“Philly Mixtape Music Tea” w/ Singer/Songwriter Jo Stones

By Patrick DeMarco

When it comes to music, local singer/songwriter Jo Stones is at the top of his game with his meaningful lyrics and incredible voice. Throw in the fact that besides being a gifted music talent, he’s also one hell of a funny guy. During the early days of Mixtape, Mr. Stones was kind enough to take time out to spill some music tea with me, and for those who are just tuning in, no worries, you can dive into it below.

PM-Hey Jo, thanks so much for taking time out for our little music chat, I really appreciate it. To kick things off, tell me a little bit about how your career in music got started up.

JS-I think it’s safe to say that my ‘career’ began long before I decided to pursue it. “No singing at the dinner table” was something I heard nearly everyday growing up, so music and singing has always been a part of me. I was lucky enough to be introduced to my Alma Mater Westminster Choir College in High School. From day one of college, I was sure that I had made the right decision, I was home. I fiddled around with the piano whenever I got the chance, found chords that just struck me, basically doing everything by ear, and eventually began saying “Alright that songs DONE!,” but it’s ironic because I used to be very sure of the fact that I would never be able to play a piano in public, let alone play and sing at the same time in front of strangers…thank God for Open Mic nights. That’s when it really began for me. My mom had to push me out the door to get to my first
open mic, and I finally felt that unique rush of nerves, that unstoppable feeling of “WHAT THE F AM I DOING??” and it’s been heaven ever since.

PM-Who were some of the singers that influenced you during that time and who are some that inspire you now?

JS-Growing up, Tracy Chapman was my girl!! I think that a lot of my music has a simplicity to it and that, in my mind, stems from her. Thom Yorke from Radiohead is one of my greatest influences. Janis Joplin will always be my favorite. She was fearless, LOUD, and her life story has touched me. (I’m secretly obsessed with watching documentaries on musicians) Also, John Lennon, Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Bob Dylan, Seriously the list could go on and on, so I’ll stop there.

PM-Speaking of inspiration, where did the inspiration behind your blazing single, “The Letter,” come from?

JS– It had been years since I’d talked to my ex, I was now dating a guy from :insert place here: and it dawned on me that I was finally free of the ‘what if’s and ‘could I have done that differently?” Writing this song was my chance to just get it out there, that I’m fine and I hope you are too. I’m pretty certain my chance to talk to him is long gone, so this was a form of closure for me.

PM-Now, are there any moments in your music career that feel changed you as an artist?

JS-There’s not one moment that I can pinpoint but I felt pretty accomplished being able to say my single is available on iTunes now. It’s a dream come true and there’s definitely more music coming!

PM-What is your most personal song that you’ve ever written?

JS– I wrote a song called ‘Who Am I’ and it was about feeling lost, wandering through life with no direction and that was always a tough song to perform. Most of my songs are from personal experience so it’s been very humbling to bare that all live on stage.

PM-Okay, so what you do is truly an inspiration to others, so what would you say to someone who is just getting started in the business?

JS– You are the make it or break it to your career, no one else, and that is the greatest power to have. Get out there, meet people, hear people, spread love and happiness, learn, never stay the same for too long and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

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