Island Def Jam Introduce Their Soulful New Talent - Smokey Jones
We were intrigued back in January when we came across Smokey Jones and her quiet debut on YouTube; with no fanfare, it was just her unique voice doing all the talking, catching the attention of those who came across her raw, soulful voice and emotive delivery. What may have seemed like a simple beginning was in fact the first public outing for Island Def Jam Records newest emerging talent, Smokey Jones (Sara Mancuso), with Smokey's magical story being one of a serendipitous studio meeting with the Senior Vice President of A&R at Island Def Jam, Chris Anokute, that lead to a showcase for Island Def Jam Chairman and CEO Barry Weiss, to then signing with the label, all in the space of a whirlwind five months.
Described by Anokute as the 'Janis Joplin of the new generation', Smokey had left college to pursue her passion for music, enduring the struggle of an aspiring artist to the point that she was homeless when the fateful studio encounter with Anokute changed everything for her, with Smokey saying of the inevitable comparisons that will come her way, 'I’ve been compared to everyone from Janis Joplin to Amy Winehouse to Joss Stone. I agree that Janis or Amy are accurate references, but I don’t think I sound like anyone. I think I sound like myself...but really, I don’t want to sound like anyone else... I don’t want people to think of anyone else but me because I’ve poured my entire self into my music and it’s really emotional and honest'.
Her just released sampler introduces her raw, gritty vocals on songs like 'Bumps & Bruises', with it's admission that 'what a girl needs to feel, is that she's worth it inside' being allied with a straight from the heart, emotional call to take strength from the setbacks that life can bring; 'Don't Lie To Me' sees Smokey scolding an errant lover with her scornful, emotion laden voice; her passionate vocal delivery and confessional, heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics showcasing her distinctive talent. Having collaborated with writers and producers such as Jay Angel and busbee on her upcoming album, Smokey says looking to the future 'I don’t feel scared because I made it through the discovery process. Even if just one person hears one of my songs, someone who was like me—sitting in a stairway, depressed, and has nothing; I want to touch that person. I want to be there for people who are total strangers'.