London based song bird JONES' soothing vocals paired with electronic/soul influences has given her much success in a short amount of time. Making her debut on decorated music program Later...With Jools Holland, she's gone nowhere but up. Currently supporting U.K duo HONNE on their U.S tour, we caught up with JONES at their debut show in Kansas City to talk about her debut album New Skin, local sushi, and more in the interview below.
So, this is your first time in Kansas City right?
Did you get to explore the city?
We went to get some food. I had some nice sushi, I can’t remember what it’s called...Drunken Fish Sushi! Lovely manager, great food.
I can’t actually eat a lot of sushi or shellfish because I’m allergic.
Nah, it’s okay I don’t really like it anyway. (both laughs)
I first discovered you and HONNE on “No Place Like Home” so it’s awesome to be seeing you guys together tonight. How did you guys first meet?
Well, they wrote the song and it was kind of through our management and label that we started working together. So, the first thing I did with them was record that and it went so well that we wrote a few other songs together. Like my single “Melt”, which is out at the moment, and another song on the album.
You’re doing your first tour in the U.S and your debut album comes out in October. How have you been processing all of this excitement with everything that’s been happening?
(laughs) It’s been good so far. I’m staying busy and doing some festivals back in the U.K. Like I did Glatsonbury which was amazing. It’s so busy there and I’ve never been….it’s really muddy. But yeah, finishing the album was a great achievement and yeah just keeping busy and playing a bunch of shows.
You mentioned how you've been in the U.K and playing shows and I wanted to know how is performing here is compared to home? Have you seen a difference at all?
Um...I haven’t done a full on tour in the U.K, just some shows here and there. But I feel like the crowds here are much warmer (laughs)
Yeah! I love you guys. They get really into and it just seems like English people are a bit more reserved. (laughs)
That’s interesting, because whenever I watch live concerts on YouTube the crowds in different countries seem way more wild and passionate then crowds in the U.S.
Really? I feel the exact opposite! (both laughs)
What’re some new albums you’ve been into?
Hmm...James Blake...not just because he’s British, I think he’s really cool. (laughing) I love all that moody music and he’s such a good producer as well...and such clever lyrics. What else….I'm not sure if it came out this year, but Tame Impala….I’m in love with that record (Currents). That’s all I can think of….no, Flume! I’m a huge fan of Little Dragon and they’re on a song from his new album.
I wanted to go back and talk about New Skin. So like you said it’s your first album and it’s a super special moment for you. What are some songs from the record you’re excited for people to hear?
There’s a song on their called “Wild”, which is one of my favorites. It’s a bit more upbeat but it’s just really personal and it kind of speaks about my journey in life. So that one’s cool. There’s a ballad on their called “Waterloo”, which is really close to my heart as well. And yeah, songs like “Indulge” and “Hoops” and “Melt”. There’s a lot of good stuff on there.
Who produced the album?
I worked with a few different people. I worked with a guy called Justin Parker, who wrote a lot for Lana Del Rey’s first album. Um, Rodaidh McDonald who worked with the xx. Hmm….who else...obviously HONNE, did two songs on there with them. Tourists, he’s an electronic artist and yeah just a few other upcoming people.
When you write songs how do you usually start that process?
It’s always different but I’m always writing lyrics in my phone because you never know when you’ll use them. But when I’m in a session I like to start with a melody and kind of map that out first and then just build it from there.
A lot of your songs are very personal so has it always been easy for you to open up when you’re writing?
Yeah, it’s weird. You’d never walk up to a stranger and go, “Hey, I’m going through this really rough thing and need a good cry.” (laughs) It feels very natural to be honest, so that’s always come easy to me...I just think you have to be honest in your music.
You’ve been performing a lot. What’s been one of the most notable shows for you so far?
Um. Well back in the U.K there’s a show called Later...With Jools Holland, which is one of the most prestigious music shows.
Yeah, I love that show!
I was fortunate enough to play on that, um really early on in my career so that’s definitely been a defining moment. I also got to meet Tom Jones. He made a joke about our names being similar (laughs)
Did you always know you wanted to do music or did you have dreams of doing something else when you were younger?
(laughs) The first thing I ever wanted to be when I was a child was a window cleaner. I wanted to use that thing they use to clean them! But apart from that it’s always been music.
Catch JONES on tour now supporting HONNE and pre-order New Skin here