Today’s Feature – September 2-3: Jo De La Rosa

September 3, 2008 at 11:48 pm (Today's Feature)

Where the hell can you go and NOT find Jo De La Rosa?? The steamy native of Lima, Peru is grabbing attention everywhere, singing, dancing, lighting up the small screen on multiple channels. You’ve likely noticed her on shows such as “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and “Date My Ex,” where ex-fianc� Slade Smiley aims to help La Rosa find a bit of romance. Truthfully, you can’t help but notice her, and she herself cannot help but light up any time a camera is on her.

However, Jo De La Rosa shines brightest when she hits the stage with her own brand of music, a sound that moves your feet while following La Rosa’s own autobiographical soundtrack. Her debut album, “Unscripted” includes beats reminiscent of a LA or Miami Saturday night, echoes of the booming club scenes of the year-round summer regions. The record also tells La Rosa’s “LA Story,” a tale full of life and energy. That same energy spills out during any one of her performances where you’ll see this artist show off another one of her many skills – she can dance as well as anyone on the scene.

While you can catch La Rosa on stage and on your TV, you can also find her speaking on behalf of the Make a Wish Foundation (in both Spanish and English), involved with the ABC online series “Squeeges,” and in the film, “The Penthouse.” Quite the busy schedule. She’s wrapping up one tour right now, but will be out and about on another one shortly. So check her schedule. And get into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: Jo De La Rosa

Pen’sEyeView.com: When you first stepped behind a mic, what were your first thoughts? Was being a singer something you always aspired to be?

JO: Music has always been my passion ever since I was a little girl. My father was a musician so I practically grew up in a recording studio. I even have an aunt who sings professionally in Europe. I come from a very musical family and music always surrounded my life growing up. Ever since I saw Kids Incorporated and The Mickey Mouse Club on The Disney Channel, I knew singing, dancing and performing was something I wanted to aspire to do.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby?

JO: For my 6th grade talent show, I choreographed a dance routine for a group of girls and I, we named Private Party. We thought we were so cool in our matching red jean shorts and multi-colored striped hoodies!!! Haha!!! I also sang Mariah Carey’s “Someday” at that talent show. I remember seeing people in the crowd smiling and cheering. It was then I knew performing was something I wanted to seriously pursue. I’ve loved to dance and sing for as long as I can remember. My passion for dance is as strong as my passion for music.

PEV: Born in Lima, Peru but settling in California, what kind of music were you listening to growing up?

JO: Coming from a Latin family, my parents always had Salsa and Merengue playing throughout the house but I also grew up on Chicago, Journey and even Eric Clapton.

PEV: Tell us about your take on breaking into the music business. What was it like for you to hop on stage for the first time?

JO: Breaking into the music industry has been a dream come true for me. It’s something I always wanted but I just wasn’t sure if it was possible. I owe so many thank you’s to my family and friends supporting me and encouraging me to follow my dreams no matter how difficult it appeared. Dreams really can come true so never give up on them… I always get butterflies in my stomach before I step on stage. But the minute it’s time for me to go on, something takes over me and “Sparkles” comes out. That’s what my publicist Jack Ketsoyan named my alter-ego on stage and it’s so right on!!! Thanks Jack!!! Haha!!!

PEV: Most of us know you from your TV shows, “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and “Date My Ex.” How did you get involved with the “Real Housewives” show in the first place? Did you ever think the show would have taken off so well – so fast?

JO: Slade and I where at a charity event in Coto de Caza which is where we lived. Scott Dunlop and his wife Gail were our new neighbors. He is the creator and Executive producer of “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” They had already cast the show but after meeting us he said “We are doing this show and I think you two would be great on it.” We never auditioned and I didn’t even want to do the show initially. Slade thought it would be fun and I ended up giving in just because I knew it was something he wanted to do. I think the overwhelming success of the show was timing. Desperate Housewives was this huge hit, Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie where doing housewife ads for their show The Simple Life. I think “Housewives” as a theme was just this huge pop culture phenomenon.

PEV: When news got out that your ex, Slade Smiley would be your manager, everyone was a little confused and surprised. Even more so when “Date My Ex” came out and Slade is “hired” by you to help you find romance. Just reading that pitch sounds awkward… So tell us, was it awkward for you to have Slade there? Any wild altercations between him and the would be suitors?

JO: I have an incredible team of people around me from music management, to publicity and my label Immergent Records. Slade is one of my closest friends and I’m proud to say that we’ve accomplished all of this together. But I do want to clear up that he isn’t my manager. He’s someone who I can trust as a business partner.

With regard to “Date My Ex” it was beyond awkward. Here we are again being offered another TV show I really didn’t want to do because my focus was now on music and recording the album. I thought I was done with reality. But then I found out the premise of the show was designed to be funny. Even more appealing to me was the fact that my best friends Katy and Myia where going to be involved. As soon as I found that out I figured, ok this could definitely be fun. I didn’t do the show because I was looking for love or a boyfriend. But I was open to possiblities. Being as spontaneous as I am, I finally agreed and here we are today with Season 1 of Date My Ex: Jo and Slade. Viewers will definitely see some drama develop which we truly didn’t expect. There’s even old feelings that come back between Slade and I and even new feelings with me and some of the guys. I think people are going to be surprised at what happens but most importantly, I think people are going have a really good time watching because the dates are all so fun.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music? Do you have a favorite one as well?

JO: I think the music scene in LA and Miami are my favorite. I love the Latin influences in Miami but I love the diversity and creativity of LA.

PEV: How has “life on the road” been for you? Good parts? Bad parts?

JO: I would have to say so far it’s all been good. It’s been a lot of work but I’m doing what I love so it’s not really work for me. Everyone has been so supportive. Slade and I just finished a week in New York doing press for the show and the album. It was surreal visiting all the magazines I love to read. The editors of US Weekly were amazing and Seventeen Magazine even did a feature on me which was really fun.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

JO: Taylor Swift – I love that she writes her own songs. I really love listening to her stuff. Being a songwriter myself, I feel like her material gives you a glimpse inside her life and the things she’s experienced. I can definitely relate to that.

PEV: What can fans expect from your debut album “Unscripted”?

JO: The album is really edgy. Definitely something girls will listen to getting ready on a Saturday night. Definitely made for the club scene and hopefully something people will love dancing to.

PEV: How is “Unscripted” different than other music out today?

JO: “Unscripted” is very autobiographical. It tells the story of my life since moving to LA. Every track on the album is a little piece of the journey I’ve taken. Songs like, “U Can’t Control Me,” “Letting Go,” and “A Little Inspiration” definitely speak to my experience

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Jo De La Rosa?

JO: I am IN LOVE with country music!!! A lot of my favorite artists are country: Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flats, Taylor Swift, Sara Evans and Gretchen Wilson.

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

JO: I get the biggest inspiration sitting in my bedroom with the candles lit, the lights dimmed low, sitting on my bed writing in my journal.

PEV: Ten years from now, where will Jo De La Rosa be?

JO: I hope I am still performing, still songwriting, maybe even move into developing new artists so I can help them accomplish their dreams. I always wanted to open a dance studio. Maybe even have a performing arts camp. I also love fashion so maybe start a clothing line or design a shoe collection. I believe fashion and music go hand in hand. There is no runway show without great music behind it and every musical artist usually has amazing fashion and style on stage.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

JO: In my spare time, you can always catch me hanging out with Myia and Katy, my two best friends and roommates. We love going to Sportsclub for Pilates classes, working out and especially steaming. You can also catch me taking a dance class at my studio.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Jo De La Rosa performance?

JO: A very visual show with amazing choreography and hot dancers and costumes on stage.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is just go out there and perform?

JO: I always say a prayer before I go on stage and ask God to be in my performance.

PEV: Any embarrassing or funny live performance stories?

JO: No embarrassing stories stories just yet…thankfully.

PEV: In one word, describe Jo De La Rosa.

JO: Spontaneous

PEV: So, what is next for you?

JO: I am preparing to leave for a 5 week radio promo tour. I have performances in Atlantic City August 12th, my album release party is in L.A. August 19th, August 21st I have been asked to be a presenter at the 2008 Imagen Awards and then its back to perform in New York, August 23rd for Music Fest. There’s a lot of other stuff in between. Truthfully, it’s been a little hard keeping up. After our radio tour ends in September, my label is setting up a mall tour across the country. Definitely looking forward to meeting everyone who has supported me since the beginning.

For more information on Jo De La Rosa, check out MySpace.

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