Leaks, Covers & Mixtapes


Malia Civetz

Wed, June 13, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$25.00 - $28.00

This event is all ages

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JoJo is resilient. That's the message that comes through loud and clear when you listen to Mad Love., her debut album with Atlantic Records and her first LP in ten years. She's empowered. She's in control. And she's grown as hell.

You can hear it in her Wiz Khalifa-assisted lead single, "Fuck Apologies." It's a powerful statement of intent that announces to the world that the singer-songwriter isn't going to let anyone make her feel small.

"As a woman, I find myself apologizing for things that I really don't need to apologize for," JoJo says. "Even as simple as when someone bumps into you." She laughs. "Guess what? I'm not sorry you bumped into me. Overall, though, the song to me is an anthem of empowerment. It's about being confident and comfortable enough with who you are to live unapologetically."

Themes of hard-won independence and strength are vividly realized on Mad Love., which swerves from slinky alt-R&B to exultant pop bangers and back again. It's no surprise, given that JoJo, now 25, had a heavy hand in writing the entire album after first attempting to cut tracks penned by outsiders.

"I was starting to lose myself in the process of being sent songs," she says. "But I stood up and remembered that I'm a songwriter, and I want to be heard."

Truly finding her voice was a journey that's taken a lifetime. Born Joanna Levesque and raised in Massachusetts, she notched a #1 hit on the Billboard Pop Songs chart with her debut single, "Leave (Get Out)," when she was only 13; she was the youngest solo artist to have a #1 single in the U.S. She followed it up with a string of additional singles, most notably "Too Little Too Late," another Top 3 smash, and the hit album The High Road in 2006. "Being a child star is a weird thing because your identity is put onto you," she says. "As much of an individual as I was, I still had a lot of cooks in the kitchen telling me where to go and how to dress and what songs to record."

It didn't help that she was trapped in a deal with a label that was defunct, which kept her from releasing music commercially. As the years passed, she earned a devoted following online releasing free mixtapes featuring tracks from top hitmakers like Boi-1da, Chad Hugo of the Neptunes and Da Internz. She collaborated, too, with the producer Noah "40" Shebib on her critically acclaimed single, "Demonstrate," and had guest features on Timbaland's Shock Value 2 and Pharrell Williams' Grammy-nominated album G I R L. She was finally liberated from her contract in 2013 after 2 lawsuits and seven years of limbo and signed anew with Atlantic.

In 2015, she released a critically acclaimed trio of singles -- she called it a "tringle" -- to give fans a first taste of the sound she'd been developing with tunesmiths such as Harmony Samuels, Benny Blanco, Wayne Hector and Jason Evigan. Ever prolific, she recorded dozens of songs. But a series of major life events -- including the passing of her beloved father and a break-up -- inspired her to start fresh at the top of 2016 when conceptualizing the vibe of her first studio album in a decade. Life was too short and she wanted to be in the driver's seat. "After losing my father and breaking up with my boyfriend," she says, "I realized: I cannot keep listening to the opinions of others." So she started writing again. "I needed it to come from my pen, in a way I would say it," she says. "I felt like my spirit would die if I didn't come across with my own point of view. It just poured out of me."

It comes as no surprise, then, that there's so much authenticity and vitality in Mad Love.; it's a document of a young woman finding her way in the world. She's vulnerable on the opening track "Music," a spare piano ballad that allows the singer to show off her spine-chilling vocal chops as she recalls her blue-collar roots and pays homage to her late father. "Usually I'm crazily obsessive about chasing my best performance when I'm cutting vocals," she says. "But for 'Music,' I put my perfectionist ego aside and did a couple takes all the way through, singing through my tears. The emotion was more important to me than anything else." She's emotional, too, on the haunting "I Am," the only song from her earlier sessions to make the album. "This song is my mantra," she says."

But she turns up the volume on the self-empowering Alessia Cara-assisted "I Can Only," asks a male suitor to politely stop killing her vibe on the head-nodding uptempo "Vibe," and demolishes the hater-industrial complex on "FAB," (which stands for Fake Ass Bitches) featuring Remy Ma. For devotees of the woozy R&B slow jams from her JoJo's mixtapes, there's something here too -- namely "Edibles," a sultry ode to cannabis consumption that's bound to be a fan favorite. And on the swooning, doo-wop-inspired title track, the singer commits so fully to retro soul she sounds transported from another era.

If it sounds like there's a lot of ground covered here, there is -- which is exactly what JoJo wanted. She called the album Mad Love. because it's the first thing that feels like it's 100% her voice. "This album is passionate, crazy, vulnerable and all about the thing that keeps us going -- love," she says. "It's inspired by the music I grew up listening to -- and like my generation, refuses to be put in a box. I tried so many things along the way, but I realized I needed to be true to myself and do this on my own terms."

Now, she's ready to turn it over to the fans who have stuck with her after a full decade of challenges. "I don't want them to experience me," she says. "I want them to experience themselves. This music is for you. Listen to this in your car, do your workout with it, get ready to it, cry to it. It comes from my life, but it's not for me anymore." She smiles. "It's for everyone."
Malia Civetz
Malia Civetz
You could say there are two sides to Malia Civetz.

Spending her formative years on the Big Island of Hawaii, the pop singer and songwriter emanates the endless empathy she uncovered rooted under the sun, sand, and surf at four-years-old. Simultaneously, the artist shines just as brightly as the lights on the Las Vegas Strip where she hit the stage four years later. This duality ultimately courses through her music. With a mile-long vocal range, spotlight-grabbing delivery, cleverly personal lyrics, and confidence for days, the artist emerged in 2017 with a show-stopping style steeped in swaggering R&B and skyscraper-size pop. Within a few months of her arrival, she earned a spot on the playlist of early champion Taylor Swift, and Ryan Seacrest debuted her first single “Champagne Clouds” on his KIIS FM “On Air With Ryan” show and predicted, “You’re going to hear about Malia—a lot.”

So, get to know her…

“I don’t separate myself from the artist you see on stage,” she explains. “In terms of personality, I’m a combination of Hawaiian and Las Vegas ideologies. I believe as long as you’re kind to yourself and others, you’ll have a wonderful life. That comes from the islands. I also love neon signs, shiny clothes, jewelry, feathers, putting on a show, and the extravagance of Vegas. My aesthetic is ‘Las Vegas on a beach.’ Musically, it’s a relatable, urban vibe. I just want to connect with as many listeners as I can.”

That connection to the audience can be traced back to her time in Hawaii. Reflecting on early memories of living in a hotel as a toddler, she often slipped out of her chair at dinner to join the hula dancers or house bands, while her parents—who worked in the island’s hotel business—looked on. A few months after her fifth birthday, the family had moved to Las Vegas. As a child, she caught her first musical, 42nd Street, and witnessed the Céline Dion residency in addition to numerous larger-than-life productions on the Strip and beyond.

Heading to the stage as part of various singing groups by eight, she soon found herself belting out “Orange Colored Sky” and other Great American Songbook standards around town at iconic spots like The Bootlegger Bistro, the Suncoast Showroom, and Stirling Club. As her profile grew, she ended up singing the National Anthem for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Kings, and Galaxy. She caught the attention of Vegas show biz royalty Kelly Clinton-Holmes and Clint Holmes and they became like her musical parents. Taking her powerful voice back East, she would hit the stage at the Apollo Theater as a “Star of Tomorrow” at 13.

Her voice has also been heard with symphonies across the country as well. Collaborating with composer Steve Hackman on mash-up performances “Beethoven & Coldplay”, “Tchaikovsky & Drake”, and more, she has performed as a featured vocalist with the Indianapolis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Columbus Symphony, and more. Along the way, she even sang for President Barack Obama in 2010 and again for the President and the First Lady at the White House in 2015.

As a high school senior, she won a Barry Manilow-hosted singing competition, and the legendary singer took her under his wing. Not only did she perform two numbers at the closing weekend of his residency at The Paris Las Vegas, but he personally wrote a letter of recommendation to the prestigious Popular Music program at the USC Thornton School of Music on her behalf. At USC, she landed a spot in the renowned a capella group The SoCal Vocals, performing as a soloist with the 2015 group to win the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella.

Following graduation, she hit a rough patch. Broke in Los Angeles, the songstress did everything she could to remain on the West Coast. She spent a few months living out of her car while couch surfing. This illuminated her commitment to not only staying in the city, but also pursuing her dream to no end. The work eventually paid off. Fellow SoCal VoCal alum and powerhouse songwriter Ross Golan recognized Malia’s talent and introduced her to ubiquitous producer and songwriter J Kash [Maroon 5, Charlie Puth]. After an impromptu 2017 writing session at Kash’s house, she landed a deal with their newly launched Friends With Pens label.

At this point, her own sound clearly came into focus.

“I grew up loving all types of music and especially Chris Brown and Usher,” she explains. “For me, it is about trying to find a way for female artists to exist in the pop world bringing in elements of hip-hop and R&B. It’s about breaking boundaries.”

The 2017 debut single “Champagne Clouds” pops the creative cork for Malia. Over ethereal production, her seismic vocals engage and intoxicate at each turn before she carries the unshakable refrain, “You’re gonna find me on the champagne clouds.” After just three months, she crossed the four million-mark on Spotify as Swift shared the song on her Apple Music and Spotify Favorite Songs Playlist with continued support from KIIS FM.

“When my parents came to visit when I signed to Warner Chappell, Ross bought a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rosé,” she recalls. “Rosé always meant celebration to me. When I was writing the song, there was an incredible sunset that I watched from my friend’s balcony. I had that bottle on my mind. It inspired ‘Champagne Clouds’ and reminded me of my time in college. I never wanted to leave parties back then.”

Her talent is just starting to bubble up to the surface on “Champagne Clouds” though.

With new music and performances planned for 2018 and beyond, audiences everywhere will get to know all sides of Malia.

“My goal is to help people take a break from their problems and let their minds be at ease before they have to go back to this very intense universe in which we live,” she leaves off. “For as much as it can be an escape, I also want to make thought-provoking music. It’s about opening doors to let women be whoever they want to be in this industry and life in general.”
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123