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From the time he crafted the insta-classic “Where I Wanna Be,” Donell Jones has been among the R&B singers that you loved even if you didn’t  hear as much about him as his more publicity-minded colleagues. A star in the 90’s on the LaFace label with Toni Braxton and TLC, once the decade ended, Jones found himself fighting for attention on his new label, Jive.

With R. Kelly, Usher, Anthony Hamilton and Justin Timberlake already established there, Jones decided to go independent, establishing his own label, Candy Man Music. His new project “Lyrics” is the result of four months of work crafting just the right mix of songs for his fans who’ve remained loyal despite his being out of the spotlight for a minute.

“I’ve just been in the lab, loving life and just had a new baby,” Jones told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. His new “baby” is actually five years old but Jones said this is the first time he’s been fully involved.

“With my other kids, I never had a chance to be there, I was always on the road a lot. This time I’ve had the chance to there throughout all the stages.”

Love, with all its ups and downs is fully explored on “Lyrics.” Jones, who says he’s in love now, has five children, four from a previous relationship and one with his current girlfriend. The Chicago native says he always writes from the heart.

“Most of the songs are about my personal experiences in life. Love is a beautiful thing when it’s working. Oh yeah, definitely. I write whatever I’m going through. It’s just something about those slow records that get the crowd pumped up. A lot of [songwriting] is fact with a lot of fiction. It’s just like writing a movie – some of it’s going to be true, some of it’s going to be fake.”

“I just really feel like when you put on someone’s album you want to hear them. You don’t want to feel like it’s a compilation album. I just go in every time and try to make records that can stand alone without somebody on them. And then when you do a concert, people expect that person to be there with you. And nine times out of ten, they aren’t.”

I like all three. I like writing, producing and singing. I really can’t pick one over the other. Writing for me is special because I bet a chance to get off my chest what’s going on. But being on that stage it’s beautiful to see how what you’ve written affects other people. So I’ll take them all.”

CHECK OUT: 

Don’t Blame Me: “A lot of cats out there didn’t have a father so they learned from the streets. But when you really understand what being a real man is, can you really blame me for what I did? Now I really understand.”

I Miss the King (a tribute to Michael Jackson) : “My favorite artist of all time. I grew up listening to all his songs. One of the first songs I learned to sing from him was “Lady In My Life.” Nobody had done a tribute song to him– which was kinda weird – and I felt like I owed it to him. Without him, I wouldn’t be who I am.”

Watch Jones’s In-Studio Jam here: 

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