This week, TheNext2Shine hooked up with with R&B veteran Donell Jones. He gives us exciting news about his newest album release “The Lost Files”, while exclusively informing us that he is expecting to be releasing a brand new R&B album in 2010! On top of all that, Donell tells us how he was able to break into the music industry, while mentioning his personal feelings about the current state of the R&B music scene.
Donell lets begin where have you been the last couple of years?
Last couple of years, I’v just been in the studio. You know, making a few songs and trying to get off Jive Records.
What label are you with at the moment?
Actually!! I’m on my own label, Candyman Music.
So its better to be on your own label for creative freedom and….?
Yeah it's better for creative freedom and you know I can work extra hard for what I want to work for and I can put out a record whenever I want to and I don’t have anybody telling me what I can and cannot do, its perfect for me
Ok, the new album “The Lost Files” out tomorrow, can you tell us about that?
That’s correct its called “The Lost Files” and it's basically an album of songs I’ve done from the past. You know when I record my albums there's a lot of good songs that don't make it on the cut. So I thought of just taking them and putting an album together. I actually have a new album out in 2010, which will be all new music.
Oh so this just a taster for what”s to come?
Yeah, a preview.
And what will be the first single/video from this album?
Right now I think I will release “Bad Boy”, we are kinda undecided whether to do an actual video/single for “Bad Boy” or “Superman”. I don’t know right now, we’ll see!
So, the new album for 2010 is it near to being complete?
Actually its done, I’m just playing around making a few more songs and if I find something better it will go on there.
I’ve heard the preview of the album on Amazon, am I right in saying its mostly a chill out? It feels like an album you can just play and listen to easy, is that what you’ve gone for with this one?
Definitely that is what we are going for. You know an easy listening, real smooth R&B albums with stories about love and relationships. It's pretty much been style throughout my career.
What are the stories of some of the songs on the album? Specifically “Marry Me” ?
Marry me is about a young guy who meets a girl and she just takes him away. He was living in the streets and he found a woman to love.
So it’s not a personal story?
No that song was actually just a story I made up. Another song on the album called “Superman” is pretty much about a guy who does everything he can for a woman but she doesn’t return the favour and its like she just wants him for his money. He’s always there for her but she’s never there for him. I have another song called “Bad Boy” that’s about a guy who just cant get it right, he cheats on his woman and shes not forgiving him this and he’s trying with everything in his power to get her back but its not going to happen.
Now “Assville” I'm kinda feeling what ive heard of that one, but “Assville” whats that all about?
(laughs) Assville was wrote in 02 or 03, I think and its about women with big booties man. I been all over the globe and I just seen fat assses.
So the whole world is "Assville"?
The whole world is assvile, yes! (laughs) and that’s why I made the song, you know paying homage to those girls with great bodies (laughs).
What producers have you worked with on the forthcoming album out in 2010?
Eddie F, Brian Cox and Mic City. I’m pretty much gonna produce most of the work myself. I definitely, definitely wanna get a joint from Ryan Leslie
Is there a name for the New Album and when can we expect it?
No, it's untitled right now, and we are looking at February/March, hopefully February around Valentines Day. It's subject to change though.
Lets talk about your earlier career, first what led you to getting into singing?
My parents, my mom when I was a little kid, she had an amazing record collection, she had around 300 records and she played music constantly everyday. I would wake up and go to sleep to music, my father also sang a lot. I think its down to my parents, growing up in a family who liked to sing, its something I’ve always wanted to do.
And in particularly any artists that stands out of favourite for you growing up?
I got so many man, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Alicia Myers, Tina Marie, Rick James, so many! Music to me back then was so heartfelt and we felt their souls. You can still listen to them songs now and get the message.
In your own opinion, who were some of the best producers you’ve worked with?
Definitely Mic City, Ryan Leslie for sure and Tim and Bob.
And what about other artists?
Its hard to say but my favorite have to be Big Pun and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez. Big Pun because when we were in the studio it was so much fun, like being at a party but working. We never actually got to perform together because he died but what I remember about him was the exciting from him in the studio. Left Eye she definitely helped my career in a big way, You know by appearing on “You Know Whats Up”, and we did the MOBO awards together and the SoulTrain awards together.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
I think my biggest accomplishment was winning the American Music Award for Best Male Artist in 2001 and of course getting a platinum album for “Where I Wanna Be”, it sold 1.6 million.
Do you have any live dates coming up?
Yeah, I’ll be in London from the 10th – 16th February 2010.
What do you think of the current state of R&B? and who are some artists who are impressing you in particular?
I think its kinda terrible with the exception of a few. I really think right now its too thugged out. There's too many people wanting to be R&B thugs, there's not enough love anymore and that’s what R&B is lacking. So anybody who comes out doing something different, they are gonna shine because everything else sounds too much the same. Anybody and their momma nowadays can buy a laptop and make beats, that’s why we here so much manufactured music. As far as favorite artists, I’ll definitely say Ryan Leslie and the only other one I like is Trey Songz.
There's a lot of debate within the industry about illegal downloads, what are your feelings on this?
I really don’t have an opinion, it doesn’t bother me because when it wasn’t downloads it was someone selling CD’s on the street, You are gonna have that but the ultimate goal is to get your music out there. It some cases its bad and it some cases its good because it gets your music out there. I think it hurts the record company but helps the artist.
So, the lost files is out today (11/24/2009), the new album out in February 2010, and live performance dates in the UK in February 2010, right…
Yeah go check out “The Lost Files”, you guys should definitely go check it out and it’ll take you through my history through the music industry, from the '96 era right through to today. I’m happy with it but the album in 2010 is gonna be outstanding! I just wanna say thanks to fans for sticking by me for years. I just gotta say to look out in the New Year because I will dropping a preview on the new CD, I’m hoping to put around 4 or 5 songs out there for free download. Just to give the fans a whiff of what’s coming.
“The Lost Files” is out today (11/26) and is a preview of Donell’s brand new album expected for release in February 2010. Also out, UK fans should check out local ticket outlets for his live dates between February 10th-16th. TheNext2Shine would like to thank Donell Jones for his time for taking part in the interview.