Updated: May 12
Jacksonville, Florida native Glenn Jones is incredibly talented yet cool, calm, and humble. He has accomplished a great deal in his career. In 1991/1992, he reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts with "Show Me," "We've Only Just Begun (The Romance Is Not Over)," and "Here I Go Again," as well as the track "I've Been Searching (Nobody Like You)." Not only was he a major success then, but he still is today. Here are the insights I gained from interviewing this multi-talented artist.
Is this the talented Glenn Jones I've listened to my whole life? Is that the Glen Jones I am talking to? Yeah, I think so.
Awesome! It is a pleasure to speak with you today, Glenn; thank you so much for your time. Thank you.
MY pleasure. You just returned from performing on a cruise ship. How did that go for you? Although I enjoyed the show, I cannot do a seven-day cruise anymore because that is a little too long for me. Nevertheless, I managed to get back home safely, and I am grateful for that.
I'm glad that God brought you back safely as well. Thank you.
You're welcome. Glenn, where are you initially from, and where are you currently residing? I'm originally from Jacksonville, FL. But I live in Atlanta now.
Awesome! So, when did you first begin singing? I first began singing when I was about Five years old. Being raised in the Church by my mother, there was always music around. So, I took her interest early on. I had to convince people that I had a gift because when I told my mother, she wanted to see. So, I started singing, and I got her to ask the pastor to let me sing at a church convention. Once I did, that was the beginning of it.
Awesome! At what point did your professional music career begin? My journey started in church. During the Sunday programs, musical groups visited and performed. During this Sunday's program, a group came to play, and they had heard me sing since I opened the show. So, they contacted my mother to tell her they were interested in having me sing with the group.
Although it was a young teenage group, I became the group's lead singer when I was around ten years old. We opened for major gospel groups like Shirley Caesar and mighty Clouds, The Dixie Hummingbirds, and The Five Blind Boys. We traveled and performed all over the country, particularly in the summertime because that's when we took our vacations. We also had a chaperone. But that's how I started taking performing seriously. Then, by the time I turned 14, I formed a group from Jacksonville, FL, called "The Modulations." We sang at local and some regionally based churches. When I was around seventeen, I met Reverend James Cleveland. He heard some of the songs that I had written.
Not only are you a fantastic singer, but you're also a great songwriter. That's awesome!
Thank you. Yes, I started writing when I was 14 years old. So, we went to California to play for some churches, and Reverend Cleveland heard about me, so he invited us to his house.
While there, we stood around the piano and sang. The next thing I knew was that he had a contract for me. I recorded my first album at Ray Charles's studio, RPM, and Los Angeles, CA. So, that was the real beginning of my recording career.
Was that your first-time recording? No, I had previously recorded some singles with the group I sang with from Jacksonville when I was a young kid, but they weren't mine. My career began after I met James Cleveland, who got me a deal with Savoy Records.
That was during the time that they recorded music on “reel-to-reel.” Do you remember those days? (laughs) Yeah, (laughs) that's when they recorded on 2-inch tape.
Speaking of back in the day, what did you like and dislike about 80s music and fashion?
Jacksonville wasn't very fashion-forward. However, I found it fascinating. I enjoyed seeing the different styles and trends. The opportunity to live and record in New York was a fantastic experience.
At that time, the music was great. I liked the music back then because there was originality and individual sounds. Everybody didn't sound like everyone else. Each artist had their sound, and they were doing their own thing. Although we all feed off the same stuff, artists still have uniqueness.
You knew Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Donny Hathaway when you heard them because of their unique sound. Unfortunately, this is not true today. As for me, most of the music that is released today sounds overly formulaic or manufactured. It’s just not as distinctive as it once was.
Yes, I agree with you. The 80s had a specific look on their album covers. Mainly every album cover would include suit jackets with large shoulder pads and flipped collars. You would see one or two poses, either lying on one side or standing up, emphasizing the flipped collar. Who chose that look for you back in the 80s? They hired stylists to choose things they thought might look good in the shoot. Then, you would try I'm on different things, and the decision is made from there. That's what doing photo shoots is all about.
It's communicating with the photographer to get a visual that fits with the music or a visual that works with the title of the album. You try different things until you find one that sticks.
Awesome! staying in the 80s and 90s, which one of your album covers did you like the most? The picture was a pleasant and relaxing one of me lying on the floor. I wore a nice leather jacket and a nice smile. It was straight ahead, and I really liked that one.
Which album cover didn't you care for? I wasn't too fond of the ones with the crazy colors. I have an album called "Take it From Me." On that cover, I have this jacket with multi colors. It was like, wow! But I was always game for whatever because sometimes that's the only way to discover something new about yourself. You're pushing the envelope trying to find your brand, but back in the 80s, everything was wild. It was all about the androgynous look.
Bright, radiant colors were the trend of the 80s and 90s. Not only did recording artists look like that, but everyday people walking around on the street also dressed like that. I know I did. At the time, that was what was in style. What is one of your favorite songs that you like to sing live?
My favorite song was not among my top five or #1 records. My favorite was a song on my album that many consider a "B side." These were songs that the artist felt were significant.
You didn't always agree with A&R back then. There were some songs you thought would have been big hits, but they were never released.
But there was a song called "In You," and I thought that was a great song, and then I had another song called "At Last," and I thought it was a smash record, and the label wouldn't let me drop it as a single. But years later, they apologized and said they missed the boat and that it was a smash record.
Suppose you can repackage a song you’ve previously recorded and do something different with it today; what song would that be? Probably, it would be “At Last.”
Excellent, you've had many hip records and singles. Among my favorites are, We've Only Just Begun, I've Been Searching, and so many more. Because of your extraordinary work, you've landed projects with many notable artists. Please tell our readers about the people you have worked with over the years. I've worked with Regina Belle, Dionne Warwick, Jean Carne, Paul Jackson Jr., Kim Waters, Genobia Jeter (my wife), and many others. You know, I've worked with some people I didn't get a chance to record, which has been a big regret. One of those people is Aretha Franklin.
I'm sure that must have been a fantastic experience. Yes, it was. I used to do dates with her where we would sing duets together that she had recorded. We did Radio City and Caesars Atlantic City together, and I also used to do her parties. I regret that I never recorded with her. I'm sure I could have, but I never took the opportunity to do that. I loved working with her so much because she was such an inspiration. I regret that I didn't get the chance to record what Norman Connors did, either.
Glenn, you make great music, and I appreciate the way in which you do it. Earlier this month, I was engaged in a fascinating discussion with a friend about the disrespectful nature of a lot of the music being promoted today. We are losing our young people to this filth, which is affecting their minds in the wrong direction and inflicting harm on them. Although many people would like to blame the entire problem on the industry, I have to respectfully disagree with the entirety of this statement, as we are the gasoline that ignites the fires that occur in our industry.
A person who walks into a studio intending to record a song whose lyrics were written mainly by them has the choice at that time about what they wish to convey to those within their communities even before walking into a record company to ask for a recording contract.
It is important to note that most artists create these songs within their home studios as independent artists before signing any deals with labels.
Before they get signed, they still have the option of controlling their image, the genre, and the lyrics they write. The artist is the pencil, and the industry is the paper. A pencil is necessary to write on paper. Therefore, we cannot place all the blame on industry executives. While we know they're all about the money, we need to do better and change the product we bring to those who are all about the money, and until that happens, nothing will change.
I think people don't change their messages because they know filthy, sexual, and indecent material sells. For many people who are struggling financially, this is a way out of the situation they so desperately want to escape. Consequently, they continue to share their message with the same community they came from because they sell their souls for money, fame, and fortune to the industry.
There must be an end to this, and that's why I respect artists like you who stand up for what's right and set an example for our younger generation, who are so impressionable. At some point, lives must take precedence over money. In your unsung, I saw that you walked away from a bigger opportunity because it did not reflect your core values, and I congratulate you on that. Artists like you are rare these days. I wish there were more of them. Although I know there are some, more is needed, and it must begin at the grassroots level. In some circumstances, nothing is more powerful or courageous than the word no. Without boundaries, there is no limit.
I want to congratulate you on setting boundaries in your life. With that being said, let's talk about your beautiful new song called, “Family Time” I love it! Can you tell our readers about that song? The song was written by James Day. He's a phenomenal songwriter. I had been talking to Chuckie Booker for a long time because he and his mother were Fans of mine. So, I called him and said, I got this song and need you to help me produce this record. Then I told him, if you don't help me, I'm going to call you Mama, man! I’m going to tell your momma on you man! (laughs)
Then, he said, "I got you, G." So, it turned out to be such an amazing song! Family Time is about family values. It's about the things we used to respect before advanced technology came into our world and interfered with our engagement with one another. Things are so different now. Most of the time, if you go to a restaurant after dinner, most people sit there on their smartphones. The youngsters are really into that.
Growing up as a kid, my family had dinner together every day. My father was sitting at the head of the table; we would all be there having conversations: my dad, mom, and siblings. Dinner time was our parents' opportunity to learn what was happening with us. We communicated with one another.
The vast majority of people don't do that any longer. For the most part, everybody is doing their own thing. Some are watching TV, others are on their smartphones, playing video games, and the list continues. Times have changed. To me, the family unit was tighter then because not only did we spend quality time with one another, but we also respected the family bond.
So, it's done damage to the family. The family dynamic is very special to me. The young lady that's singing the song with me on Family Time, her name is Y'Anna Crawley, is my niece. I call her Yanni. She started singing with me ever since she was 15. Because she had an excellent tone and tremendous presence, I started using her on some of my records for background vocals and things like that.
On one album that I was working on, I flew her out to California, she, Dave Hollister, and I all stayed together, and we worked on my album doing all the background vocals together, so I'm looking forward to releasing this song.
What’s the official release date?
The official release date is November 14th. We’re working on a video concept, but most of all, I want to thank Chuckie Booker for doing such an incredible job and James Day for writing an incredible song. I think it will be well received.
I think you missed something. You and your niece did an incredible job vocally! I just had to get that in because you forgot that. The two of you put the whipped cream on it with the cherry on top! (laughs) (Laughs) Thank you.
You’re welcome. I don't even know what to say. You see, we come from that generation of singers, therefore, and I recognize talent when I hear it. The sound of your voice is just insane. There's nothing ordinary about it. In addition to your vocal control and ability to sing and execute the song well, I am impressed by how you deliver what you're saying. I thank God for the gift He gave me and for helping me maintain my voice. This is important to me because whether I go out to sing or record, I want people to say, that sounds great! That still sounds like Glenn Jones. So, I'm looking forward to people hearing this album.
I love singing, and I love the gift that God gave me, so for me, it's not even about the money. Many artists make a lot more money than I do, but at the end of the day, are you happy and satisfied with what you hear coming out of your mouth?
What do you want to share with our readers that most people might not know?
I test out my material in the shower. I love singing in the shower because you get that ambiance. And I sing all the old songs like Nat, King Cole door, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, or whatever. But I'm grateful for the gift.
That's awesome! Thank you for sharing your shower story with The Indie Post. Love it! Do you have any wisdom to share with those coming up behind you in this business?
Follow your dreams. Also, stay ready because when an opportunity comes, sometimes it only comes once. Put in the work to develop your chops and develop your sound.
Listen to some of everything, but make it your own. Some may disagree with me, but humility is one of the greatest attributes you can have in this business. Some people think you have to be egotistical to be an artist. Maybe that's worth it for some people, but I've always tried to be humble and accessible to people. I like to let my fans know that I appreciate everything they've done for me and their support. Therefore, that's an excellent way to be.
Another thing to say is to try developing your songwriting skills and learn as much as possible about the music business. Sing all the time and work at developing your sound. There was only one Luther Vandross, there was only one Marvin Gaye, there's only one Glenn Jones, and there's only one you.
Well said. Thank you with all my heart for your time and the contribution of years of quality music. I know you're a busy man, and for you to take the time to do this interview with The Indie Post is an honor. I love your music! I want to pray that God will continue to bless you and the works of your hands to be done according to His will. I pray that He will protect you and your beautiful family and keep you guys safe during these times that we're living in. I want you to know how proud I am of you and your accomplishments.
Thank you, Gina. I appreciate you.
My pleasure. God bless you! Bye.
All Glenn Jones Photos are Courtesy of Glenn Jones
To buy The Indie Post Magazine, visit (Available on The Indie Post website, Amazon, Kindle & Kindle Unlimited https://www.theindieposts.com/buymagazine