by De’Juan Galloway
Chicago native Donnell Jones steps back onto the scene with his new album “Lyrics.” Lead single, “Love Like This” offers elements of familiarity as heard in Jones’ first hit singles, “Where I Wanna Be” and “Shorty Got Her Eyes On Me.”
But, the same this album is not. Jones cites personal growth, becoming an entrepreneur and elevated lyricism as the main ingredients in “Lyrics,” due out September 28th. He promises delivery of real R&B on this LP, referring to the obvious decline of authenticity in the genre. Jones is back from his hiatus and conveys the utmost excitement in discussing his return. He planning a nationwide tour in support of his forthcoming album.
Madame Noire: Everyone wants to know: where have you been?
Donnell Jones: Oh man! I’m getting this album out and hooked up with E-One to get distribution for my label. I’m happy about being an entrepreneur.
MN: You want to talk a little bit about your entrepreneurship?
DJ: Oh yeah! I just started my own company titled “Candy Man Music.” I’m the first artist who’s going to be released on it and I have this new album coming out called “Lyrics,” which I’m sure the fans are going to love! I’ve shown a lot of growth from the last project and I’m really excited about this new venture!
MN: Can you tell us about the reason behind the name of the album “Lyrics?” Where does it come from and what’s the inspiration?
DJ: Throughout my career, I’ve always prided myself on writing great lyrics. I feel as a lyricist and songwriter, it’s important that I put a message in my music and talk about things that people can get inspiration from. When you make records, lyrics are the things people really can sit back and listen to and it can change people lives so that’s why I’m calling the album “Lyrics” because I’m talking about some real strong situations like love (either good or bad). I figured that would be a strong title.
MN: Are we getting a lot of slow and mid-tempo songs? What’s the feel of the album?
DJ: The feel of the album is definitely all about love. I have a couple of up-tempo tracks on there but it’s mostly ballads and mid-tempos.
MN: We know the industry has changed drastically since you first stepped on the scene. How do you define success with this album?
DJ: I just did a show [during] Harlem Week and the demographic of fans I had out there – I had 18 all the way to 50 years of age. So, I’ve been able to touch a lot of different age groups through my music and it’s not geared towards any age group. It’s feel good music that’s so R&B that I feel has been missing for sometime. And I haven’t changed from that. That’s going to be success for me: when I can reach people again and I get that soul back into the people. I feel we have lost the love in the music. When you talk about sex in a record, there are so many ways you can talk about it without going into it. You want to leave a little something to the imagination and I feel that’s what I’ve done with the record.
MN: What are your thoughts on the R&B artists in the industry right now? Do you have any thoughts on the Trey Songz and Chris Brown?
DJ: I think they’re definitely talented or they wouldn’t be here! They have their own name and are doing a good job at what they do. What makes me so different is that I write and produce my own material and come from a different perspective. That’s what is going to make me stand out because out of those guys who go to the same producers, a lot of the stuff sounds the same so when you put my record on versus one of theirs, [my] subject matter will make me stand out from one of those guys as well as make people understand that there are different styles in R&B.
MN: And what are differences that you’ve noticed now versus when you stepped in?
DJ: The music itself has changed so much. I love the fact that I can reach out to my fans and we can talk personally, one-on-one. Back then, you had to send in fan mail and you would hope the artist would read it or get it. Now, the social networking is beautiful that I can talk directly with my fans and they can give me insight on what they feel I should be doing. And letting them know my day-to-day life on what I’m doing/going through.
MN: And will there be a tour with this album?
DJ: Oh definitely! I’m on promotional tour right now and trying to get everywhere. I’m going from Mississippi to the grassroots to California and overseas! I’m doing it all! This time around, I feel like I’m starting my career over. I have to touch hands, kiss babies, and let the crowd know that I’m back and better than ever!
MN: Is there any pressure you feel coming back?
DJ: No, no pressure. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I really want to focus on becoming an entrepreneur and getting on my own label and getting that thing right first before I get back out. Sky’s the limit!
MN: Any last words for the fans?
DJ: I appreciate those who have supported me throughout the years! The album “Lyrics” is going to be absolutely phenomenal and you can listen to it from the beginning to the end and let it play! Thanks for supporting me through the years! I love them for it!