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Real Life Stories
By: Wesley Sinclair
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Divas who love classic R&B hits will remember Donell Jones’s hits. Just to mention a couple - ‘Where I Wanna Be’, ‘U Know What’s Up’ - the latter a duet with the incredibly talented Lisa ‘Left eye’ Lopez – late member of American R&B HIP-HOP female group TLC (divas who shook music at its roots). Mr Jones has decided that it is time that we feel his flavour again, and he sure delivers.

DivaScribe catches up with this maverick to discuss his sixth self-produced studio album ‘Lyrics’ released September 28th 2010. Debuting at #5 on the Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart, #9 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and also #22 on the Billboard 200. It is time to start saving up for your copy (i.e. if you haven’t already got it) but be sure to make out time for his future tour/concert(s) dates.
How hard was it for you to get recognised when you first got into the industry?
I had to work very hard when I first got into the industry, but my tenacity and passion to succeed came from my mum and dad - I mean without them - it may have been different.  I learned a lot from them and I am not sure if I could have done it without them.

Did you have a plan B, i.e. something to fall back on if you didn't make it in the music industry, or was that not even a consideration?
I don't know what I would have done if I wasn't singing. I mean it's very difficult to say what would have happened if I wasn't singing. Things are so much different now - but if I wasn't singing, I would probably be doing something behind the scenes in the movie industry.

In your album ‘Lyrics’ is there an underlying meaning behind the song ‘Strip Club’ and who came up with the title - you or Yung Joc? (Yung Joc features in it.)
(Pauses…. then laughs). It was my idea. The reason I chose the song was because I thought why not make a song about turning your bedroom into a strip club that’s pretty much it (chuckles).
Certain couples may want to spice up things in the bedroom - so why not place a pole in there.
Wow - so a lot of folks in the US are doing it – is this some sort of new craze?
(Laughs) I don’t know what the percentage is - but there are a lot of people adding poles in their bedrooms (laughs again).
Ok - now to the serious matter of music, do you prefer producing or writing?
I wouldn’t want to have one without the other - I love both equally the same.
Any favourite track from your album?
I don't have a favourite track as such from this album - there are a few good ones, so it's really hard to just pick one. If pushed (pauses reflectively…) I would have to say ‘Just A Little’, ‘All About The Sex’, and Your Place.
So when you are writing new material, is it fair to surmise that your music/lyrics is a reflection of your life and where you are at – as of that period?
Yes, of course it is. Musically and emotionally my songs say a lot about where I am – at that stage in my life. It is really the same for most artists.
One of your biggest hits was ‘U Know What’s Up’ - tell us a bit about your collaboration with the late Lisa Left Eye Lopez?
(Speaking softly) She was just incredible. Her charisma, the way she lit up the place when she walked into a room ….man. A great talent and a fun person to be around. I wasn’t there when she recorded her vocals for the song, but we got together for a lot of the La Face (Record Label) functions, the video shoot, the UK MOBO Awards, as well as a lot of other Awards shows. Just hanging with her was an enjoyable experience. 
She seemed like a very positive person and came across as someone who knew exactly what she wanted.
Definitely - very positive, driven and very professional.
Now talking ladies …do you have a particular type of woman that you are attracted to?
I like a woman that is sophisticated; someone that takes really good care of herself – you know - looks good and smells good. I even love the make up - all of that stuff.
Basically - just a woman that loves to be a woman and makes the most of her femininity.
What was your experience like as a young man growing up in the industry, did you have a lot of groupies hanging around you?
I must say when I was younger I had fun (laughs softly), it was all a new experience for me.  I was a young man and was just enjoying the fame. I wasn’t taking the business part of it too serious. But I definitely had a lot of groupies around.
Are you a married man now?
I am not a married man - but I am definitely close to someone.
So we can expect an announcement pretty soon?
Umm…I don’t know how soon you can expect an announcement, but I am close and I have a really good woman in my life at the moment (laughs). (We get the feeling DJ is well and truly off the market now divas – damn!).
What do you do in your spare time, and who is the real Donell Jones?
In my spare time I'm a home person. I really don't like to go out a lot - I’ve done a lot of that in the past - so that (partying etc) doesn't really excite me.  I love the comfort of my home, but what I really do when I’m not unwinding and messing with my X- Box console is learning new things when I have time. I'm constantly trying to research something new on the internet, books or whichever. I'm like the do it yourself kind of guy. I love to find out what makes things tick, turn and twist - so that's basically what I do.
What are your views on the US and UK singing talent shows?
(Laughs) Reality shows are a great form of entertainment - but at the same time you can find some really good people. Some of the talent would have never got the chance to be discovered if it wasn’t for the TV exposure.
Finally have you got any future tour dates lined-up?
Definitely – I will let my fans know once dates are lined-up.
DivaScribe couldn’t have met with a more down to earth guy (our divas ideal divo – sadly now off the market). Donell’s album Lyrics has been out for a few months now folks, but definitely one that doesn’t disappoint and is a keeper.
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