The singer and Williams starred in the dysfunctional family road trip comedy RV in 2006, and JoJo got to know the Oscar winner, his wife Marsha (they divorced in 2008) and their daughter Zelda before Williams committed suicide in 2014.
“His intelligence, his worldliness and his work ethic are what really touched me — and his ability to care for people of all walks of life was just very inspiring,” the 25-year-old singer tells PEOPLE. “The way that he made everybody feel special and the way that he showed up and gave 110 percent every single time: I want to be like that. I want to leave that type of impression on people.”
JoJo says the beloved comic passed those qualities on to his daughter.
“Zelda has that spirit as well,” she says. “She’s such a remarkable woman.”
Last week, JoJo released Mad Love, her triumphant first album in a decade after a seven-year lawsuit with her former label. And earlier this year, the singer teamed up with Zelda Williams, who directed the music video for her single “Save My Soul.”
“I love that family so much, and their strength inspires me,” she says. “They’ve overcome so much, even excluding Robin passing.”
Speaking of rotations around the sun and milestones today: @iamjojo, we met as teens at the RV premier, and a little piece of my heart (emphasis on the art😂) has been tied to you every since. You will always be one of my favorite humans, one of my favorite women, and one of my favorite artists on this tiny blue marble we call home. I'm so lucky to have called you a friend since your last album 10 years ago, and I'll still be right here with you thru the next 10 albums too (though thankfully the spacing won't be nearly as intense haha) ❤️ You worked LONG & HARD for people to finally get to hear you again. I'm so incredibly proud and so happy for you! And even if it means I'll see you a little less, at least the world gets to hear you a helluva lot more! #MadLove is out folks. Go give @iamjojo some much deserved love 💋
Last week, Zelda shared her love for JoJo in a heartfelt Instagram post.
“We met as teens at the RV premier, and a little piece of my heart…has been tied to you every since. You will always be one of my favorite humans, one of my favorite women, and one of my favorite artists on this tiny blue marble we call home,” Zelda, 27, wrote. “I’m so lucky to have called you a friend since your last album 10 years ago, and I’ll still be right here with you thru the next 10 albums too…I’m so incredibly proud and so happy for you!”
- For more on JoJo and her new album Mad Love, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
JoJo’s new album Mad Love is out now.