I wanted to create a sort of… elevated version of myself.
In the fast-paced world of music, there is a quiet but soulful voice that manages to stand out. London’s Cherie Jones, better known as JONES, is singing about love in a way like no one else has done before. She possesses a voice that is demure, but defined, with a remarkable charisma that’s poised yet powerful. JONES is an artist who is not afraid to take risks, and does so with a grace few can match.
There is a likeness in JONES’ sound to that of Corrine Bailey Rae and Emeli Sandé, with a hint of Lianne La Havas. To simply characterize her as an R&B artist would be an insult. There is a melange of jazz, pop, soul, alternative electronica; one can’t quite define her. There’s a subtle force about her that makes her stand out. Something special can be found in her pure voice and honest lyrics. She is in a lane all her own.
It is easy to become entranced with her dizzyingly beautiful melodies and ethereal, honeyed lyrics. Take her song “Hoops” for example: It is the perfect blend of an emotionally-charged, passionate lyrics that are set to an upbeat dance rhythm with pulsating electronic beats. It’s a drastic contrast to “Melt,” a sweet and transient layered track about falling in love, and “Indulge,” the song that showcases JONES’ raw talent in droves. It is within this sonic diversity that JONES thrives, and each song becomes more unique than the next.
JONES has come a long way from East London, and along her journey across the globe she’s made beautiful music. Though we have only heard a few songs from her upcoming debut album New Skin (out 10/7 via 37 Adventures), without a doubt it’s hinting to be a flavorful treat we can’t wait to indulge.
Listen: “Indulge” – JONES
A CONVERSATION WITH JONES
Atwood Magazine: Your full name is Cherie Jones, so why did you decide to go by JONES? Just your last name. What does that mean to you?
JONES: JONES is my surname and I wanted to create something that was separate from my, I don’t know, my sort of day-to-day. I wanted to create a sort of… elevated version of myself. I’ve always loved names that are kind of unisex, I think they sound really strong! It sort of happened quite naturally, I made the decision and just went with it.
Wow! That's great, I totally agree with you. So how are you enjoying your time in North America? What's it like to be playing for crowds all over the world now?
JONES: Yeah it’s been really amazing, we’ve had such incredible crowds. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a really good response everywhere we’ve gone, and it’s been a great experience! It’s always been a dream to come out here, and you know, tour, so we had last night at Webster Hall, which was crazy. I’m just so happy, so excited and I just can’t wait to come back for more touring here.
We're all really happy for you!
JONES: Thank you!
On Indulge, your EP, all the songs are pretty distinct from one another, does any one in particular stand out as your favourite?
JONES: Um, I guess it’s “Indulge” really. That song, I’ve always loved that song. It’s made its way onto the album as well, and I feel like when I perform live that’s the one that people at festivals tend to recognize, and they just really connect with it. I think if you’ve got a really good sort of love song it’s a great thing to have. There’s just something about it, I can’t explain it. One of my favourites.
How would you say your sound has grown on New Skin?
JONES: Well I guess it’s just doing lots of writing; I’ve been recording for two years. You know, you find a style and on the album it talks about lots of different things – it’s very personal. I’ve always found that to be so easy to do. In songwriting, I think you have to be real and you have to be honest, otherwise that will show if you’re not being authentic. The sound is, I don’t know. It’s electronic, there’s slower moments, there’s more upbeat moments. It’s like a really good range of who I am and what I want to say.
Yeah, no I've heard a couple of the songs and they're very different but they flow together very nicely.
JONES: Thank you, thanks!
[New Skin is] a really good range of who I am and what I want to say.
Watch: “Melt” – JONES
I also read that you're a really big fan of Tame Impala and Coldplay, so how would you say they've influenced you?
JONES: Well I love the sounds that Tame Impala have, I love that psychedelic feel. It’s just really cool, you could be by the beach. But also, I love the way they use repetition in their songs. I think it makes things really good. And I guess that’s something I use in my songwriting sometimes, I think repetition is great. And I especially love the old Coldplay songs, I just think stuff like “Trouble” and some of the songs on Viva La Vida and “The Scientist” are such good writing I’ve always found it inspiring. I want to try and create imagery the way they do, so yeah, they’ve definitely influenced me.
What would you say are some of your earliest memories of performing?
JONES: My earliest memory is probably being about 4 or 5 and just singing in front of my family any chance I could, and then I was quite musical in my school. I was in a choir, so I used to do solos in front of the school. So that’s probably my earliest memories.
And what would you say is your favourite part about playing your music for an audience?
JONES: My favourite part is just connecting with people and looking into people’s faces when you’re singing. Sometimes I see people closing their eyes and I find that really beautiful. I always try to encourage people, when I play “Indulge” I ask people if they’re standing next to someone they love, to hold them, and I just find that really special. It’s such a great feeling.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you in terms of creating your music?
JONES: The best piece of advice I was given was by a friend of mine that works in a record label in the U.K. I was talking to them about my music and they just told me: “Don’t be afraid to feed your artistic fire.” I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but as I’ve been writing and collaborating with other people sometimes it can be easy to kind of let other peoples’ ideas overshadow yours. It’s important to just keep being who you are and to make sure you’re saying what you want to say and keeping that alive.
Absolutely, very inspirational!
What do you want your fans to take away from New Skin?
JONES: I would want them to have the feeling that it’s okay to be sad sometimes, but you have to see the lesson in every single thing that happens to you and always try and look on the bright side. No matter what’s happening. And just be proud of who you are, whatever that is.
What is the biggest difference when comparing the music scene in East London compared to everywhere you've traveled to so far?
JONES: Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is just the audiences over here, in the States, they give you a lot more. It’s lovely. They’re a lot more vocal about how they feel about a performance, whereas I think it’s part of British culture that we’re quite reserved, and if people are enjoying it they don’t let it show as much, which can be quite tough. That’s only the main thing I think; just the openness.
You have to see the lesson in every single thing that happens to you and always try and look on the bright side.
Wow, I feel that's something you'd definitely notice for sure. So, love is a prevalent theme in many of your songs, and you've stated in other interviews you feel love is about balance. How have you integrated this view into your music?
You're signed to an independent label. Why did you decide to go the independent route, and do you feel it's given you the freedom to make your own artistic choices?
As an artist, what drives you to keep creating and pushing yourself?
Connect with JONES on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover more new music on Atwood’s Picks
Cover Photo: JONES © Josh Shinner