IN TUNE: Jones brings passion and pain to her performances.
Earthy and lavishly soulful, Racquel Jones is a talented rising star whose spoken word-meets-R&B-meets reggae style blends traces of everyone from Jill Scott to Lauryn Hill to Etana. The 24-year-old songbird was recently in action at the Gungo Walk Alternative Music and Arts Festival, where she not only impressed yours truly with her lush lyrical tunes and inspired cover choices, but other festivalgoers with an eye and ear for real talent. Speaking with TALLAWAH by phone, here's what Miss Jones is talking about.
TALLAWAH: How do you define yourself as an artist?
There are different creative sides to me that collide when I'm on stage. I'm a creative visual artist and a performance artist and I have influences in fashion and visual art. So I try to combine all of them whenever I'm performing.
How do you stay in shape vocally? What strategies do you use?
I don't drink anything with ice and I don't smoke. I've also done training in voice and speech a few years ago, and I was also trained as a vocalist in high school heading into [the] Edna Manley [College].
In what ways did your upbringing help prepare you for a career in the arts?
I grew up in a very sheltered home, but I know about what was going on in the world because my mother told us. I'm from Long Bay, Portland, and things like moral values are very dear to me, and I think that also influences my work.
Who are you listening to right now?
I'm listening to Stephen Marley's last album and Kanye West' latest record. I like the lyricism and depth that Kanye has, and Stephen brings that really old-school vibe that reminds you of Bob Marley.
What do you see in your future?
I'm seeing myself doing something that's not been done before musically in Jamaica. I want to surpass what I have achieved so far and look towards taking my music internationally.
What's your all-time favourite reggae/dancehall album?
It's hard to choose, but I'd have to go with Welcome to Jamrock. I don't think anybody else is doing what Damian Marley is doing, in terms of that real dub reggae style. And I really admire that.