INTERVIEW: Singer JONES Talks London, Little Dragon, and Her New Album 'New Skin'
  • WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2016

  • Posted by: Susmita Paruchuri

London-based artist JONES is quickly gaining traction and rising in fame. From Sam Smith raving about her debut EP, Indulge, to her concert Monday night in Webster Hall that sold out, it's clear that she has no intentions of stopping.

With a sweet voice drenched in soul and R&B-inspired music, JONES is gaining more and more popularity in the states, even so far before the release of her first LP, New Skin. I've been in love with her since I heard her single "Melt," so I jumped at the chance to catch up with her the morning after her big show in person.

Susmita Paruchuri: So how was your set last night?

JONES: It was amazing. It was a good way to have a debut show in New York. I didn't think I'd be playing somewhere so busy to get started, but it was good -- the crowd was great, and I'm just happy! Bit sad that it's over now.

SP: Was it your first time playing in New York?

J: Yeah, it was.

SP: Do you still get kind of nervous before you go on stage, or are you more comfortable with it now?

J: A little bit. I mean, we've done nine shows before last night, so I'm comfortable, but because it was such a big venue, and the last one, I was a little bit nervous.

SP: I really loved "Melt" and the music video that came out for it. What was the inspiration behind that song?

J: Thank you! Well, "Melt" is a love song I guess. It's about two people coming together, and also the idea of forgiveness and loyalty. With my music, I love to try and say something kind of positive -- so one of the lyrics is "Whatever happens, you know we're going to repair," So it's just about that kind of union and partnership of a relationship.

SP: Were you the one who came up with the concept behind the music video?

J: No, actually! I worked with this really cool guy named Davis Silis, and he had this really great idea and when I heard it, I was like, "Yeah, let's do that."

SP: I also was listening to the acoustic version that you put out which was also beautiful. I was going to ask whether you were planning on putting out other acoustic versions, but I heard that last night, you did an acoustic show.

J: Yeah! It was acoustic. We will actually be putting out an acoustic sort of album quite soon. So that should have the main songs from the album on it.

SP: Your new album, New Skin, has this cool, kind of dreamy sound to it. What was influencing you sonically when you were writing the music?

J: I love this band called Little Dragon, I think sometimes they have a bit of an otherworldly sound, it's kind of electronic, really cool beats. And then I only just discovered Tame Impala this year, so that's got that psychedelic sound, so maybe some of that filtered into my stuff.

SP: Were there any other influences that you listened to growing up that shape your music?

J: I grew up on a lot of soul music from my mum, like Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, so I've always had that in my mind. That's kind of always a reference for me -- those classic artists and writers.

SP: What's different on this album versus your EP? How do you think your music has evolved since then?

J: I think the Indulge EP was the first thing I ever put out, it was quite early, whereas New Skin is written over the course of about two years. It's just different flavors, there's more sort of wistful songs, there's more upbeat stuff in it... it's a broader spectrum of me.

SP: You've described yourself as being more of an observer, is that mainly within your music career, or have you always been a people watcher?

J: Well, I grew up as an only child, so I think naturally, you kind of have a strong relationship with yourself and you spend a lot of time alone and thinking. I guess that's one of the reasons why I got so into music, because I just had so much time to be in my own world. It's a big part of my personality. I love to go to a coffee shop and people watch, and just process things and take in the world.

SP: Do you ever get inspiration from people watching for your music?

J: Sometimes. It's interesting in London, it's so culturally diverse. There's people from all over, and many different types of relationships, so many different styles. It's just a really interesting place to be.

SP: Again, with your personality -- you have a lot of deeply personal lyrics in your music, is it harder or weird at all writing and performing them, or does having a creative outlet make it easier?

J: Yeah, it's strange, because you probably wouldn't walk up to a stranger and say, "Hey, this is what's going on in my head," but with music, it just always felt really natural to be super honest. I always say it's like my therapy. So it just always came naturally to be super open about things.

SP: I know that you've also been gaining a lot of traction right now as an artist -- like Sam Smith praised your EP -- have you been hearing your music anywhere out in public?

J: Yeah, actually! The first time I came to New York, I went for a walk, and I went into H&M and they started playing "Hoops," one of my songs, so that was cool. And around the UK, I think some of my songs are on the internal playlist. So I was in MAC the other day, and they were playing "Deep," which is quite funny. I get messages from friends all over the world, actually, saying "Oh, I just heard your song here," so that's really cool.

SP: It must be surreal hearing your own voice playing in a store.

J: It's strange! Because it takes your brain a second before -- "I know this song! Oh my God!"

New Skin is set to release on October 7. You can preorder it HERE.
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