Hailing from Shreveport, Louisiana, Willie Jones is one of the most exciting artists to have emerged in Country Music in the last decade or so.
Wowing audiences with his baritone vocals, Jones has more than surpassed his X Factor USA days (which was over a decade ago) making a strong name for himself within country music and proving his worth as a singer/songwriter and outstanding performer.
Jones brings something a little different to country music! He just makes it cool! He has an easy goin attitude and a natural flair for making a solid, soulful tune. When you live in the UK sometimes people still laugh a little when you say you like Country Music but playing Willie Jones will likely prove them wrong!
Jones is no stranger to the UK, we love having him here and we hope that it’s a regular thing!
We caught up with Willie at C2C Festival 2023. Whilst it wasn’t our first time as a publication interviewing him, it was my first time. As a fan of his since watching him on the X Factor, we did discuss that briefly although that is something I feel is no longer needed to be brought up in interviews and I very much look forward to a more in depth follow up interview when he has released new music this year!
Jones embarks on tour this month with friends Rvshvd and Renee Blair. Info and tickets here.
Hi Willie – how are you?
I am great, how about you?
Great thank you! When did you arrive in the UK?
We got here yesterday morning!
What was the journey like?
It was long long long flight from L.A. I live in Nashville, Tennesse but was in L.A to do some work.
Welcome back, it’s nice to have you here again!
I had to come back. Last time was such a good time, just being back stage and seeing the fans here.
Tell us about coming to the UK – do you get to site see a lot?
I haven’t this trip so far but last time I was here I saw some sites and had good food.
Do you have any food and drink you like to have when here that you don’t necessarily have in the US? Everyone usually goes for Guinness.
Oh Guinness for sure, I wanted to visit the museum. In Germany we had some sort of meat thing..?
Bratwursts are good!
I am down to try any kind of food.
I watched you on the X Factor….
And I remember, actually you’re the only act I do remember because you stood out for me singing country music. It was just…
It was! And your career has just taken off wonderfully from there. I have always been a bit curious about those experiences at X Factor, is it a strange experience?
So growing up I would always watch Idol and I never thought that I would audition for this show. I knew I wanted to sing and I knew I wanted to do this but I never thought that that would be the pathway that I would take. It was a really cool experience it was really cool. I actually had smaller auditions in the mall in my small hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. They took the first 100 people and if you won, they would fly you out to Carolina to wait in line and I had a skip in line pass. Then we waited months and then got a call back that they wanted us for the real auditions in front of Simon, Britney…. I was fresh out of high school so it was so new to me to be able to travel and sing in front of these people and have people recognise me but it was a really cool experience. I am happy I got out there to audition in the mall.
Did Josh Turner ever hear the audition?
I think he has…I feel like he has, who was it that told me? One of my friends told me that they played it for him.
I wanted to know have you ever pulled up in a car alongside someone or been near someone who has been playing your music?
Yes I have!!! I have passed a couple of cars that were jamming my music and I was like “Hey, it’s me!” My friend called me last week and I missed the call when she first called me and she sent me a video saying “they’re playing your music in Top Golf, they’re playing your music in Top Golf” haha!
Amazing! That must be a good feeling!
What song of yours is a family favourite?
Oh my fam, they’re the biggest fans so they ride with everything! Down by the Riverside is one that people really love! My fam, they have been supporting me since I was a kid so it’s cool to have them still supporting. My mum posts me on her Instagram every day, she will DM random artists saying “check out my sons music”.
Tell us a little bit about your single No Tellin’
Ooh no Tellin’. I am really excited about it! So No Tellin’ just dropped. It’s a story about doodling around, just leaving it there haha. Yeah I am really excited that it’s out. I wrote it a couple of years ago actually and it was one that the label really liked so I put it out.
What’s a typical writing session like for you?
I like it warm in the studio. It depends which producer I am working with or what the vibe is for the day. Sometimes we will just be sitting out on the guitar and figuring it out. Very seldom that happens though as usually I am like let’s just write different sounds and create a vibe that I can freestyle into if I have an idea. I have notes in my phone with song titles and things like that so I just go and have it out.
Do you have a lot of involvement with the production of your songs?
Yes definitely! I like to have my ear on things and place where certain instruments come in or come out.
Has anything ever sounded completely different from the writing room to studio version?
Yes that has happened. We start out on a totally different vibe and then weeks later we make it a whole different song. It’s really cool to see where a song can grow to become in the end. I call it like magic. Something out of nothing.
I just love making music, playing music, being here in Europe!
Good, let’s hope it will be a regular thing.
Oh definitely, definitely!
Have you ever been in the writing room where it’s just not happening for whatever reason, maybe writers you haven’t met before and that vibe just isn’t there yet? If so, how do you overcome that?
You just stick out man because there are so many times in Nashville when you will get into a studio with people you don’t know. It is always cool to just break the ice and talk. Sometimes we don’t even get to write so we just talk, have a drink and then come back. I never like wish to get a song complete because it can always grow from there. In the writing room, if you’re not getting it, we will probably have a verse and chorus and sometimes we just scrap that and try something else! I never try to put too much pressure on myself creating music.
Well you can always go back to those songs?
Many artists do don’t they? and then it sometimes becomes their biggest hit!
Exactly! The first song on my debut album (Right Now ) ‘Country Soul’ was something that I wrote when I was 18. It was one of the first songs that I wrote after X Factor. The chorus was different. Then fast forward 8 years and we were writing this chorus with a guitar and I was like “I have this song that I wrote and haven’t released that these verses will fit perfectly with” so we just did it and it was the first song in my debut!
What are you working on at the moment?
Now? Ooh….I actually have more songs coming out. I am dropping one every month. I am actually hitting the road, I’ve got some tour dates coming up at the end of this month as well with my guy RVSHVD (pronounced Ra-Shaad) and Renee Blair.
What do you usually put on your ryder?
Hmmm. Tequilla haha! You know I’m not bothered as long as we got some water, some whiskey, some tequila, apples, oranges and grapes.
Thank you so much for today, I appreciate it so much
Thank you, I appreciate you too!
Categories: Country 2 Country Festival (C2C), Interviews, Latest
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