Lil Mo has experienced Heaven (figuratively and literally, that's her eldest child, her 16 year-old daughter's name); hit records, tours, awards, unfathomable money and the depths of Hell.
During a recent visit to REVOLT TV's New York Studios, the singer revealed that severe misery has not only tormented her at times during her two-decade career, but has also hindered other celebrities that fans would be surprised to hear about.
"I guess that's why I say 'I survived the turn up,'" Mo explained, speaking candidly hours before opening up for Ja Rule and Ashanti on their joint headlining concert at Brooklyn's King Theater. "I've been at that low point. I've done the drugs but it never made the internet. I've been suicidal. One time we was one the road… I don't remember what I was off of, but I thought I was dead. I tried to pick up the phone; it looked like it was on fire. I was trying to dial. I said 'If my mother picks up this phone, I would never do whatever drug that was again.' It was all types of pills. But I was like, 'Fuck it, we winning. We getting $20,000 a night.' $20,000 a night? What? You 22 years old. 20 years old? What? Niggas was babies and we was getting more a night than niggas was getting in they life. That didn't even include the records, that didn't even include the advance. That was all in cash. You ain't gotta report that."
2018 marks Mo's 20th anniversary in the music business and she certainly has had titan-esque success. During Mo's height, her signature soulful voice was one of the industry's most must-haves. As a teenager she sang background for Guru on his international tour of the classic Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 LP. A few years later, she was discovered by Missy Elliott and established herself as the hottest female to have on your hooks. She murdered Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Good Morning Heartache," JAY-Z's "Parking Lot Pimpin' and " Missy's "Hot Boyz," to name a few. And, of course Ja Rule's "Put It On Me" and "I Cry" soared to the top of the charts and radio spins. Mo also had plenty of her own signature hits such as "Superwoman Pt. II" and "4 Ever," both featuring longtime friend Fabolous.
Despite having so many wins in her career, there were times she didn't know how to deal with what came along with them.
"Depression in this industry, I would say that's one of the darkest clouds that plagues a lot of artists… That depression, that suicidal stage, honestly, this industry doesn't prepare you for the mental illness," she offered. "Honestly, my anxiety is a direct connection to the music industry. There's no blueprint. You can read all the books, 'How to Make It…' but when you're actually in it, the sacrifices you have to make and the things you have to do. I've never slept with anybody in this music industry… My dad always told me never do anything that will compromise my integrity. But I can say I've done other things with the drugs, you get dependent on that and it comes so freely. I smoked with the best of them and you're like 'Damn, I've got to get high because this shit is euphoric. And I don't feel like dealing with none of the shit I'm going through.' I was dealing with a lot. Shit got real."
Back in 2004, Mo was feeling various pressures, such as her body being compared to other women's.
"I was going through that phase when I was working out and everybody wanted your body to be a certain way. I ended up getting liposuction but damn near died," Mo shared. "My breaking point was I was in the hospital and I had what was considered a bowel blockage or a Ileus."
Mo says she was so upset with the turn of events; she tried to take her life. Then again, a decade later, while filming her reality show R&B Divas she hit rock bottom again.
"I remember texting my sister and Michel'le and saying 'I'm not coming out this room. I took all these pills and drank all this liquor.'"
Praise the Lord, they got in the room with Mo before she died.
Even as they were admonishing her saying "Are you kidding me? You have kids," all the mother of five could think about is, "Why the fuck am I here?"
"It's never been about people. One of my biggest battles and one of my biggest enemies has always been myself," the songbird details. She also says that her frank personality has ruffled quite a few people in the music industry over the years and could have led to her career not being bigger.
"'Everybody is so scared of me, fuck it, I'll end it all,'" she further gave glimpses into mentality at the time of almost committing suicide. "Then, when I didn't die, I was like 'here we go.' That was 2013 or 2014. I wouldn't say that was the last bit of depression I was dealing with but that was the last time I was like 'I'm tired of trying to kill myself and not dying.' There's a reason God has me here. That was selfish of me because I have children. And as much as I'm protective of them, what they gonna do if I'm not here? I don't have no type of communication with my exes. So how people be like 'we have to co-parent.' I don't believe in that shit. I have these kids. Fuck y'all niggas, I'm cool."
As blunt as ever, these days Mo shares her thoughts on regular basis via her podcast The Lil Mo Show. She's back on the road regularly and has multiple music projects coming this year. Through God, faith, family and learning through her own life experiences; she says she's better equipped to deal with the industry on this run.