Since releasing his breakthrough song ‘Bachelorettes On Broadway’ in 2019, Willie Jones has been winning over fans with his unique blend of country, rock and hip-hop.
Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Jones released his debut album, ‘Right Now’, in 2021 and has wowed audiences on both sides of the pond with his energetic performance style. Earlier this month, he finally made it back to the UK for C2C, having been due to play the cancelled 2020 festival – and marking his first trip here since Country Music Week in 2019.
Whilst he was here, I spoke to Willie about his experience of the festival, new single ‘No Tellin”, how his approach to his music has evolved and what’s coming next for him in 2023.
Welcome back to London!
Thank you! It’s good to be back. It’s good to be back.
How have you found it this time around? Does it feel you’re building a fan base here?
Oh, for sure. I would definitely say for sure. I mean this is, what, my third time here? And I would say I’m definitely building a fan base here. I’m really excited for the shows. Got some tweets and Instagrams from people who are looking forward to seeing me. So yeah, I’m excited. Feeling the love already.
Are there any songs you’re particularly enjoying playing live at the moment?
Ooh, the new one, ‘No Tellin”. Really the whole set, I’m looking forward to playing.
Speaking of ‘No Tellin” – what can you tell us about that song?
‘No Tellin”, I mean, it’s one of the ones where it’s just a story about lollygagging away [laughs]. When you listen to the song, you already know, it’s no telling, so you just gotta listen to it [laughs].
Is it typical of the direction you’re going in with your music now?
Oh, for sure. For sure. I mean I like to go into the studio with no bounds on myself. And I know musically I’m just inspired by so much music. I just love storytelling. So yeah, this is definitely the direction – heavy 808s, great stories, vocals are gonna deliver. I’m really looking forward to a lot of the music I’m about to put out and excited about the music that’s out.
I also wanted to ask about how you approach your writing. Is there a way you tend to go into writing or are you more go with the flow?
Yeah, it’s really not a typical way. I mean I’ve come up with songs walking down the side of the street. I’ll pull out my phone and, y’know, record whatever’s at the top of my head. Sometimes we’ll get in the studio and we have ideas, like as far as like tracks that are already made that I’ll just get on and freestyle. Or I’ll just come in and talk about something that happened the day before we got in the studio and just start to write that. But yeah, I never count any way out to get inspired. So it’s kind of like, I just like to be sure of myself when I head into the studio. That’s the method to the madness. So I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself.
What’s still on the bucket list for you? Because I feel like you’ve achieved so much already…
Oh, there’s so many things on the bucket list. So many venues I wanna perform at. I still wanna skydive, I ain’t done a skydive yet [laughs]. I haven’t been on a cruise. There’s so many things. So many people I wanna work with that I haven’t had a chance to work with…
Anyone in particular that’s coming to mind?
Top of my head, Beyoncé [chuckles]. Beyoncé was there. Post Malone. So many. I love so many different artists. I just love music, I just love sounds. Zac Brown Band I love. I know they’re playing here tomorrow so I might go up and be like, “Hey cuz! I was just talkin’ ’bout y’all in an interview!” [laughs] I’ve always been a fan of them. I love their album ‘Uncaged’. That was one that I had the CD in my car, and I remember just getting in the car and being like [sings] ‘uncaged!’. But yeah, I love Zac Brown Band.
This is a tough one for a songwriter, but what’s the song you wish you’d written?,
Ooh, the song I wish I wrote… [pause as Willie thinks] I wonder what the vibe was like when they wrote ‘Rock With You’ by Michael Jackson. It’s a good one, right? I think Michael and Quincy Jones, but I know the feeling of hearing that. That’s one of them songs that even to this day is like, you get people moving. Yeah. You know they have a Michael Jackson musical that just came out in New York?
Yeah, I think it’s coming to London soon as well…
Ooh, you gotta go see it! I had a chance to go see it in New York about a year ago, and it was so good. But ‘Rock With You’, for sure.
What does the rest of this year look like for you?
Rest of this year, we hittin’ the road. We got some dates set up to hit the road and perform. I’m going on tour with my guy Rvshvd and Renee Blair, who are really dope artists. And we got some dates at the end of this month going into next month. And just more music, more videos, more vibes, y’know, more just lifting the vibes.
Have you got plans to come back to the UK?
Oh, for sure! UK would definitely see me back here. I’m just gon’ go out on a limb and say every year I’ll be back. Multiple times. I’m looking forward to it.
Willie Jones’s latest single, ‘No Tellin”, is out now on Sony Music Nashville.