INTERVIEW:Melissa Jones

By Bev Moser

Melissa Jones, a thirty-something mom with a close connection to the military is following her heart and her childhood dreams. What started as a home-made gift for her father has grown into a full blown country music career and she is excited and ready to share her music with the world. I was invited to the big release party at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville and after we sat down and visited about all the challenges and rewards of the music business.

Bev: Wonderful show! WOW, what a performance and what a wonderful crowd at the famous Wildhorse Saloon. Congratulations! How does it feel to have that behind you?

Jones: I had a blast at the show. But now, it is kind of sad, because that is something I had wanted to do for so long and we worked really hard to put this together, and now, it is over. It is almost like postpartum depression after all the buildup and anxiety and wonder, and then … boom, it is here and now what? We are very busy planning for more shows and I am preparing for the next CD, so you just keep on pushing ahead.

Bev: I know your brother, Jake, was injured in IRAQ , so the song “Red White & Blue Night in Georgia” has a very special meaning to you. Tell me what emotions do you feel personally as you perform this song?

Jones: That song has emotions that never go away, and each time I perform it, it feels brand new every single time. There are so many things and so many parts to the song. When I first heard it, all I could think of was my brother’s wife Jamie, because at the time they had three small children. Then when I recorded it , it was right after he had been injured the first time in Iraq, so my thoughts and emotions were pulled towards him, and after meeting all the wives, kids and the people in the military hospitals, you see so many faces and hear all their personal stories, so they all come to mind as I am singing the song. I can honestly say I see different people in the song every time I sing it depending on who I have just met.

Bev: How did the Charity, HOPE FOR WARRIORS come about?

Jones: Jake is a two Purple Heart recipient from the Iraq war, so he is a big part of how the charity became involved. They heard the song and wanted my message of hope to be brought to the families and loved ones, and that itself is a great feeling. We decided to make a special CD available just for the military families with proceeds going to the charity.

Bev: You did not start your career until you has already lived a lot of what life has to offer, is there a reason you waited?

Jones: There is a reason. Nine years ago, my youngest brother was killed in an accident in my dad’s shop. And he really is the reason for my career. I decided then, that none of us know how much time we are given here on earth and I had always dreamed of being in the music business and wanted to perform, but I had children and other reasons I used as excuses, but when he was killed it opened my eyes and made me realize if I was going to follow my heart and chase my dreams, then I needed to do it. The other thing is, I think because of all the different things I have gone through, the death of my brother, being a mom, and a single mom at that, feeling the emotions of knowing someone you loved is at war and being injured and having his wife and kids here and watching them go through it - just all of these things helps me connect with my fan base.

Bev: The 1st song you recorded was a Patsy Cline song for your dad on his birthday, which song and why did you choose that particular song for him?

Jones: My dad always loved Patsy Cline. He listened to all the older artists as I grew up. The CD really was one of those things you do on a whim. His birthday was approaching and I just decided to go to some random recording studio and put together a compilation of his favorite songs. He had not heard me sing for a long time and he bawled when he listened to it, and really everything started to go crazy from there. My dad has now been my manager for the last nine years. Both my parents are amazing and support me 100% and then some.

Bev: Recently you toured over 19 military bases and met with the soldiers and performed for them, what was your favorite part of this tour? And what was the least favorite part?

Jones: I absolutely and honestly can say that I never expected this, but to be welcomed and embraced by these people and to receive the love and their open arms for what I am doing is and was the most wonderful feeling in the world. These military families stick together. In this world nowadays, we do not even know our neighbors, and in the military bases, you see and feel this genuine care for each other. It was just the best. And it was like that at every one I visited. The only bad thing about it, was to be gone from my children for so long.

Bev: I know you have been singing a long time, since you were very young, and yet this is the 1st CD to be released. How does it feel to be a wife and mother and finally reaching this part of your dream?

Jones: It is so awesome. Most people say I did this backwards, but it feels so great to see all of my accomplishments, including my children and all I did before I started my career. My goal is to be successful, and sing at the Opry and have a big hit so I still have big dreams, but to be this far is absolutely unbelievable.

Bev: Looking at the other cuts on your CD, which songs are your favorites to perform?
Jones: I really like to perform the old, old classic songs. Me and guitar or me and piano .. that is my favorite way to perform.

Bev: Did you have a hand in writing any of the songs on your CD?

Jones: “Tell Me Another Lie” is on the current CD project, but I have a lot more I would like to see make it to future CD’s

Bev: If you could choose anyone, past or present to perform with, who would it be? What about write with?

Jones: I want to do a full blown show and performance with Keith Urban! He is absolutely the sweetest person. I opened for him at a show in Utah, and I just love him. He treated me very well and is just fun to be on stage with. Writing would be either Merle Haggard or Vince Gill. I love the stories they tell. I am not a fluffy bubble gum kind of lyrics person, I like stories, even tho I have one about Kenny Chesney’s butt on this CD, but it was all just done tongue in cheek for fun. Anyone who knows me can tell you I am just having fun with this song and it is not the kind of artist I aim to be.

Bev: Tell me about one of the most embarrassing things ever to happen on stage?

Jones: I have never tripped, no clothing mishaps, but I have read about a lot of undone zippers, but I have yet to have any of my own. I have had several close calls as I tripped on cables going up stairs or backstage, but nothing yet in front of the crowd. My dad and I discuss stuff like that so I am prepared and if you know me, you know I would just laugh and create a new verse to some song about it and keep on going. It would be as though we planned it and the show goes on.

Bev: While on the road and on tour, what is one of the worst experiences you have had so far?

Jones: Definitely the worst experience ever in my career to this point happened while on stage while we were performing. It was in the middle of a song, and it was a very sentimental and serious song, and I started coughing like crazy and my eyes were burning, and when I turned to get water and I looked at the band they were all coughing too and started to stop playing. Someone had sprayed pepper spray as a gag joke up in front by the stage at one of the tables. They had to evacuate and completely clear the venue and cancelled the rest of the show. It was terrible. Needless to say this person is banned from the venue.

Bev: Melissa, thank you very much for your time, and again for inviting me to share this time with you. I really admire you for all you have done and are doing, and I am blessed to have met you. I wish you much success and hope all your dreams continue to come true.

Jones: Bev, you are such a sweetheart and I cannot wait to see you again. I will be back in Nashville soon to start with the new project so I hope we can see you again. I have very much enjoyed getting to know you too and thank you for all the photos and the time you have taken to do this with me too.

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