[Writer/Interviewer: Ahsinet Monee]
From Louisiana to California, Country Soul Singer Willie Jones is out here making a name for himself in these Hollywood streets. Growing up in the tough streets of Louisiana, Jones was determined to make it out. At just 17 years-old, Willie Jones was a contestant on X-Factor, a lifetime experience that sparked off his music career. After X-Factor, He then became one of the Top 10 finalist for IHeart Rising Stars competition. Now, Willie is out touring across the country, and promoting his new EP “Road Waves”. I had the pleasure of speaking to Willie Jones about all his successful work and upcoming projects. Take a look at our interview below.
Where are you from?, What was your childhood like?
Well, I’m actually from Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s like North Louisiana. The 318, the (Ratchet) city, born and raised. I’ve been out here in California for like a year, but before I moved out here- my childhood was pretty dope. Both parents really supportive, I got two sisters that will ride or die for me. I’m really close to my family and my friends. They always been really supportive, of how much of unicorn I am. I’m a freaking weirdo sometimes.They always saw something in me, and I saw it in myself too. I never really was the one to doubt my gifts that God blessed me with, I just try to stay up on it.
At 17 years-old you was on the X-Factor, How was that experience for you?
It was really crazy. I never even planned on auditioning for any kind of singing shows. Just because, I just never thought that I will ever make it to one of those things. Just because so many people audition for them and stuff. But, I had a friend and he was like yoo-you got to try it out. So, I tried it out and even going into it I didn’t put to much pressure on myself .Because I knew what God got for me he got for me. So I went into it just chilling, like me chilling. And, ended up making it on the show. It was a great experience, I met some of my best friends there, alot of dope producers and writers.I was introduced to the world on that show, so it’s something that I’m definitely grateful for.
So you released your EP “Road Waves” this year, what were some of the steps you took to making sure this EP was perfect?
Just kept listening to it honestly. I work with a producer son, Cook. He pretty much produced out the whole thing, and we wrote most of it together. But, just going back and just making sure everything just sounded good. Probably three days before it dropped, I was like its missing something. And, I got this guy who played this instrument called, Dobro. It kind of like a guitar, but it lays on your lap and it’s just country as hell. We added that to like three of the tracks got it mixed down. I think that instrument just added so much to the project, and I was really happy with it after that.
What kind of music would you most identify yourself with? Would you go more towards the Country side, or is it in between?
It’s definitely in between. It’s in the country genre on all the platforms and things like that. And, that’s kind of like, I don’t want to say- selling point of it. I’m inspired by so much music, like I grew up listening to everything..everything. Top 40 pop stuff, Usher was my dog, Chris Brown was my boy. Just a lot of different music, and I was in musical theater so I like story-telling. But, yes definitely a mixture of the things that I’m inspired by, definitely got the country thing to it. Which it’s cool, it’s cool.
You’re one of the finalist for IHeart’s Rising Stars, What was that process like?
So yeah the iHeart Radio Rising Star competition it was like sponsored by Macy’s. Pretty much, they just hit me up they saw that I had a song out, and we submitted some paperwork, Then they picked the Top 10, and I was one of those artist. People voted on who they wanted, you could vote up to like 50 times a day everyday. I didn’t make it to the Top 5, but it was definitely a honor and a blessing to make it to the Top 10 out of everybody who was submitted. And, I was one of the only country people in the competition, and I was the only Black dude.
What type of legacy do you hope to leave behind for your fans, and all your supporters?
I’ve never been ask this question, so great question. When I started doing country like really singing it, and kind of mixing it by what I’m influenced by. I never saw anybody be in the country lane. Shoutout to Charley Pride a black country singer, Cowboy Troy, it’s a few other ones. But, I never saw anybody who was this young and hip. I’m not wearing a cowboy hat, I’m not wearing cowboy boots. I’m not trying to be a Cowboy, I’m just being this kid from the 318 who got this gift and writes these songs. I love country music, I love all music. So, the legacy I want to leave behind is just somebody who opened up the doorway for more people like me Black, Mexican, Chinese, whatever to get in the country game and just express through this type of music. I want to be, I already am one of the first, I’m the Jackie Robinson of this. I just want to be one the people who inspire people to step out the box.
Is there anybody in your Hometown that you listen to, that we should know about, that people should know about? Who may not be as known but you’re rooting for them to make it?
Great question. I literally just tweeted his name is Jawuan Ford. I literally was just outside watching his videos and tweeted one of his videos on my twitter. Just a crazy lyricist, super colorful. Talk about the struggle, positive at the same time, and got bars. So my boy Jawuan Ford, we went to high school together. I remember sitting by him in art class, and all he will do he wouldn’t do any of his work, he will just write raps in the 10th grade. So he’s definitely somebody who I’m rooting for. He’s doing his thing, he’s been traveling a lot, working with different producers, bigger producers. So yeah, Jawuan Ford, Jawuan Ford, Jawuan Ford.
Is there anyone who you will love to collaborated with who you haven’t already? It could be a singer, a writer, a producer, with anyone?
There so many, it’s so many. There’s this one country artist name Kacey Musgraves, who’s an amazing songwriter. I want to write with, collab with. There’s so many dope rappers out, I want to do like a country song with the Migos. Timbaland is a great producer, and he actually has produced a country song for Brad Paisley, and a few other country artist. So yeah, Timbaland, Migos, and Kacey Musgraves.
Make sure to follow Willie Jones on Instagram and Twitter @williejones he is definitely on the rise!