Songstress Kelly*Jones is accustomed to drawing comparisons to artists like
Lauryn Hill and India.Arie. In fact, she does a cover of Arie’s “Brown Skin”
that is so stirring, it’s tallied nearly 12,000 views on YouTube. But where
Arie made a name for herself with “acoustic soul,” Jones has crafted
“electric soul”—a striking mix of soul and synth—her very own.
Hailing from Mount Vernon, NY, Jones’ origins in music are fairly familiar:
she grew up singing in the youth choir at her father’s church, becoming a
soloist early on. Having her voice and soul nurtured by both the faith-based
community as well as by her three older and wiser sisters (two of them also
singers), writing lyrics quickly became a form of expression for a child with
much to say, but few willing to hear it. This environment, a cacophony of set
boundaries and independent thought, along with varied influences like
Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, Donny Hathaway, and Sheryl Crow,
became the conduit that helped shape Jones’ mentality about the role music
plays in life and in personal growth.
As an adult, messages of self-knowledge and empowerment are prevailing
themes in Jones’ songs. She gives an offering of earnestness, both musically
and personally, on the song “Electric Soul” from her forthcoming 2013
album. When she sings: “this electricity is burning in my soul and I gotta get
it out,” there is an undeniable sense that she means more than just the music
itself. Throughout her songwriting, she allows listeners to eavesdrop on her
internal dialogues, with real-life struggles underscoring even the catchiest of
melodies. On the skillfully rendered “Alphabet Song”, Jones sings her
ABCs—literally—and shares her disappointment in the industry machine
that has yet to embrace her. The song’s opening statement, “do you hear
what they play on the radio these days? I guess anything will pass for
music,” is a bold testimony for a singer to make, but Jones has more than
enough vocal talent to justify the sentiment.
Having shared her gifts as a solo artist for ten years, Jones has travelled as
far as Ghana and Italy to perform and hone her self-assured stage presence.
She has shared the stage with renowned rock-jazz pianist ELEW (Eric
Lewis), opened for Grammy winner Marsha Ambrosius, “freestyled” with
comedian/singer Reggie Watts, and counts a first place win at the famed
Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night among her many accomplishments. Also
the musical director, keyboard player, and vocalist for the group Kolition,
Kelly helped lead the band to a 2013 Best Hip Hop Group victory at the
Artist in Music Awards in Los Angeles.
As her achievements and accolades continue to grow, it is the depth of
emotion in her voice that truly sets her apart from her contemporaries. Jones’
vocals are instantly recognizable as genuine, resulting in lyrics and melodies
that are inspired. She proudly represents the continuing resurgence of artists
who exalt passion and innovation; the ones who relish in straying away from
roads most travelled. Her identity as a songwriter is born from a desire to
change common perceptions.
Jones firmly believes that music, an ancient and sacred form of
communication, possesses an electricity that can be felt and understood by
anyone, no matter their native tongue. This electricity inhabits the body,
envelops the spirit, and ultimately makes us all feel alive.
As she prepares to set her own voltage to its highest level, Kelly*Jones seeks
to be a radiant contrast to the commonplace and predictable trends in
music.“I call my music Electric Soul because I believe that good music
should make you unable to sit still. It should invoke you to dance, groove,
bop your head, tap your foot; it should make you feel something. And even
beyond moving you physically, good music should also stir you spiritually.
To me, electric is the best way to describe the way music makes me feel.” –