USC Artist Highlight: Jo-L

USC Artist Highlight: Jo-L

Spreading positivity through her story.

If you didn’t already know, USC has some of the most talented artists in the country studying and creating amongst each other. USC has produced artists like Banks and Louis the Child, and has many current artists that have promising futures. I wanted to start a way to get their names and music out there even more, so this is the first installment of a monthly artist highlight that will feature solely USC artists and their stories. HOPE YOU LIKE.


Alright so Jo-L, not to be confused with J-Lo, is a sophomore at USC and has quite the interesting story. Coming into USC as a pre-pharmacy student, Jo-L was on a mission to study the very thing that had caused her mother to pass the year prior, cancer.

Cancer affects so many people across the world and Jo-L felt like she had a duty to help find the cure, or at least help people heal and cope throughout the process. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry did not seem to be interested in anything other than money to Jo-L, and music began to be the obvious avenue for Jo-L to spread the message of hope that she wanted to convey.

While dealing with the anxiety from losing her mother, Jo-L had still not had the time to process the passing of her grandfather just a month before. So, Jo-L found her solace in music, preferring that expression over the suggestions for therapy and things of the like. When she told me that I thought to myself, that’s a hard thing to do.

Being in a place where you’re struggling can definitely make needing therapy or someone to talk to essential, but everyone cannot always accept that. Jo-L wasn’t necessarily against therapy, but it only felt like a “complicated addition” to her already busy schedule. With music, she could instantly write down her feelings when they happened, and didn’t have to wait for a scheduled time to process what she was going through.

With a few other songs precursing this (like “World”), this passion led to her first official project, SPIRITUAL HEALING, released on October 27, 2017. I listened, it’s really promising. As young artists, we are all growing and finding our sound. I think Jo-L has a clear vision for where she wants to go in the future, and I think her voice is really well-suited for that.

The lyricism and delivery is reminiscent of Syd (from the Internet) to me, while she highlighted greats like Amy Winehouse as her inspirations. However, she didn’t find herself specifically trying to emulate any one artist for this project. The songwriting “flows from the soul” and is casual enough to chill and vibe to while still delivering Jo-L’s message of positivity and self-love with resonance.

“My Mind” embodies her feelings from last year, and where she has now gotten herself to..It’s all about the happiness. Knowing Jo-L on a personal level, I can see her living this message through her everyday life as well and it’s a big reason why I support it so much.

You can find the r&b newcomer on SoundCloud for streaming as Jo-L and all social media, but you can also purchase it for a $5+ donation on Bandcamp. Despite her digression from the pre-pharmacy track, 25% of each purchase will be given to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation in order for Jo-L to continue supporting the effort to find a cure. There’s actually very few campaigns working toward a cure for this specific cancer, so Jo-L’s work here is pretty special. HELP SUPPORT IT :).

If you listen, let her know what you think! Let me know too!


No worries, here are her upcoming shows:

11/17 Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs Performance

  • 5:55pm in the Student Union, Room 405

12/1/17 MacDonald Recital Hall

  • 10am - 12pm

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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If Jay Gatsby Got A Do Over

What if there was a redo button for our tragic hero?

My all time-favorite story by FAR has always been The Great Gatsby. I was that nerd in high school who poured through the pages of the book wanting more and more, just wanting Gatsby and Daisy to end up together. That book has taught me more about life and relationships than anything else in the world.

So recently I started to think, what if the story ended differently? What if the characters chose differently, what would happen? If anyone in the book deserves a do-over, I believe it's Gatsby himself. The guy pines over the love of his life for five years, only to discover that she's not only a horrible person, but married, and using him when they finally have the opportunity to be together. That, sucks.

But what would he do with a do over? As a lover of the book, it's really hard for me to imagine this. How far would he go back to change things?

What if he never met Daisy? What if he never had "the one"? The story would be incredibly boring for one. For two, what is the point of it all then? Yes, he might not get heartbroken, he might avoid a lot of awkward conversations, and he probably wouldn't get shot at the end (sorry, spoiler), but what would all his success have been for?

I think F. Scott Fitzgerald was trying to teach us through Gatsby and Daisy that worldly possessions are nice, but what are they worth if you have no one to share it with?

It's interesting to imagine Gatsby still being the poor boy that he was meant to grow up as, and trying to win Daisy's affection still. As the person she grew up to be, she would never have even looked in his direction. But what then? Would he have ended up with someone else? Someone more real, down to earth, and sensible?

Gatsby's fears are realized at the end of the story, he dies alone. His chance with Daisy is gone. I like to think that if he had not attracted so much of that fear into his life, he may have had the opportunity to live happily.

All in all, if a do over was possible, this would not be the story we all know and love. I believe that is part of the lesson, things happen for a reason. There aren't always happy endings, and we have to learn to be okay with that because that's how life is.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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20 Times 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Accurately Represented College Life

Unbreakable but rarely feeling that way... sums up college.

If you've never seen "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix, it is definitely worth a watch! Funny and relatable characters deal with everyday problems as well as some pretty unique ones with humor and bravery. Though it's called "unbreakable" these characters totally relate to the same struggles us college kids experience on the daily. Here are 20 times "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" accurately represented college life.

1. When you first get on campus

2. When you consider going somewhere for dinner

3. Trying to meet new people like

4. When people are trying to hand you flyers around campus

5. Feeling like a grown up and hating it

6. Sitting through a vocab-heavy class

7. Walking through the rain across campus

8. When you have your second exam of the day

9. Discussing politics in class

10. When someone is being fake AF

11. Drinking for the first time

12. When you have to listen to a monotone lecture at 8 am

13. Feeling like you're in the wrong class

14. When you know you're gonna ace that test

15. Deciding to withdraw from the ATM

16. Stressed out during finals week

17. Getting put in groups for busy work in class

18. When your roommates are blasting music at 3 am on a Tuesday

19. When there is a ridiculously hard question on an exam

20. Finding your own voice for the first time

Cover Image Credit: Universal Television

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