Zac Jone$ doing music for the love of it
‘Miss Jamaica’ singer talks new single ‘Lonely’, ‘Man A Yard’ EP
It’s been a little over one year since on-the-rise recording artiste Zac Jone$ introduced the collaboration with Agent Sasco, Miss Jamaica. An ode to the beauty and temperament of Jamaican women, it had the industry speaking about the talent and delivery of the then newcomer, and rightly so. It is one of seven tracks to be included on his first official EP titled Man A Yard, and Zac Jone$ is moving to make an impact.
“It’s true that promoting the collab was my focus for a large part of the year, as well as working on the project and new records. I received a lot of love on Miss Jamaica from many people, artistes, music industry professionals … a lot of people started paying attention once we dropped the song,” he told The Gleaner.
Now, Zac Jone$ is sharing Lonely. Written from a personal experience, he shared that he is not one to ‘sugar coat’ real feelings.
“With this single, I definitely wanted to address these feelings I had in relationships where it’s like we both want it and want to be loved, but we find that no one is willing to be the bigger person to relinquish the ego and drop the guards because of things that happened in past relationships,” he said. “It’s something I kept facing, and it just led to more hurt, and I know so many other people can relate, so I definitely wanted to put it out there. You know ‘real bad man we nuh cry, but that don’t mean we nuh feel it inside’ - it’s like most people don’t show it but we all hurting … In the end most of us just want love, but we need to learn to let go.”
Zac Jone$ might be feeling lonely, but probably not for too long – at least not after they see how photographer Joshua Solas captured the Miss Jamaica songwriter for his latest project. He labels the photographs as an “expression of creativity”, like his music.
WITH GREAT POWER
As the eldest of his siblings, Zac Jone$ was often referred to as the ‘Man a Yard’ by his grandfather, Alva Anderson, especially when left in charge of the house.
“He would always call me that, and it came from being the oldest, as the saying goes, ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’. So when my parents would leave, it would just be me and my siblings. The Man A Yard EP is just about my life - real-life struggles, happiness, situations and feelings that come with the pressure or title. This project encapsulates everything that comes with being that man, the good, the bad and most importantly, the real, and you can get that from Lonely,” the recording artiste shared.
He added, “I write all my music from my own experience or close experiences, this one was definitely a personal experience. But also you know with music you can take other experiences and build the narrative and the message, so it may encapsulate a set of experiences, instead of one single one.”
And the tracks, clearly written in ‘performance-poetry’ style, add to the evidence folder that shows the sequence in which Zac Jone$ processes those personal life experiences to speak to people on a deeper level.
Zac Jone$ pens poetry to clear his mind when a lot is going on, he said.
“I might publish them at some point, but yeah, it’s just a hobby right now,” he said, adding that published works like The Rose That Grew From Concrete, which was a compilation of influential rapper Tupac Shakur, poems written from 1989 to 1991, is one of the books in his collection.
“Poetry just helps me to get complex thoughts out without having to write a song or needing a beat. It’s something I really like doing. I would also say that the music I grew up listening to, especially old school 90s to early 2000s hip hop and R&B would contribute a lot to that as well so, not only did I read a lot in school, I used to write a lot of literature,” he said.
In 2016, he released the Ridin Thru Kingston mixtape, but the journey is only just beginning for Zac Jone$. At 24 years old, he has learnt the importance of celebrating the small as well as the large wins, he said. The EP, which is primarily produced by iotosh, who is the producer behind the Miss Jamaica single, is set to hit digital streaming platforms sometime this year as he continues to work at his own pace “because in the end, it’s about the journey, not the destination and just divine timing, so the music comes out when it’s supposed to, and I trust in that”.
“I think my process just comes down to how much care I take in the music I make and making what I want to put out. Everyone has their own pace and process; for me, it’s ensuring the songs reach their max potential sonically, instead of trying to release it halfway through the process just because people are rushing me. My aim is also to make music that really touches people and lives forever,” Zac Jone$ explained.
Further in his interview, he revealed that he used to feel like he had something to prove. “I’m not in any competition with anyone but myself, and I want to be the best version [of myself] I possibly can be. Any doubts or fears I have, I want to prove to myself I can conquer and just continuously improve at life. I’m also very proud of where I’m coming from and what I’ve achieved so far.”
Zac Jone$ joked that he has had one or more embarrassing encounters, with women and even recording artistes, in this journey he speaks of; but nothing he could share on the record. Only that it was something he “got a good laugh out of”. Who knows? Maybe, he is using it to plot another song that shows the smooth ‘criminal’ of music that he is becoming.
“Well, there was a time when I thought I could only be an artiste and I couldn’t do anything else because that was my dream, and I thought doing any other type of work would take away from that. The biggest lesson to me is to never limit yourself to thinking you can only do one thing,” he said. “I really pride myself on the content I put out, I hold myself to a very high standard and always want to raise the bar, even with the recent $tony Sundaze series on YouTube, it brought everything back to the root of why I do this … for the music and for the love of it.”