A Q & A with pop-country artist Caroline Jones
Caroline Jones will be performing at Jiffy Lube Live, Sunday, Aug. 25 with headliner the Zac Brown Band as part of “The Owl Tour.”
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Caroline Jones co-produced her album, Bare Feet with Grammy and Academy Award-winning producer Ric Wake who produced such greats as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Trisha Yearwood.
Upon release, Bare Feet rose to #23 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and #12 on iTunes Country Albums Chart. The album features “Tough Guys,” which spent five weeks at #1 on CMT.com’s 12 Pack Countdown.
Rolling Stone named her one of the “10 Country Artists You Need to Know” as “an ambitious, entrepreneurial guitar heroine primed to bring back the pop-country glory of the Nineties” and Billboard called her one of the “15 Country Artists to Watch in 2018”. Throughout 2018, Caroline is touring with Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles, Zac Brown Band and OneRepublic, and Tim McGraw & Faith Hill.
In 2017, she was on the road with Zac Brown Band and shared the stage with Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith at the Trying to Reason hurricane relief benefit concert. A live duet with Buffett led to a charity single release and ultimately, a partnership with his Mailboat Records. Caroline previously toured schools & universities nationwide – including underserved and charter schools with Stedman Graham – on The Heart is Smart School Tour. Caroline is the host of Art & Soul on Sirius XM.
BB: How do you describe your multi-faceted brand of country music?
CJ: Multi-faceted is a great descriptor — I love many styles of music that influence both my songwriting and production. My lyrics are rooted in poetry more than literal storytelling, as I love and have always loved poetry. I love hooky pop melodies, and there is a lot of pop-electronic influence in my production. But I definitely have the heart of a singer-songwriter, and discovering country music really informed both the concision and emotional depth of my songwriting.
BB: What was the inspiration behind your newest album Bare Feet?
“Bare Feet” was the first album that I co-produced with Ric Wake (Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion). I played almost all of the instruments and crafted the album with a small team of extremely talented people (Ric, Gustavo Celis, Nir Z and Glenn Worf). I moved to Florida to make the album and ended up writing many of the songs there, so “Bare Feet” is a very uplifting, joyful, sunshine-y album.
BB: How many instruments do you play? What inspired you to learn them? How does it inspire your music?
I play guitar, piano, harmonica, banjo and dobro. Initially, I began picking up various instruments to try to make my solo acoustic shows more interesting and entertaining. But I delved more deeply when I began producing. I wanted to bring to life the melodies and parts I heard in my head. I wanted to have a hand in all aspects of the production and arranging process. Playing various instruments allows me to be infinitely creative in the studio. And as far as writing goes, I write songs on the piano that I would never be inspired to write on guitar and vice versa.
BB: In “Bare Feet” and “The Difference (Goshdamn),” you talk about summer, sun and water. Is summer really your favorite season? And are you a big a fan of summer concerts?
Yes! Summer is by far my favorite season. I live in Florida, where it’s summer all year round! I love the heat, the sun and the ocean. The past few summers I’ve had the privilege of opening big tours and playing many outdoor amphitheaters and stadiums. The energy is amazing!
BB: “Tough Guys” seems to subvert other people’s opinions of you. Did you struggle with that as a young female singer? Do you feel you have to break a stereotype, and/or advocate for other female music artists?
I view being a woman as a huge advantage and strength. In many ancient traditions, religions and philosophies, creativity is regarded as a primarily female trait. Women possess many attributes that are essential to being a great artist — being a good listener and being highly emotionally attuned, for example. Of course, I think as humans we all fall into the trap of caring too much about what other people think. But in order to live a courageous and full life, you have to be able to put those opinions in perspective and trust your own gut and heart. There is a certain amount of defiance it takes to be a dreamer.
BB: Has working with Jimmy Buffett a dream? Did you enjoy touring with Jimmy Buffet, and what is something people should know about him?
Jimmy is such a unique, special soul. He is endlessly creatively curious. He is always writing, scheming, planning, and dreaming up ideas. It is inspiring to witness and be a part of. I am so grateful to him for giving me a platform both on his tour and on his label. He has gone out of his way to mentor me, support me, and provide me with opportunities to share my music with new audiences.
BB: How has it been touring with Zac Brown Band?
This is my third year touring with Zac Brown Band. Zac was the first headliner to take me under his wing and provide me an opening slot on a major tour. I have learned so much about musicianship, leadership and creative fearlessness just by observing Zac, his band, his crew and the fan experience over the years.
BB: Do you expect to spend any time getting to know Virginia and the D.C. area?
Yes! This is my 5th time playing in the Virginia/DC area — I’ve played there with Zac Brown Band, Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney. I absolutely love Georgetown — that’s my favorite area. It has the cutest shops and restaurants.
BB: What have you been listening to right now? And how do you consume your music?
Right now my favorite song is Alessia Cara’s new song “Rooting for You”. I love The 1975, Maggie Rogers, Kacey Musgraves, Jacob Collier, Tori Kelly, Shawn Mendes, Zedd.
BB: You must be busy but do you get to attend any concerts, and who have you seen lately?
I loved watching OneRepublic’s show when I opened for them and Zac last year. I’m a huge Ryan Tedder fan. It was interesting to see how they are able to bring their production to a live setting.
BB: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?
Focus first and foremost on your craft — whether it’s singing, playing instruments, performing, writing, etc. All opportunities will come from the music you have to offer. The best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten are: “Find what you do the best in this world and do it, and don’t ever apologize for it” and “trust your gut, no matter what”. Find your True North, your dream, your passion, and make that your singular focus. It takes a lot of focus, courage and grit but it is the most rewarding path.
Purchase tickets to see the Zac Brown Band and Caroline Jones at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow.
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