Updated — 6:19 p.m. E.T.
After years of legal battles over her contract with her former label Blackground Records, pop star JoJo is finally free, the L.A. Times reported on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old singer signed a new deal with Atlantic Records in December, which she celebrated on Instagram.
The news marks a monumental new beginning for the singer, who had been bound by her contract and essentially held hostage by Blackground for more than seven years.
JoJo — who was the youngest star to ever have a No. 1 single on the Hot 100 chart with her 2004 song "Leave (Get Out)" — has been mostly out of the limelight since 2006, when she released her second album The High Road. Though she hasn't released another record since, that doesn't mean she hasn't been trying.
In May of 2013, JoJo told BuzzFeed that she'd been trying to release her third album for the past several years. "I've recorded about three incarnations of this third album," the singer told BuzzFeed. "We've chosen the track listing, we've done multiple album photo shoots, chosen the cover, chosen the credits, everything."
However, whenever she'd try to turn in her album, she'd get no response from Blackground. But because she'd signed a seven-album deal with the label in 2004, when she was only 12, JoJo was unable to break her contract. She first filed a lawsuit in 2009 against Da Family Entertainment/Blackground, citing a breach of contract, alleging the label failed to secure distribution for her album and forced her into a state of limbo. The suit, however, was ultimately dropped after the label found distribution with Interscope — only to lose it again three years later.
In July 2013, JoJo filed a lawsuit with the New York State Supreme Court against Blackground and Da Family, citing failure on the part of the label to release her third album and for allegedly neglecting to pay producers and vendors she worked with. She also invoked the New York law which protects minors from being trapped in contracts that exceed seven years — meaning her contract with Blackground should have been up in 2011.