by Howard Campbell
PHILADELPHIA – During a round of domestic duties, singer JoJo Mac was hit by a burst of inspiration that resulted in her latest song, the spiritual Greater Power.
“I was standing by the kitchen sink and thinking about my journey in music, and out of the blue I started singing, ‘I believe in a greater power’,” she recalled. “I recorded it on my phone immediately, then I later constructed it.”
Produced by Hopeton Brown for his Nyah Bless Music, Greater Power was released in May. Though she is not religious, the song puts the Philadelphia-based artist’s 25-year career and personal life into perspective.
“The real inspiration was really the despondency that was eating at me. Me questioning myself on where I was going wrong and telling myself that as long as I keep the faith, I will get there,” said JoJo Mac.
From Clarendon in rural Jamaica, Joan McKenzie (her real name) has covered a lot of ground musically. She migrated to Washington DC in 1983 and kicked off her career a decade later with Hard And Soft, an album produced by Duckie Simpson of Black Uhuru.
JoJo Mac toured for two years with that Grammy-winning group and has recorded four albums to date. She has done songs for various producers including Clement Dodd of the legendary Studio One, and several independent labels in the United States and Europe.
Though she composes most of her songs, her biggest hits are covers of Roland Burrell’s Stormy Night and Joy White’s Dread Out Deh.
As she promotes Greater Power, JoJo Mac is determined to help her sisters in what remains a male-dominated industry.
“I have a label that is intended to be an all-woman label…it’s called Bella Bella Records. But I do not think it’s fair to start producing others while I am still trying to get both feet in the door,” she said. “I would not be able to give them the attention they deserve with me pushing myself at this point. But it will happen.”