Brit Smith in Karma song music video.

Brit Smith’s ‘Karma’ Song Explained

If you’ve been on TikTok anytime this month, you might have heard that pop star JoJo Siwa is going through a rebrand, and with that rebrand comes a new, “adult” song called “Karma.”

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JoJo Siwa’s latest single has not been met with open arms, however. After making huge statements such as “No one has made, in my generation, this extreme of a switch” during her interview with Billboard, people are seeing her revamp as a bad celebrity PR attempt.

However, the water became even murkier after internet sleuths discovered that “Karma” was originally written in 2012 and was supposed to be released by Brit Smith. This sparked immense backlash against the young artist, as people believed she claimed she wrote the song and was heavily involved with its production. But did she actually claim to write “Karma”?

A background on how “Karma” was made

After doing some digging, it was discovered that “Karma” was originally titled “Karma’s a Bitch.” The song was allegedly meant for Miley Cyrus in 2011 during her “Can’t Be Tamed” era.

This does line up. After all, the song was produced by Timbaland and Rock Mafia, who helped produce “Can’t Be Tamed.” In 2012, Miley Cyrus tweeted at Brit Smith, Timabaland, and Rock Mafia, and the latter replied with the hashtag “#karmasAbitch.”

Despite the teasing, however, the song was ultimately scrapped. Brit Smith, who is speculated to be one of the writers, ultimately recorded the song in 2012 and was supposed to release it as a single. A music video was even filmed for it with producer Timbaland.

However, for reasons unknown, she chose not to release “Karma’s a Bitch” and released “Provocative (ft. will.i.am)” in 2013 instead.

Since then, the song has been shelved, until it fell into the hands of JoJo Siwa.

JoJo Siwa officially releases “Karma”

JoJo Siwa officially released “Karma” on April 5, 2024. In several interviews, the young star spoke about wanting the song to be her first breakout adult moment after performing for 11 years with a more PG image.

Before the song was released, she uploaded a viewer discretion warning on her social media pages, saying that the song was not made for children and may be disturbing to some viewers.

However, reception for the song has been largely negative. On social media, JoJo Siwa was criticized for the lackluster release, with people claiming she both looked as if he was trying too hard and not fully committing to the bad girl bit. Others simply thought the song was poorly made and did not meet expectations.

However, Siwa seemed immensely proud of her work with “Karma.” In her interview with Billboard, she stated that “Karma” was special to her and that she wanted it to be a massive part of her life. She spoke about what it was like to record “Karma,” which rubbed people the wrong way.

Why? Because they discovered Brit Smith’s 2012 music video.

Did JoJo Siwa claim to have written “Karma”?

The backlash was not over the fact that the song was pitched to JoJo Siwa and that she ultimately released it herself. Instead, the criticism spread because people believed JoJo Siwa said that she wrote “Karma” herself. But did she?

Try as I might, I couldn’t find a single interview where JoJo Siwa claimed to have written the song. During her podcast, “JoJo Siwa Now,” she explicitly stated that the song was pitched to her by Antonina Armato, who helped write it.

@woahwhatsthat

jojo supposedly “stole” karma, or claims she wrote karma. the viral clip is missing context where she directly addresses that she did not write Karma herself, and was waiting for years to be ready to release it — not waiting years to write it. this is standard in the music industry. songs get shopped around. #karma #jojosiwa #jojosiwadrama #karmajojo #fyp #stolensong #jojostolekarma #jojo

♬ original sound – woahwhatsthat

However, in her Billboard interview, JoJo Siwa did mention some songwriting. She recalled that when she first received the song, she immediately fell in love with it but couldn’t imagine herself singing the song in the first person: “I was a bad girl.” She and her team ultimately tried to rewrite the point of view before deciding to stick with the original.

This part of the interview kicked off with a somewhat misleading title card reading, “The Songwriting,” with Siwa then talking about those potential lyrical changes but not mentioning anything else about the process or crediting anyone else.

JoJo Siwa stated she recorded “Karma” six times and even added that they had to change the song to have a completely different bridge. However, she is talking about the melody and not the lyrics.

With that, we can say that JoJo Siwa never claimed to have written “Karma,” though she didn’t do anything to avoid that impression. She did claim to have been heavily involved with the creative production of her version, from changing the structure to taking charge in the recording sessions.

JoJo Siwa denies stealing “Karma”

It seems the young starlet is fed up with the accusations. During an interaction with TMZ in April 12, she shut down rumors that she stole the song, saying, “I did not steal anything. There’s no such thing as stealing.” She also added that she does not know who Brit Smith is.

JoJo Siwa explained how the song landed with her, saying, “What happens is people write songs, and then they don’t do anything with them. Then, a few years later, it makes sense for another artist.”

She also acknowledged the 2010 sound of the song, adding, “I was pitched it. I loved it; I was obsessed with it, so I grasped onto it. That’s a very normal thing.”

(featured image: Brit Smith)


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Author
Alexandria Lopez
Alexandria "Alexa" Lopez (She/Her) is a Freelance Writer for TheMarySue.Com. She graduated with a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications from the University of Asia and the Pacific and has been writing online since 2017. Currently residing in Metro Manila, Alexa has been a fan of K-pop since she was a child, and this is a phase she will likely never outgrow. Besides that, Alexa loves video games, anime, and keeping up her Duolingo streak.