Soak up the funky, feel-good vibes of Willie Jones’ new album, Right Now.
It’s been an insanely busy few months for Louisiana-hailed singer Willie Jones. Despite an ever-worsening global pandemic that, the former X-Factor contestant has shown a tenacious spirit that sets him apart from the rest. Not only has Jones launched a bi-weekly radio show on Apple Music and teased a slew of well-received singles, including “Down For It (feat. T.I.)”, he also finally put out his long-awaited debut album, Right Now.
The singer is, of course, effusive over his debut, thankful to all who helped make it happen since in such trying circumstances. “Covid pushed us back, but after doing a few collaborations and getting the final song and video ready, it lined up perfectly. I’ve grown so much in the process and I am thankful for everybody who had a part in making this happen. Much love to the producers and writers I had the pleasure of collaborating with. I’m blessed to have had the freedom to experiment and find my sound, my tone, my voice and present who I am ‘Right Now’.”
Fusing both hip-hop and country, Jones’ unique sound is a testament to the melting-pot of his native Louisiana, and an obsession with immersive storytelling that started in his youth. Over the past few years, Jones has penned hits about dutch courage, love and hedonism, all while using his skill for writing to provide an honest social commentary on life in the 21st century, perhaps most emphatically on his latest single “American Dream”. Partnering up with the National Museum of African American Music for MLK day to celebrate its release, Jones invited fans and foes alike to voice their dreams of a better America using the #IHAVEANAMERICANDREAM hashtag, in tribute of all the Black leaders who have paved the way for generations to come.
We caught up with Jones below, chatting the funky-feel good vibes of his music (his words, not ours!), and where he plans on taking things in 2021. Take a look…
Hi Willie – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
For most people, its been the slowest year ever. Not for me. Seemed like it flew by. It’s allowed me to be more focused and excited to make music for people to live to during this time.
How did growing up in the melting pot of Louisiana influence you sonically? Who are your musical heroes?
Some of my musical heroes are Kanye, Chris Brown, Steve Wonder, T Pain, Beyonce, and Darius Rucker – it was listening to the storytelling in country that attracted me to it. There were so many local artists from Louisiana that were amazing but most of the time, they didn’t make it out. I’m hoping I can be a positive influence for other aspiring artists from my hometown to keep grinding.
Your music is such a potent and unique fusion of country and hip-hop – how would you describe your genre?
It’s funky feel-good vibes.
Congratulations on our new track – “American Dream” – it weaves storytelling with patriotism and criticism, what was it inspired by?
I wrote it after the 4th of July and I realized there weren’t any patriotic anthems in country music from artists that looked like me. I have a different outlook than most country artists so I think that’s why it’s so different and being received so well.
And the music video is very powerful – what did you want to evoke with it?
To inspire people to see themselves as powerful beings – like in the video, the boy ended up having superpowers, we all have them. You know, also I wanted to give a different side of how media portrays us. The lyrics paint the picture, we had to make it powerful.
And it’s taken from your debut album – Right Now – what can you tell us about it? What ties all the tracks together as a body of work?
The album is all vibes, storytelling, and we paid special attention to my vocals. On the first album, I wanted to make sure they were up front and present.
Do you have a favourite lyric or line that you hope will resonate with listeners?
All good things come to an end, and so do the bad, so let the good begin. – taken from the title track “Right Now.”
How does it feel releasing new music when most of the world is in lockdown/everything feels so uncertain – what do you hope your music will bring?
I’m excited because it gives people a break from the seriousness of everything that’s going on. A lot of the music is uplifting and this is the best time to try and keep everyone’s vibration high.
What’s the most unusual place you pull inspiration from?
I’m inspired by television – the shows that are well crafted.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
I’m looking forward to live shows, mixing with the crowd again and collectively bringing smiles to everyone face, including my own.