Q&A: Austin musician Tameca Jones discusses her relationship with music

Avery Wohleb

While traveling the country to perform her music, Tameca Jones said she discovered her true relationship with music.

Jones, commonly referred to as the “Queen of Austin Soul,” is a singer based primarily in Austin. Since splitting from her band 8 Million Stories in the 2000s, Jones has opened for musicians such as Gary Clark Jr. and Bob Schneider and performed at Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2015.

The Daily Texan spoke with Jones about her future plans with music and how she has defined herself as an artist over the years.

The Daily Texan: What was the start of your solo career after 8 Million Stories split?

Tameca Jones: I didn’t want to make music with a band at that time. I just didn’t want anyone else to define my sound, but then songs did not come that easily for me. In hindsight, I wish I had worked with more people so maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so burnt out. But it doesn’t work like that. I think that definitely contributes to where I am now. Music and I need some therapy. 

DT: What is soul music by your definition, and what is it like to be known as the “Queen of Austin Soul?”

TJ: It was a weird crown to wear. For a long time, I fought it. Austin is not the most diverse of places, so I didn’t want to be somebody’s mascot. But soul to me is something that comes from a direct source of the universe. I can just tell when someone has that soul. You can feel it and you can see it, a direct source to the light of the universe. 

DT: Do you feel any pressures placed on you as a musician, and does that affect your music and your shows?

TJ: For the past 12 years, music was my sole source of income. That put a bunch of pressure on me to have good-paying gigs, and with those gigs, people wanted a good sound. Once (my kids) grew up, I realized I didn’t love music as much as I should. They were my main motivation for creating music and doing shows. Once that pressure wasn’t there, I questioned why I was still doing it. That’s when I took a step back and realized I want to be happy. 

DT: What kind of stories do you try to tell through the music you write?

TJ: I used to tell really broad stories about love, yearning, my kids and them growing up. But when I lost that connection to myself, I just wrote about a bunch of sexual things. Now I’ve taken a step back, and I’m reevaluating my music. It’s more about my mental health and the demons I’ve been fighting. I’m (going to) lean more into that darkness and write things important to me because when I’m on stage, I can’t fake it. If I’m not happy, that shows in my performances, and I don’t like that. I want to get back to the love. I want to get back to the light.