The Real Tameca Jones

Tameca Jones

Something people do not know about me is that I am a fan of covers and fandubs. On my personal YouTube account, I have a playlist compiled of over a hundred tracks where YouTubers are singing their own versions of my favorite anime openings and endings. It’s hard to explain why I love them so much. I love listening to the original songs, but sometimes it is most intriguing to listen to someone else’s rendition. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the cover artist’s determination, his or her drive to emulate their inspirations. These songs are part of what drove them into music. Many famous artists or those up-and-coming will sing songs others created. However, it is hard to become one with the inspirations. Often the original artists are much better as they sang those songs first, setting the standard other artists must live up to. Still, every once in a while, you’ll get someone who comes exceptionally close or even surpasses the original artist. One of these people is Austin-born artist Tameca Jones.

A frequent singer of soul, she has been singing sweet and intense vocals since 2005, when she performed with a band called 8 Million Stories. She was the lead singer and songwriter for almost three years, but then the band decided to separate. She continued to work towards greatness and eventually became dubbed “The Queen of Austin Soul” with her incredible covers of artists like Elton John, Nirvana, and Jimi Hendrix. What separates her from other cover artists is how raw and passionate she sounds when singing these tracks. She puts her all into it, and then so much more. Every cover she’s done is definitely worth listening to several times.

Most recently, however, she has been moving up further among the stars, releasing amazing, original songs like “Hot and Bothered,” a mystifying and incredible track of love and soul. As well, she has collaborated with fellow Austin artist Gary Clark, Jr. in the song “Wings,” a track found in his latest album, “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.” Listening to her covers is one thing, but you will soon find her talent shines even more so throughout her original songs. The covers give you only a small portion of her mixed with the original artists, while her songs give just one focus: the real Tameca Jones. You get to finally learn what makes this woman tick and today, you get to learn even more as you read through my recent interview with Austin’s Queen.

CC: What made you want to get into music? What are you are inspirations?

TJ: I would have to say I got into music out of desperation. During college, I wanted to find a way to make money, but in a way that wasn’t normal. I knew I could sing, so I went with that, though at first, I admit it was for the money. As for my inspirations, that’s a tough question. I guess if I had to say anything, it would be a mix of ‘80s, electronic, hip-hop, and old soul music.

CC: If you weren’t a musician, where do you think you would be right now?

TJ: I don’t really have an answer for that. I have some talents in media, like advertisement and graphic design. That’s something I could get into.

CC: Interesting choice. So what’s the story behind “Hot and Bothered?” I read somewhere it was inspired by a crush.

TJ: Haha, that’s about right. The song came from clever and smooth pickup lines. They’re the kind of lines I would say to my crush.

CC: So that’s where it came from. I had been wondering about that. Okay, speaking of reading, The Austin Chronicle called your music “sonic pretzels.” Is this food choice an accurate description of your music or would you describe your sound as another food?

TJ: I’d say that’s pretty accurate. I didn’t have a lot of original songs back then. I sang covers of songs by artists like Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. The “sonic pretzels” were what I transformed those songs into. I actually love that description, so I have no idea what food they would be now. Maybe they would be something created by ingredients of my genre inspirations we talked about before.

CC: Intriguing answer. I like it. Okay, so I know you collaborated with fellow Austin artist Gary Clark, Jr. recently. What was that like?

TJ: It was great to work with Gary and it was a long time coming. We grew up in the same circles, but we didn’t actually meet for a while. We had been trying to work together for a while, but we couldn’t find the time with both of our busy schedules. Eventually, he made this song and when he heard me sing, he asked for me to work with him. He’s super talented and really sweet. He always invites me to his concerts.

CC: He sounds like a cool guy. Now, as a fellow writer, describe your songwriting process. How long does it take for you to reach your final draft?

TJ: It varies from song to song. “Hot and Bothered” took thirty to forty-five minutes, but other songs take longer to write and perfect. I’ve found encouragement definitely helps to silence out any negative thoughts that might affect my writing. Sometimes I spend so much time toiling over songs and I’ve been influenced by other people. I don’t want others to make me someone I’m not. Other things that can often hinder me are my stubbornness and that I don’t play any instruments. However, with the right feel and vibe, I can make it through.

CC: Sweet. Now, I recently talked with another Austin artist, Jackie Venson, who had nothing but good things to say about you. Do you think there’s something about Austin that manifests amazing talent?

TJ: Aw, that’s so nice of her! She definitely has a lot of talent. As for Austin, I’d have to say it used to, but the area’s changing. There’s less musical talent and more people moving here that don’t have the background.

CC: I can understand that. Now, where was the most interesting concert you’ve ever played at?

TJ: At this place called the Terrace. It was my first big concert, but I didn’t expect a lot of people to show up. Turns out I was wrong because so many people were in the audience! The atmosphere made it feel shiny, like when you get that star in Super Mario Brothers. Does that make any sense?

CC: Definitely. If it has to do with video games, I can catch your meaning. Anyway, what is your favorite song you’ve written?

TJ: Right now, it’s “Hot and Bothered.” It’s so energetic and I never get tired of singing it. Though, I hope my future songs will be just as awesome.

CC: It’s funny that you mentioned future songs because I’ve got one more question for you. What can we expect from your upcoming EP?

TJ: I think you can expect my style will come out. As I said before, I’ve done covers for so long, but now it’s going to be my own thing. The best way to describe it is “sexy, electro-soul.” That’s the best notion I can give of what my style is becoming. It was harder than I thought to find my own identity, but it was a real learning experience. I hope listeners will appreciate that, but even if they don’t, I’m still glad I’m showing the world the real me.

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