Going Focus: JONES
The judgment on her is almost unanimous: she’s one of the best voice of the music business right now. Last year, London singer Cherie Jones, simply known as JONES, released some of the finest pieces of contemporary soul-pop music, working with some of the greatest producers, such as Rodaidh McDonald or Josh Record. We strongly bet on Jones, you should do exactly the same.
Hi Cherie, for once I’d like to start from the end. I saw the video of the live performance for No Place Like Home, the song taken from Honne’s last EP which features your voice. That particular live delivering is mesmerizing. Can you tell me something about the collab and this particular stripped-down version? How was the vibe in the room when you recorded it?
Hello and thank you very much! Yes I was approached to feature on No Place Like Home – I loved it as soon as I heard it. I had met the guys beforehand, and we always have a laugh together! The three of us get along well so the atmosphere in the room was pretty fun, all the curtains were drawn so it had a late night jazz-bar feel to it.”
Now that my curiosity has been satisfied, let’s take a step back. You released your debut EP ‘Indulge’ earlier last year, but before speaking about it, I’d like to know better your background as an artist. For how long have you been making music? How did you get from singing in the living room for your family to work together with top producers like Rodaidh McDonald and A.K. Paul?
I’ve been making music since about the age of 15. I guess I began turning diary entries into songs and things evolved from there. I remember the first song I ever wrote was called “I Wish” and it was about the sort of classic unrequited love story that you can image a fifteen year-old girl would pine over. From there I just kept writing and pushing myself, both as a person and creatively, doing small performances where I could and eventually started working with my label 37 Adventures. I was fortunate enough to work with both Rodaidh McDonald and A.K. Paul at an early stage which really helped me to further develop the sound that I had in my head.
Speaking about family, from what I understand the role that your mother assumed in your life was very important. You from the Indulge EP is dedicated to her, right?
It was and still is very important to me. I believe it always will be. It saddens me when people take for granted the people that gave them life and unconditional love. When writing music I often think that I’d like to make her proud. “You” is dedicated jointly to my mother and to myself (as strange as that may sound). I am learning that it is important to find the balance between being there for others and being there for yourself too.
Love may be indicated as the main subject of the EP. But still I can’t figure if you draw inspiration from personal situations or if your point of view is that of an outside observer. Can you tell me something about the writing process of your songs?
I guess it is a mixture of both; there’s a mixture of first and third person perspectives in there. There are times when writing a song is pretty much a therapeutic outlet, and there are others where I’m playing the role of observer. For example “Indulge” is first person, whereas “Deep” was written about the frustration I would feel when having to watch friends go round in repetitive damaging cycles, wanting to help yet unable to do anything other than listen.
I have this impression that, through the Indulge EP, the world has seen only a glimpse of Jones’ huge potential so far. Am I right?
I believe so. The songs on the EP almost feel like baby photo’s now. I love them, but I’ve evolved since the time they were written. They feel like a subtle hint of what’s to come later.
I have been working at this music for a lifetime really. Every piece of life experience is now used and put into use for what I’m doing now. I hope that my music can reach as many hearts as possible.Jones
Your latest single Hoops is my favorite song from you. It shows that you can easily switch from nu-soul to experimental R’n’B, passing through 80’s pop. I’m curious about your influences. What artists/records you were into when you were a teenager?
As a teenager I listened to a mixture between lots of R&B pop, to soul classics like Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Michael Jackson, and then progressing into Lykke Li and Little Dragon. Looking back it feels like I began with the old classics my mother would listen to, then moved into mainstream pop and then went off into the left field.
You’re the first artist picked in 2016 for our Going Focus column. What are your expectations for this year? I guess the release of your debut LP will be the main goal. Can you reveal something about it?
Well thank you so much for thinking of me. This year will be about playing a lot more live shows, travelling and spreading my music further, and unveiling the bigger picture and more of my musical identity. I’m excited for what’s to come.
You have announced an additional London show after having sold-out your first one. Also your performance at Later… with Jools Holland was an undoubted breakthrough. Are you having the feeling that your career is evolving very quickly? How do you face it?
Thank you! It doesn’t feel quick to me at all. I have been working at this music for a lifetime really. Every piece of life experience is now used and put into use for what I’m doing now. I hope that my music can reach as many hearts as possible. As much as I am looking forward to seeing more of the world, I think I will always be a ‘homebody’, keeping in touch with home will keep me sane I’m sure 🙂
We don’t do Ones To Watch lists, because we basically think that every artist we feature deserves to be followed. So my last question is: what are the artists to watch this year in Jones’ opinion?
I’d say Honne and Aquilo! They’re all really lovely guys and are super talented. I’m watching this space…