Every pioneer has a story
Charlotte, NC-- (July 29, 2017) -- Glenn Jones performed at the TCB 54 Hundred Bar & Grill for their festive day party, but not before giving me life in the form of casual conversation and laughs.
With an unwinding burst of nostalgia draped in peaceful vibes, my interview with legendary vocalist, Glenn Jones, was outstanding.
For starters, the crooner shared that he is a Florida native that began as a gospel singer, before making it big as an R&B vocalist.
He snatched his big break in the early 80’s, when Norman Connors featured him on a saucy track from his album called Melancholy Fire. Agreed! The title sounds a little downtrodden, but it's simply cosmetics. The track was a game changer, and it allowed Glenn to crossover as the song entered at number 20 on the Billboard R&B Charts, landing him aloofly in the genre of Rhythm and Blues.
“Back in those days, it was all about Gospel cause I grew up in a church. You know, there were certain artist that I really took [a liking] to, Gospel artist like the Mighty Clouds of Joy—those guys, they were like Rockstar’s.
By the time I was 12, I was traveling with them from Florida to California as an opening act.
Of course, when I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to listen to R&B cause I was raised in a Pentecostal Church. I had my little 45’s [7 inch vinyl records], some stuff that I would buy and stash away from my mom.
As I got older, I started gravitating to music by secular artist. Donny Hathaway was one of my favorites-- Stevie Wonder, Bobby Womack, Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight; and those were the people that inspired me.
When I decided to do R&B, I wanted to do music that was not offensive, but acceptable to everybody.”
At 20-years-old, Glenn eventually inked a deal with RCA Records, and released an EP during the same calendar year called Everybody Loves a Winner. He also released a snazzy short album featuring the single, I am Somebody.
“From that point, people that inspired me was Peabo Bryson and Switch, they inspired me. I get my inspiration from different sources but I try to keep it positive, whatever it is. I like to do feel-good music, romance with commitment, and romance beyond the one-night stands.”
During his career, Glenn released about 12 cataloged albums from 1983 to 2003, and approximately 24 chart topping singles with Show Me fixated at the number 3 spot. Here We Go Again crept magnificently to the number 1 placement.
After stirring the gospel circuits with a variety of harmonizing ranges, Mr. Jones could create in both genres of Gospel and R & B.
“I’m still doing R&B, and I have a brand-new record coming out called Love By Design. I have a combination—it’s smooth R&B, cause it’s got a taste of jazz here-and-there by this guy named Chris Davis. He produced the record, and he is the one that produced Maze, Phil Perry and Gerald Albright. We’re finishing up another song, a duet that I’m doing with Regina Bell. It’s a great record. It’s a quality record with real music and real songs.”
Glenn Jones said the thing that inspired the latest project is the fact that it’s been so long since he created new material although he was featured on a compilation project about a year ago entitled, “It’s All Because of You.” The single spun on iHeartRadio, and according to Mr. jones, it did really well.
“There was a time where you could be more consistent with new music because of the way the record labels treated backing and finance. Now, you have artist going at it on their own. It makes things a little difficult; but then again, there are two sides to every coin. It makes it difficult, but creatively, you have more autonomy. You can do more of what you want to do.”
Adding to the bountiful statement, Mr. Jones said that the demand for Rhythm and Blues is still pretty significant, and that he is approached all the time about making music. He also shared that he prefers to make timeless pieces.
Since there is no retail for music the way it used to be, he’s saddling up his latest hits, and going for it.
The songster is able to stay relevant because he prays a lot, and he stays true to himself even when music goes through its bipolar stages of morphism and provoking sentiments.
“Record labels will get you to emulate someone else. I’ve seen a lot of artist play themselves by doing that. I just stay true to who I am. Now, there is a certain approach to production and I’m speaking sonically. You have to stay up on the new trends and stuff, to sound relevant and current, but you can still be true to who you are. A lot of this new music comes from them listening to the old-school, and they are sampling everything. There is no new-school without the old-school.”
When he isn’t creating records, Glenn is touring and singing his beloved mantras all over the world.
“I’ve done a lot of touring in Europe and the last trips I went to were Germany and Croatia; even going to Asia… just ah, whoever wants to hear Glenn Jones sing, that’s where I go.”
Glenn Jones was a ball of comedic outburst and humility who understands that in order to sustain in this industry, one must be a good steward long after he’s made it successfully.
In less than three words, the artist describes himself as honest, faithful and dependable.
He lives by life motto, ‘Treat everybody the way you want to be treated. Give everybody respect and you will deserve respect in return.”
Glenn said that he prefers turkey over chitterlings— “The house that I grew up in, we observed Saturday as a Sabbath. We were like a seven-day Evangelist, we observed some of the doctrine from the Jewish religion. We ate clean. We didn’t eat shellfish, pork or any of that. I grew up with a lot of brothers and sisters who had already moved out. I was the last one… so when I wanted to sneak and eat a pork chop sandwich, I’d go to my brother’s house.”
If Glenn could share the stage with someone living or otherwise, it’d have to be with the Great Whitney Houston.
“She had a beautiful voice, incredible talent… she was just a beautiful person. She was a good person that just got caught up in all the crazy drama that the world and industry can bring sometimes. I met Whitney years ago, at a birthday party that Clive Davis had thrown for her in New York. She was so nice and so gracious. Then, I knew Bobby Brown for quite some time. You, know sometimes they would be on the tour bus and he would come and holler at me and stuff…
I was in Houston, Texas during sound check, and the music promoter stopped me to share that she had passed. I couldn’t believe it.”
Still remembering things as it was just happening yesterday, Jones said that his favorite music session wasn’t in the studio, it was with the actual band and orchestra.
When I was recording for RCA, and we were working at a studio called, ‘The Power Station.’ Everybody who was anybody, knew about ‘The Power Station.’
I was getting ready to record a song called, ‘Thank You for The Love,’ and when I walked in, there was a thirty-piece ensemble there. I was 21-years-old. I puffed my chest and said to myself, ‘This is my joint.’ I recorded a song with an orchestra and it was amazing.”
Glenn said that back in his day, an arranger did the string and horn arrangements, and the producer would help put their song together. Now, the keyboard player is trying to find a bassline.
If he could do music all over again, Glenn still would’ve crossed over, creating those sexy love ballads that’s playing on airwaves, and compilation CD’s today.
“it wasn’t meant for me to play gospel. Even doing what I do, I have been able to affect people. A lot of people come to me and say that my song saved their marriage. They raised their family up from my music and stuff like that. I think there are different types of ministries. Even though you might be in the church and caught up in the church, there are certain things in the natural that you got to deal with. When your husbands acting up and you can’t get the attention you want, you can’t put on The Hawkins or Andre Crouch, You know what I’m sayin?
So, you need someone to speak to you from a different perspective.
Churches have come so far… I’ve done marriage retreats where couples have done the romantic thing and I have done. I did a birthday party for a female pastor in Atlanta. She and her husband co-pastored, and they flew me in as a surprise. Her husband got up and started talking. He said that when he fell in love with her, he had to adapt and fall in love with some of things that she loved, and Glenn Jones music was one of the things.”
He's a humanitarian that continues to give back. Glenn is also founder of The Love Jones Foundation. The foundation supports under privileged children through musical education and mentoring. He hosts classes that range from functionality of instruments to the fundamentals of music--kids learn the difference between 45's and CD's.
The Love Jones Foundation also provides music therapy for senior citizens living in nursing homes.
Obviously, Glenn Jones has a heart that's bigger than Winnie the Pooh, and he's 10x noble.
As mentioned above, not only is Glenn Jones's music timely, but timeless. He's an absolute legend who's able to woo lovers, all while catering to the less fortunate. He's sympathetic to the needs of others always, infinity plus infinity, forevermore...
In closing, if you want to follow Mr. Jones, check out his Twitter and Instagram, or listen to a few of his old tunes.
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