Willie Jones is a singer-writer who is bringing a new slant to country music. He’s shared the stage with Shawn Mendes and Willie Nelson and has a new track out this week, ‘Back Porch’. We were pleased to catch up with WJ for a chat when he was London last month.
What is your approach to song writing?
Typically, when I go into a session, especially with co-writers, I like to break the ice. Just talk and have a regular conversation, about life, about the day. Then, when I get to the mic, I just freestyle and we go with it. We pick the melody we like and start to build from there. It’s cool.
So, lyrics or melody?
Both matter, a lot. But what comes to me first is melody most of the time.
A fan favourite here in the UK, is your song ’Runs in our blood’. What’s the story behind that song?
‘Run’s in our blood’ came about after I go back from visiting family for Thanksgiving. It was crazy to go back for the holiday and see some of my favourite cousins. We’re about the same age, some of them got kids now or they’re getting married. It was like ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, you know. Then I came back and was in the studio, soon after Thanksgiving and we started talking about that. They turned on the mic, I just started freestyling ‘Me and my fam’ and then the chorus came along ‘Time flies’. We listened back and said right there, ‘that’s the song!’ My songs come from an honest place. For the most part, it just comes from the heart. It’s definitely an ode to my family.
What were your first impressions of Nashville?
My first impression was ‘I love this place’ I want to move here and plan to move there towards the end of the year. Nashville is a little big town. Everybody knows everybody, the food is great. Music is everywhere, fashion is great. I can’t wait to see what Nashville life evolves into.
You first came into the public eye in America on their version of X Factor. What five things do you cherish about your time on the show?
- I made great friends who I can really turn to, who I shared this experience with. It’s like no other experience and they will be friends for a lifetime. It’s so cool to see your friends doing so well.
- To be able to perform at such a high level. Working with some of the best writers, vocal coaches, choreographers, stylists, that’s now my standard. I got to work at such a high level and I want to continue. They give me drive, a different kind of drive because I’ve tasted and seen.
- It definitely just changed my life. The fact that I did the audition and it still goes viral, I so appreciate it.
- The words of wisdom I got from the judges. Just keep going and don’t stop.
- The whole experience was beautiful.
What is it you love about being in the UK?
Everything. Connecting with the fans, hearing their stories, what they love about the songs, what they want to see. I love people and like to talk to everybody.
It’s a new decade, what are your hopes for the next ten years.
The next decade, I have faith that I will continue to make music, continue to push people’s thinking. I just want to grow and be the best man I can be. Look after my mum and dad, pay for my sister to go to college. In ten years from now, I just want to be happy.
Quick fire Questions
Faith or fact – Faith
Rap or Reggae – Rap
Neon lights or stars bright – Neon Light
Fritos or Doritos – Doritos
Beyoncé or Solange – Beyoncé is the Queen, but I love both the Knowles