You were first introduced to Donell Jones through his creative talents with a pen. Responsible for labelmate Usher's top ten single "Think Of You" amongst other songs written and/or produced for artists such as Madonna, Brownstone, Silk and Jade, Donell expressed his exceptional talent and love for music behind the scenes. In 1996 LaFace Records and Untouchables Entertainment introduces you to the soulful flavor of Donell Jones- the artist.
Not your typical singer, Donell talks in a quiet voice, and his music is reflection of the craftsmanship of musicians of yesteryear who caressed lush ballads and sensuous mid-tempo songs like they were rare, precious stones. A self -taught musician, Donell chooses to play everything himself on the tracks he produces. He is influenced to the likes of Stevie Wonder ("His songs are like poetry") The Isley Brothers ("The mellowness of their music combined with their groove is something that never dies") and Teddy Pendergrass because of his ability to "make you feel what he's singing. "Donell carries the same respect for the art form as his predecessor by setting the stage for his funkladen production to serve as the pathway for lyrics of love and respect to walk hand in hand in the hood.
Donell wrote nearly all of the tracks on his debut album, My Heart, and produced seven songs. His first single "In the Hood," sure to be heard in neighborhoods everywhere, has a laid back groove with smooth lyrics that croon" This is for my playas in the hood, up to no good, let's kick it like we really should, it's just an ordinary day." An exceptional remake of Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet" makes you feel the emotion and soulfilled sounds of Donell's vocal talent. "No Interruptions," speaks about privacy between lovers, and the most abrasive track on the album. "I was just having fun with the song," admits Donell. "I'm more into love and stuff, but this song was written because I wanted to see If I had it in me to do that type of song. Donell chose to saturate his album with tender, moving lyrics. "I think that as musicians we should talk more about things that occur at their age level," says Donell.
Inspired by his father (also a musicians) while growing up. Donell starting singing at the age of eight, penned his first song at the age of 12, and took refuge in an artform that wound up steering him away from the negativity of Chicago's neighborhoods. "When I was home," starts the reserved Donell, "I was influenced by a lot of peer pressure and being with the wrong people. It was rough; a lot of gang violence. ..."My music," continues Donell, "got me away."
Donell was discovered at the Black Radio Exclusive (BRE) Conference in Washington, D.C. by Edward "Eddie F" Ferrell, President of Untouchables Entertainment, VP, of A&R at Motown Records and former member of the multi-platinum rap group Heavy D and the Boyz. Donell and the members of the group he was in at the time, approached "Eddie F" and asked him to listen to them sing. "We had a showcase, but no one came, so we around asking people if we could sing for them," says Donell. "We asked Eddie and he said 'Yeah". We did and he said, "I like you guys, give me your number and I want to do something with you". A month later "Eddie F" sent plane tickets for the the group and offered them a deal on Untouchables/LaFace Records. Two months later after recording "I Can Make You Feel Good" for a compilation album, the group broke up, and Donell became a solo artist.
"Donell Jones is going to become the most important contribution R&B/Pop since Babyface and R. Kelly," says Eddie F. Unlike many of the male solo artists today, Donell Jones' combines the qualities of Soul/R&B legends - talent, Emotion, love & respect for music - with the hip flavor of the 90's.