Interview With Brent Jones
Soundtrack Producer Something To Sing About!
Let’s play that word association game.
— prepared by Stan North, in conjunction
Karl Reid? Mitchell Jones!
Billy Graham? Brent Jones and the TP Mobb!
Whaaaat? Wait....no, shouldn’t that last one be George Beverly Shea?
Maybe in most situations, but not in this case. And that’s just one of the
interesting connections on the new television movie venture
sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association people.
Featuring names likes Jones, Kirk Franklin and actors Darius McCrary and Tamera Mowry, the full feature drama Something To Sing About is set to splash across your small screen in early June.
Like most high profile feature presentations these days, this one comes with a soundtrack. Currently riding the wave of his cool urban approach to Gospel (with his T.P Mobb crew in tow), that’s where Brent Jones fits in.
“I got involved with Something To Sing About from a gentleman
named John Schmidt, who is one of the producers of the
movie. He was very fond of my mass choir at a church that I
was minister of music at, and he wanted to use the choir in one
of his Christian videos,” Jones explains. “He was impressed. That was about a year or two before Something To Sing About started their production….we just kinda hooked up, and we did it.” With the collaboration of Gospel exec. Neily Dickerson, who acted as Musical Supervisor for the project, the team got busy
(click here for that angle!).
As the album’s producer, Jones brought significant dollops of his West coast Gospel feel to the mix.
So if you’ve heard him in full flight with his Mobb, then you won’t be surprised to
hear some of the direction that the music takes on this soundtrack. But it’s different with a twist. While TP Mobb is a real urban-sounding group, the movie has more of a traditional direction. “But with a real sense of hipness”, Jones adds. “I took a lot of hymns and kinda, my word is, ‘hypified’ them. I was able to show a more praise and worship side of [myself]. I want people to know that I love praise and worship, and I love traditional music of the church. And I love church hymns. I just did that ‘Brent Jones thing’”.
Working on a soundtrack differs substantially from an artist
project, as certain elements of continuity with the screenplay need to be
addressed. “The producers of Something To Sing About said, ‘Brent,
this is the story, this is the script, read it over, see what you think.’
And really, just by reading the script, I was so inspired to write.”
Jones describes his first impression of as it being ‘powerful and
very moving’. Powerful enough to begin the creative process in him.
“Just in my leisure, as I was reading it through, songs started
pouring out of me. There were some songs that I already had written
that I thought would be very powerful in the movie, and then some songs
were definitely created from it.”
Diving into the project wasn’t easy for him immediately.
“I was kinda scared, kinda intimidated at first. But then
I just got free. I just said, look, I’m going to do what
my strength is, and I’m going to let these producers do what their strength is, and we’re all going to come together and make this a wonderful thing.”
Something To Sing About was a baby for me, as far as movies are concerned. I want to venture out into some new things. I got one movie under my belt, and there’s more to come. I enjoy working under the crew and the directors, and really having a focal point in deciding what kind of songs to write, what kind of inspiration to bring out. It was a discipline for me, a new level of expectation. I really enjoyed it.”
Perhaps the kicker of the soundtrack is that TV star Darius McCrary not
only sings much of the material, he sings it well. Not
just in a ‘pretty good for an actor’ kinda way, but truly
with talent. Jones starts laughing, “My boy, Darius
McCrary. You’re going to hear him sing like you never
even imagined. Him being on Family Matters all
those years, and being funny and witty. No one would
even imagine that his voice could do what he does [with it], he’s just phenomenal.”
Tamera Mowry also sings on the album, and Jones was impressed with her approach.
“I was able to work with her on a couple of songs. She was so easy to work with, and simple in the studio, I loved producing her. Whatever I gave to her, she gave back to me, so that was really cool.”
And of course, there was Kirk Franklin. Jones had a small part to play in the movie, which allowed him to spend about a week just hanging around the set with Franklin. “I really kicked it with him all week long as I was doing my segments. We hung out and had a good time. Having him be the choir director to direct my songs…”, he trails off. “It was just a privilege to be involved with him in that capacity.” He adds that Kirk is “a wonderful person, not just as a an artist, but as a person, a family man, and a man of integrity.”
The Holy Roller artist doesn’t hesitate in summing up the project. “I think these songs are going to be taught in churches across the country. ’Blessed Assurance', 'Precious Lord Take My Hand', 'I Cried Holy’, I think these songs are going to be Sunday morning, 11 o’clock service-ready. Praise teams get ready to learn some new music, this is really going to impact your congregation and take them to the next level of worship.”
Brett Keller and the ND co.—
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