Melt into the angelic, lovelorn vocals of London-born JONES.
London born artist JONES is certainly no stranger to success; this bright little star made her debut on ‘Later… With Jools Holland’ and was announced as one of Spotify’s Spotlight Artists for 2016. Her earlier single, “Hoops” has even been streamed over 10 million times. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also dominating in the live shows department, having headlined at SXSW, The Great Escape and on the recent HONNE support dates in the US. It was also announced that she would be doing an October headline tour that will include Oslo in London.
This firecracker’s debut album New Skin is out on 7th October through 37 Adventures, which prepares for her forthcoming UK headline tour. For the album, she collaborated with mega talents like Lana Del Rey collaborator, Justin Parker and Sam Smith co-writer, Tourist. She recently came out with a new version of one of her first tracks, “Indulge”, the latest version produced by Ninja Tunes’ Raffertie with additional production credits from Emre. Discussing the song, JONES explains, “what I want to put across is that it’s OK to be where you are, wherever you are, to learn from this. We all need the sad songs sometimes, but it’s good to have optimism too, to free your mind of things that make you unhappy”. The track is filled with her glorious, emotional vocals blending into this ethereal ballad of love and loss. The song is already flying high on the BBC 1Xtra A-list, and is sure to see continued success, much like JONES herself.
Your EP “Hoops” was really well received, with Sam Smith describing it as ‘fucking beautiful’. Did you ever expect such high praise so early on, and does it add any pressure?
Thank you! No not at all, you never know what to expect when putting music out, those first few steps were pretty scary. I only feel the pressure that I always put on myself. To be better, truer, more original, more creative…
You’ve worked with some great producers and artists, like Rodaidh McDonald, Raffertie and A.K. Paul. How did these collaborations come about, and what did they individually bring out of you as an artist?
Yes they have all been great in their different ways, bringing out different things. I feel like each collaboration is a learning curve, and each one has a new challenge.
You performed at SXSW this year and have just come off a US tour with HONNE; how did you find the American audience in Austin? What was your favourite moment of your trip?
It was an amazing experience, each venue had a differen vibe to it so I felt like I experienced a lot – the main stage moments, the intimate moments – it was all great. There wasn’t much time to soundcheck which was the main challenge, but it taught me that I could pull it out of the bag without having much time to prepare. The American audience were so enthusiastic and responsive, it was a really positive experience.
Talk me through your writing process; does it ever differ?
For me it varies, I don’t have a formula sometimes I like to start with a melody and sometimes it could be a chorus. When I collaborate with others I like to hear some chords from them for me to bounce off of. I’m always keeping notes of ideas that pop up throughout the day, this can be a nice place to look for ideas. Writing sometimes feels like solving a puzzle or a riddle and sometimes it’s effortless. I have no idea where ideas come from but it’s always been a passion of mine – I love language, imagery, metaphors. I hope to always strive to be original and creative.
How long have you been writing music and how did you start?
Since I was about 15 – although I don’t think those songs were any good…but they were a learning experience, we all have to start somewhere. I began just honestly turning my teenage turmoil – unrequited love – into songs, like diary entries. As I grew older I began to enjoy storytelling, I guess I branched out lyrically after studying English Literature and Language at A Level. Music has always been a passion and childhood dream.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard anything of it?
It’s classic, a fusion of organic and electronic textures, modern soul.
What are your earliest musical memories? And has growing up in East London influenced your sound at all?
Probably listening to Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder in my mum’s car, singing around the house with her at the age when I didn’t know what the words were so I’d just sing them phonetically. I think twinges of my english accent unintentionally come out at times when I sing, but other than that I don’t hear its influence. I guess subconsciously we are all affected by our surroundings.
Your debut album New Skin is set for release next month; what can we expect?
It’s a dynamic record, very emotive, very reflective. I find the songs brutally honest and moving. There are a lot of personal songs and personal ideas. It will be me saying ‘hello’ to the world. I’m already working on ideas for the next phase.
You’ve previously covered Royce Wood Junior’s ‘Valentines Virus; and previously Calvin Harris ‘How deep is your love’; why did you choose these songs, and are there any other songs that you would love to cover?
I’d done some work with RWJ on the song quite early on in my writing process, it wasn’t right for the album but it’s a really great and clever song it seemed like a perfect time to put it out would be on Valentines Day. I did the Calvin Harris cover because I always like the song and I thought it would be interesting to take something so different from my style and make it my own. I think Ina Wroldsen’s vocals on the original HDIYL are great, I didn’t want to compete I just wanted to sing it in my own way. I was pleasantly surprised when Calvin re-posted the cover on his Twitter and Facebook pages.No more plans to cover for now, but you never know when an idea will strike.
What else have you got lined up that you can tell us about?
My new single Indulge is out now. I’ll also be doing some more touring – my next headline show in London is on 29th September.