Last updated: 05/15/2013 12:52:22 PM
(pronounced "I Know J")
Sultry, seductive, vibrant, passionate, sweet with just a touch of youthful innocence are the words that best describe Saga/So So Def's newest singing and songwriting sensation INOJ. INOJ's chart-busting covers of the Ready For The World hit " Love You Down" and Cindy Lauper's classic "Time After Time" (from INOJ's debut LP Ready For the World) have made her practically a household name around the country.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and reared in the Nation's capital, Washington D.C., INOJ (that's "Joni" spelled backwards) grew up in a middle class Catholic family. As a child, she recalls singing before she learned to talk and being inspired by great artists like Minnie Ripperton, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Chicago, and War while perfecting her own vocal style.
"I've been singing since I was seven," she says. "I've been practicing [for this career] all my life. I wake up in the morning singing and I'd go to bed singing."
In addition to singing around the home-front, INOJ was a member of her high school choir for four years before landing a gig as a session singer in and around the DC area. In fact, it was during a gig as a session singer that she happened across the opportunity to record her first single, for an upcoming compilation record. That single was none other than "Love You Down" for the RIAA gold-certified So So Def Bass Compilation Vol. 2.
INOJ recalls how it all happened: "I was doing some session work for my producer who did the first single 'Love You Down.' He went out of town to Atlanta and he called me from there and said, 'I'm at So So Def, do you remember the compilation with the song "My Boo?" Could you write something like that?' I said, 'yeah, I could try.' So after I got off the phone, I wrote a couple of songs that he liked so I demo-ed them. And then he asked me if I would do a favor for him and demo 'Love You Down.' When So So Def heard the demo they loved it and asked 'who's the girl singing?' After that they asked me to perform the song on the So So Def Bass Compilation Vol. 2 and from there it lead to all of this."
In addition to being featured on INOJ's debut LP, her version of "Time After Time" was also selected as the lead single for Vol. 3 of So So Def's Bass Compilation series. Not a bad choice considering the fact that her first single is just a few thousand copies from being certified gold. And, given the slinky uptempo and haunting melody of "Time After Time" and INOJ's sweet, sensual vocals, there's no doubt both the song and the singer are ready for the world.