Donell Jones stood out as one of the top R&B acts during the late ‘90s and early 2000s. His hit singles “U Know What’s Up,” and “Where I Wanna Be” were songs that proved he could help carry the torch for the new generation of soul singers. But after LaFace Records folded, Jones found himself without a label and struggling to find a new home to create music.
He soon attempted to drown his troubles in alcohol and it eventually became a destructive habit. But after years of treatment, Jones was able to confront his issues, kick the habit and create music again.
On July 9, Jones will release his first album since 2010, Forever. Jones recently sat down with rolling out to discuss his days with LaFace, overcoming alcoholism and his return to music.
Let’s go back to discuss your time with LaFace. How important was that period for you when it comes to music?
I think those were the golden years for great music. Not only for R&B, but for hip-hop as well. I’m not originally from Atlanta, but I came down here with Eddie F and met up with L.A. Reid. I played some of my material for him and he just fell in love with it. That’s pretty much where it all began.
After the LaFace days, you took a hiatus. What was going on during that period?
A lot of things have happened. As artists, we have ups and downs. Some of my low moments were when I had to fight alcoholism. I had to overcome that to become the person I am today. I’ve been clean for six years now. I love being able to put out new music and fall back in love with the music again. I started to dislike music and the music business. I hated everything that had to do with music. If I heard the radio, I had to turn it off.
What can we expect from your latest album?
The new album is called Forever. I think it’s going to play forever. I’m trying to make music that will last a lifetime. From one through 12, you will be able to play this album and just get some inspiration from each song. Every song has a message in it. It’s good music.
Listen to “Forever” below: