When you think of R&B in the ’90s and 2000s, it’s impossible not to include crooner JoJo Hailey. With songs like “Crazy,” “All My Life,” “Stay,” and “Forever My Lady,” Hailey’s voice has been a mainstay on the musical landscape for decades. Although he publicly struggled with sobriety in the past, there were a few things that remained constant in his life, his love for his family, and his love for music. Now, thanks to both, Hailey has made a major step in independence and he along with his wife Tashaunda “Lady T” Hailey to start the family record label, JT Entertainment.
Rolling out caught up with the R&B legend to discuss his latest single, his label, and how his family’s legacy is being forged with his new business endeavor.
Let’s talk about your latest project “Special.” What was the inspiration behind it?
“Special” is a universal love song with a mid-tempo beat. “All My Life” was more of a slow love song, but it’s based on the same concept, which is love. That’s all I write … love songs. It’s what I enjoy. I love to express my feelings and emotions through song.
How do you actively seek inspiration, or does it find you?
I’ve never been asked that question before, it’s a mindset, basically. If the music is right with my producer Michael Bell, we just vibe. We can be sitting in the studio and he can start a track and he will work on it, and I’ll start writing to that music. You can feel the music. The next thing you know, [lyrics] form. It’s truly an amazing thing. Once we find a topic and we drill down on it, it’s transcendent. If you don’t have a topic, you don’t have anything to talk about. Once I’m in my zone I’m there.
Can you tell us about your new record label?
Yes. God has blessed my wife and I. We decided to give it a shot and we thought maybe we can change with some of the music that’s being played now. On our label we have our daughters; Kayla Tiffany, Sakoya Wynter and our nephew [K-Ci’s son] Devin Haley. The way they are tackling music — they are making love songs — so it’s a newer sound with old school ideals. Maybe with JT Entertainment, we can open up the listeners’ eyes and broaden their minds a bit more.
How does it feel to have your own label?
That’s the beauty of it, we make our own decisions, it’s very collaborative. My wife and I talk with the kids and we let them have a choice. It’s wonderful really, no middle man, we agree, we pray and we let God guide us. But it’s great because I can help guide my family, tell them which turns not to make and be a mentor for the next generation.