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Jozzy: Meet the artist Diddy called ‘the R&B Biggie’

<i>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images</i><br/>Jozzy performs onstage during the 2022 Billboard Music Awards in 2022.
Getty Images for MRC
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Jozzy performs onstage during the 2022 Billboard Music Awards in 2022.

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

More than a decade ago, music writer and singer Jozzy agreed to go to Miami to work with a producer for a week.

Five years later, she was still there and well on her way to a career that would land her working with the likes of Beyoncé and Chris Martin, along with Grammy nominations.

Jozzy is now working hard as the first artist from Diddy’s Love Records label and recently released her debut EP, “Songs For Women, Free Game for Ni**as.”

“Two years ago, he had a camp for Love Records and I had pulled up,” she told CNN. “It was so funny because he didn’t like none of the songs I was writing.”

Ironic, given that Jozzy was writing R&B songs in the style of the very music Diddy had helped popularize.

Jozzy said she was about to leave the camp discouraged when the offer to meet Diddy was presented. They talked and she was invited – once again – to travel to Miami to work.

The whole thing has been a dream for the woman born Jocelyn Donald, who as a teen spent her days growing up in Memphis, grinding in recording studios and writing.

Her first stint in Miami came via a protege of uber producer Timbaland, and soon Jozzy was learning from him and Missy Elliott.

Those early days didn’t bring much money, Jozzy said, but she found a wealth of experience.

“Meeting Missy and meeting Timbaland and meeting [producer] Polow da Don, it was like artist development,” she said. “In 2015, I got my first [song] placement around the time I was with Polow.”

Her songwriting roster is impressive. Her tunes have been performed by Fergie, Monica, Summer Walker, Internet Money and more.

But it was the 2019 breakout hit “Old Town Road Remix,” by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, that really helped solidify her career as a premiere songwriter.

“I was sick as a dog and I get a call from my manager like, ‘You you wanna work with Billy Ray Cyrus?’ And I was like, hell yeah,” Jozzy said, laughing. “It wasn’t even Lil Nas at the time. They didn’t even say Lil Nas. They just said Billy Ray and I was a Hannah Montana fan [the character played by his daughter, Miley Cyrus.]”

She wrote the country star’s lyrics for “Old Town Road Remix.”

Jozzy is hoping her songwriting success (she was part of groups nominated for two album of the year Grammys last year, one for Mary J. Blige’s “Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe)” and the other for Beyoncé’s “Renaissance”) will extend to her career as a singer.

She is already off to a great start.

At last year’s Billboard Music Awards, Diddy introduced her as “one of the most talented songwriters and artists I have ever worked with. She reminds me of the R&B Biggie.”

Jozzy said she is beyond grateful to team up with Diddy.

“I’m not signed to him. We’re doing a partnership,” she said. “It’s 50/50 partnership at Love Records.”

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