Jamie Jones, best known as the lead singer and one-fourth of the Grammy Award-winning R&B/Pop group All-4-One has released his first-ever solo Holiday EP Christmas at Home with Jamie Jones via his production company The Heavyweights. I caught up with the singer, songwriter and producer to discuss the project and what we are to expect in the New Year. Christmas at Home with Jamie Jones is available on all streaming platforms.
TERRANCE: Tell us about what inspired your Holiday EP Christmas at Home with Jamie Jones.
JAMIE JONES: You know, it's so funny how it came about. It actually wasn't even something I actually really planned. I'm also a songwriter and producer and I work with a lot of different artists and I'm actually working on my best friends Wayne Brady's next project. Originally we were thinking about doing a Christmas EP on him, because his last project that we did together is an album called Long Time Coming and that was back in 2007. So we were going to do a Christmas EP, just to reintroduce him to everybody as an artist and then come with his new project in the new year. I call him James Brown's son because he's one of the hardest working men in showbusiness. He's got another television show that he's doing and we had to make a decision, like, if we're going to be recording, we can only do one project. So I told him, since we already started this one, you know what? I haven't released a solo project since 2005, I think maybe I'll do a Christmas EP and kind of finish what we started and he was like, dude I got your back and I support you and you should do it. I called some friends that I did some duets with and some of my production and songwriting friends that I work with quite a bit and told them that I could use all the help that I can get and the EP came together pretty quickly.
TERRANCE: Give us some backstory of the songs starting with "All I Want".
JAMIE JONES: "All I Want" is a collaboration with an artist who goes by Pau, but I know her as Paulina. She's an amazing young artist who I've actually been working with for a while now. She's an amazing songwriter as well, but I had written this song with my production company called The Heavyweights. So we wrote this song and my partner was like, you should do this as a duet and I was like, that's dope but it was kind of last minute and we need someone who can work fast and he was like, you should get Paulina to do it with you and I was like, you know what? That's a great idea. She's like one of my favorite voices and that girl can really sing. We actually have some new music that we've done with her that's coming out in 2021 that we're excited about. So definitely, it's a little cross promotion as well as someone who actually can really sing and help take the songs to the next level.
TERRANCE: "Christmas Kiss"
JAMIE JONES: "Christmas Kiss" is a song I did with a young artist named Marissa Lauren and the funny thing is we actually did the song maybe three or four years ago, I think it was. My partner Matt knew her and he and her had started this song and he got me in to help finishing it and he was like, wouldn't you mind doing it as a duet with her? And I said, yeah let's do it because I hadn't released anything in a long time. So we did it and it was like a piano vocal only and I always really loved this song and when I started putting this Christmas EP together I remembered that song because I heard one of my kids listening to it upstairs and I was like, you know what? I should really produce that song out the way that I always heard it. When we were working with her we really just didn't have the time because we were under a time restraints to really produce it out all the way like I did on my EP. So that's what we did and it turned out really great.
TERRANCE: "Give Love On Christmas Day"
JAMIE JONES: "Give Love On Christmas Day" is one of my favorite Christmas songs. That melody is so classic to me. I've just always loved that melody, from Jackson 5's to SWV's version. It was always one of those Christmas songs that I said if I ever get another chance to make another Christmas project, I really want to do that song. So me and my production partners and my boy Monty Neuble who is one of the dopest keyboard players on the planet. I got with Monty and we did something ol'skool Stevie Wonder-ish for this record and that's kind of what we did.
TERRANCE: "Someday At Christmas"
JAMIE JONES: My top three influences as a singer is Prince, Stevie and Donny Hathaway. I've always loved "Someday At Christmas". I love what it talks about and the fact that Stevie recorded that song when he was young in the 60's and now the message is still prevalent today as it was then. Also there's not really a lot of Stevie songs you can really try and this is a Christmas song and everyone loves Christmas songs and so I wanted to do a song from each of my heroes. The only thing is Prince doesn't have any Christmas songs, so I couldn't do Prince, but I wanted to do this and try my hand at it.
TERRANCE: "This Christmas"
JAMIE JONES: "This Christmas" kind of tops it off. Again, I love Donny Hathaway. I've learned a lot from him and just studying him as a singer. I think he's wonderful and one of the most underrated singers of all time. I just love that melody and the thing is we did a version of this song in the 90's on our All-4-One Christmas album. It was fun and we were young, but I always wanted to do one that was a little more classic sounding and paying homage to Donny rather than just being like our new version and so that's what I did with this one or that's what I tried at least.
TERRANCE: So how do you get into the Holiday spirit?
JAMIE JONES: Family. Our kids are home from college because of everything that's going on, so we're all here together and to me, Christmas has a wonderful meaning due to the fact that I am a Christian and of course the main reason for me, I celebrate Christmas because of the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But also it's another opportunity for family to be able to be together and love on one another. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just those days where you look forward to and put aside differences and again, love on one another and enjoying each other's company.
TERRANCE: What do you hope listeners take away from the Christmas at Home with Jamie Jones experience?
JAMIE JONES: Honestly, the thing that I love about all music whether it's Jazz, Gospel, Hip Hop, R&B, Pop, no matter what it is, I love the fact that music gives us an opportunity to kind of just escape whatever it is that we're going through. It can support whatever mood you're in. It can help you fall in love. It can help you have a better relationship with God. It can help you in so many different ways. One thing I love about Christmas music, for me, it makes me happy because the melodies are so classic and they stand the test of time. So the thing that I was hoping people get from this with so much going on in our world with so much heartache and so much pain. People are going through a lot right now and I just figured if I can put something together that would help people to not think about those other things, even if it's just for a few minutes or a little while. I wanted to make something that would put a smile on someone's face and help somebody, then my job is complete. That's what I wanted to accomplish with this record and hopefully it put people in a place where they can just be happy, smile and dance if they want to. I just mainly want to make music that help somebody do something whether it's falling in love or just help them get to a better place and feel some type of emotion. That's why I make music.
TERRANCE: And to wrap it up, what are we to expect in the New Year musically?
JAMIE JONES: We have a lot of music coming at y'all in 2021. I actually have a solo EP that I'm working on. This Christmas EP is kind of a preview for what's to come. I have an EP that I'm putting the finishing touches on for All-4-One. I'm working on new music with Wayne Brady and then I have a couple of artists like Pau, Emily Rae and some other dope artists on my label with my partner. So I'm working with a lot of artists as well as Disney and Netflix and different kid shows and movies.