reach out to the next one.”
MAC hopes that announcing JoJo as the headliner wasn’t “Too Little Too Late.”
While the original artist selections are chosen by MAC members, Itzkowitz wanted to make it clear that the student group strives to select a performer that would be popular among most students and not their personal favorite.
“We try to think about what will get the most attention and notoriety around campus. We’re considering what the student body as a whole would want as an artist, rather than just our personal opinions,”said Itzkowitz.
Even through careful planning and selective process of securing an artist issues that impede upon the availability of the performer are bound to occur sometimes. Originally, Clean Bandit, a Grammy Award-winning classical crossover electronic music group from the United Kingdom, was scheduled to perform. However, on March 13, two days before MAC planned to announce the concert headliner, Clean Bandit cancelled their U.S. tour after their drummer required foot surgery.
“It was supposed to be announced that Clean Bandit was the artist,” said Itzkowitz. “We were kind of scrambling to see who was available on short notice to come to Muhlenberg. After looking around at different artists, JoJo was the one artist that was available to come on such short notice, with less than a month to go. We know the announcement was very late, but we were waiting on her and her team’s approval to make the announcement.”
After Clean Bandit’s cancellation, it came down to JoJo or no artist whatsoever, so at the end of the day, JoJo will keep the spring concert tradition alive.
After debuting a new brand for Muhlenberg’s annual spring concert last year in an attempt to create an experience rather than the concert being solely about the artist, MAC has decided to move away from ‘Uproar’ and stick with simply the Muhlenberg Spring Concert.
“Our goal was initially to create a name and keep using it each year so that regardless of who the artist was, students would think ‘We’re going to Uproar’ and would get excited about the event, in case there was an artist they weren’t as excited about,” said Itzkowitz. “In theory, Uproar would have more than just music there – it would be a festival-type experience, but ultimately we didn’t like the name all that much. We’re sticking with the Muhlenberg Spring Concert because everyone knows what that is and we think it will still gather enough students.”
Despite essentially telling ‘Uproar’ to “Leave (Get Out),” MAC hopes that announcing JoJo as the headliner wasn’t “Too Little Too Late.”