Do you remember your first time you went somewhere exciting and new? For budding indie-pop star from London, JONES, née Cherie Jones, her inaugural visit to the United States was jammed back with interesting and introspective experiences. Those who haven’t been hearing the beautiful, electronics-glazed soul of JONES — one of the UK’s hottest new talents — might have been subliminally force-fed her tunes without knowing it.
The 25-year-old singer, whose DNA is fueled with Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder riffs, was shooting with talented photographer Vince Ballentine. Before the two met to traverse the New York City populace, JONES ventured into an H&M to check out some clothing and see the sights when she heard a familiar sound—herself. JONES was hearing her popular single, “Hoops,” inside the store and much to her surprise was experiencing a first-time-in-New-York-surreal-moment.
Such events was one of many while the passionate performer was in the Big Apple, as JONES was beginning her press run for her debut album, New Skin, which will be out in September this year. With press flooding to be one of the first to declare her the new “IT” singer, everyone has Sam Smith to thank for building hype, as the Grammy and Oscar Award winning talent declared her latest EP “fucking beautiful.” After working with Ninja Tune‘s Raffertie, Jai Paul‘s brother A.K. Paul, XO and Josh Record — JONES unpacked her luggage on American soil to interview with us before heading down to Austin, Texas for SXSW.
In speaking of firsts, a bit of a humblebrag, as OKP debuted an acoustic track from JONES which propelled her to audiences stateside. Now, we’re happy to share the soft-spoken East London chanteuse with new listeners in an attempt to spotlight her entrancing sounds, star appeal and vocals from her Indulge EP. While traveling around the SoHo area in New York City, JONES chatted it up with Okayplayer about the “scary and exciting” London music scene, how frustration with a young boy helped her craft her first-ever song and why “Hoops” was so personal to her as an artist.
Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that Londoners are seeing and hearing that the world has yet to discover?
JONES: [Laughs] Thank you! I would say the full spectrum of my music, so far, is a small bit. A slice of it has been shared with people, but I’m very much looking forward to putting out the next piece of music. It brings a whole new energy to the world and really represents what I am about as a person.
OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
J: I would have to also say thank you to all of the female voices that I used to listen to growing up. This would include the likes of early Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and The Ronettes. As I sang along, I was learning to sing and their passion inspired mine. I paid attention to the pen games of songwriters like Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Lykke Li and Chris Martin. Those legends inspired me to write and be creative.
OKP: Your song, “Hoops,” is very dope sounding and has placed you on the radar of music fans who have a heavy presence in the industry. Can you talk about how life was for you while developing as an artist in London? How did you react to your first bits of press?
J: Life has been and continues to be one giant learning curve, and I’m constantly trying to push myself through the boundaries of my comfort zone. I am always thinking what is next and how can I do this better? I was overjoyed with the positive reactions I’ve received so far and I’m extremely and eternally thankful! I am very happy with the progress I’ve made recently, but I’m still aiming to grow with each step and climb higher than I did the day before.
OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene in London and where you see it evolving in the next five years?
is the managing editor of Okayplayer. His top three MCs are: 1) Andre 3000, 2) Scarface, and 3) Black Thought. Debate him on Twitter @KevitoClark.