Award-winning pianist, producer, and composer Jamar Jones is best known for composing original music for The New Edition Story on BET but he’s just added another accomplishment to his list! Jones, who has worked alongside many musical powerhouses such as Patti LaBelle, Jill Scott, and Fantasia has just released his first solo album entitled, Fatherless Child. Join us in an exclusive interview with Jamar Jones as he gives insight into his new album and what it was like working with musical legends!
Tell us about yourself. When did you know that music would become such a big part of your life?
I’m Jamar Jones, I am from Philadelphia; born and raised. On the playground is where I spent most of my days, sitting back… you know the rest (laughs). I’ve lived in Philly all my life and of course, I’ve had the opportunity to be apart of the entire music scene, where I’m from.
I’m a musician, producer, songwriter, you name it. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of different people. Now, I get the opportunity to be an artist and present my own music.
I think that music became a reality for me around 1994, I was a junior in high school and was selected to the Grammy All American High School Jazz Band. Out of a few thousand students, I was selected to be in the Grammy band. The band plays for all of the Grammy week festivities. At 16-years-old, I was at the Grammys and that is when it became a reality that people actually do make a living, not just on television but I was rubbing elbows with those people during that time. That experience phenomenally changed my life.
I remember going to Radio City Musical Hall that year and when I turned the corner, the crowd cheered, it was amazing! I thought they were cheering for me (laughs) I turned to my left and it was Kenny G standing beside me (laughs). They were actually cheering for Kenny G but I was there in the moment (laughs).
What was it like working alongside Boyz II Men, Jill Scott, Kanye West, Fantasia and more! Out of all the powerhouses you’ve worked with, do you have a favorite thus far? Do you believe they have taught you anything as an artist?
A favorite… You’re going to get me in trouble (laughs). I’m not saying this because this is politically correct but every artist I’ve worked with in some way, embodies something that I’ve been able to draw from. Patti LaBelle is important because of her ability to deliver a musical phrase is unmatched. There is not anyone around that delivers music the way she does with the type of passion she has.
Boyz II Men was at the top of the world from a business standpoint and musically and still remain to be one of the best.
Jill Scott is the art of expression. I spent six weeks of my life on tour with her and it’s been exhilarating to watch Jill be alter-expressive.
I’m not sure whether or not I have a favorite. What I gain from every artist that I’ve had the opportunity to work with is the individuality of their presentation, which is kind of what led me be able to do this now and be comfortable in my skin to have individuality in my presentation.
Tell us about your NEW album, Fatherless Child.
I would classify Fatherless Child as an artistic representation of my personal story. It embodies the emotions that I’ve had about my father, becoming a father, and it’s my attempt to express not just my story but the emotions I feel we, as humans all have as well.
On it, we take a journey through different types of music, different music styles, it’s classified as jazz but it has a little soul, a little old school, down-home music. They all represent all the different expression and emotional expressions that I have.
You are an NAACP Image Award winner for composing original music for The New Edition Story on BET. Can you share the experience with us?
That is an honor I share with Adam Blackstone and a few peers. We all happen to be very close friends. Adam pulled us together because he works with Jesse Collins Entertainment. We did it, we worked on six hours of film to come up with music for that film. No one had any expectations that 30 million people would view it. That was a great experience because my son, who is now 12-years-old, he learned about musical history in a way that was very impactful. He told me he knew that his calling was to be like Bobby Brown (laughs).
What can we expect to see from Jamar Jones in the future?
More music of course! I believe my calling, real talk is to be able to address social changes through the arts. It starts with Fatherless Child. I just want to help others whether it’s through emotional healing or just helping them understand themselves. I definitely want to do more collaborations and feature films, which I can’t talk about quite yet. In addition, I also teach history hip-hop at the University of Texas at Arlington and I’m excited about that, it will be my third year and this year, I have some exciting surprises for my students just based on my career
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All Images provided by Brittany Godwin of W & W