WHEN LADY ANTEBELLUM takes the stage on July 4th at Fort Stewart, the audience will have already experienced the unique and singular talent that is Caroline Jones, who’s set to open the show. Jones, a prolific singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, has been pursuing music on a commercial scale for several years—but has truly been doing this for nearly her entire life.
Her latest EP, which she co-produced alongside Grammy-winning producer Ric Wake (known for his work with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Trisha Yearwood), is a beautifully-produced set of country songs that speak to not only her talents as an artist but also behind the board. She spent many years honing her craft, after realizing a love of writing as a child.
“I started writing poetry and short stories when I was a really little girl. I just loved words and I loved art,” she tells Connect. “When I was nine years old, I asked my parents for singing lessons. Once I started singing, I realized that I could put all of those poems and stories to music. Something just clicked, and I never wanted to do anything else after that.”
The touring and recording life, she says, has been “decades in the making.” Around 2008, Jones noticed the the music industry beginning to crumble and decided to start carving her own path towards longevity.
“I went to a performing arts school that allowed me to go into the studio in the afternoons,” she says. “So late in high school, I kind of came to a crossroads. I saw how the landscape of the industry was changing, so it became really important to me to focus on building a craft and an identity that would allow me to build something more long term.”
With the record industry shifting rapidly and the digital age incoming, Jones decided not to go the traditional major label route. Instead, she continued working in studios and began touring high schools and colleges. She created the Heart is Smart Initiative, which allowed her to run workshops and master classes, all while producing her own independent records and managing her own career.
“It wasn’t until 2015, when I met Ric Wake, that I ventured more into the commercial music sphere. That was when I started touring on a big level. I met Zac Brown and he kind of took me under his wing. But I’ve been playing music and booking my own tours for years prior,” she says.
All of that work on a grassroots level led her to Bare Feet, the EP she produced alongside Wake. She also went on to tour with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, and Kenny Chensey.
As for what’s next, Jones says she’s currently working on a new EP that’s slated for the fall. There’s also a “surprise coming” very soon that features some of her “heroes and mentors”—she’s fairly secretive about specifics, but it’s sure to be something special.
After many years of hard work and DIY dedication, Caroline Jones is taking on the world of country with her own vision in tow. Given her experience with production and studio work, Jones was able to bring her ideas and sonic expertise Bare Feet and co-produce the songs—a very rare occurrence for an artist in the music industry.
“When I met Ric, I’d always been scared of co-producing because I had my own process and vision for things,” she says.
“I just found the perfect partner in Ric, because he really opened my mind to a more seasoned perspective. He knows from experience and his great instinct, he knows what parts will work and how to refine them. I love production. I consider it as important to what I do as songwriting or singing or playing instruments.”