|Born||May 22, 1973|
|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
Donell Jones (born May 22, 1973) is an American singer, songwriter and record producer. He is most notable for the hits "U Know What's Up," "Where I Wanna Be," and his cover of Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet." Jones' first studio album My Heart, was released in 1996, but he is best known for his late 1990s release of his second album Where I Wanna Be.
1996–2007: Breakthrough with LaFace
In June 1996, Jones released his debut album, My Heart, on LaFace Records. While most of the album was produced by Jones himself, it also featured help from Eddie Ferrell's Untouchables Entertainment production team, involving Mookie, Marks Sparks, Kenny Tonge, and Darin Whittington. A moderate commercial success, it peaked at number 30 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, but failed to reach the upper half of the US Billboard 200. Its first two singles, "In the Hood" and a cover of Stevie Wonder's 1976 ballad "Knocks Me Off My Feet," became top thirty hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs as well as the New Zealand Singles Chart.
In 1999, Jones enjoyed major success with the release of his second album, Where I Wanna Be. Boosted by its hit single "U Know What's Up," which peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. "U Know What's Up" was a global hit, peaking within the top ten of the charts in Belgium (Flanders), the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. In the latter country, "U Know What's Up" entered and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, where it remained for two consecutive weeks behind "The Masses Against the Classes" by Manic Street Preachers and "Born to Make You Happy" by Britney Spears. "Where I Wanna Be" peaked at number six on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in the United States. The album produced three further singles, including "Shorty (Got Her Eyes On Me)" and "Where I Wanna Be," the latter of which reached number two on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and was eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales in excess of 1.0 million copies. In 2000, Jones recorded the song "I'll Go" for the soundtrack of the romantic drama film Love and Basketball, which earned him a Black Reel Award nomination for Best Original or Adapted Song. The same year, he was also awarded an American Music Award in the Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist category.
Jones reteamed with his regular team of contributors, including Eddie F., Sheldon Goode, Jamie Hawkins, G-Wise, Kyle West, and Darren Lighty, to work on his third album Life Goes On. Released in June 2002, it debuted number 3 on the Billboard 200 and at number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, becoming his highest-charting effort yet. A steady seller it earned gold status from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Its three singles were less successful however, though lead single "You Know That I Love You" became a top twenty hit on the R&B charts. Jones' fourth album, Journey of a Gemini was released in 2006 and marked his first album to include a diverse roster of collaborators including production credits from Tim & Bob, Sean Garrett, Ryan Leslie, Tank, Mike City, and The Underdogs. It became Jones' highest-charting album on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart where it topped at number one, while entering the top 20 on the Billboard 200.
2009–present: Independent releases
In 2009, Jones released The Lost Files, a collection of unreleased songs that were recorded between 1996 and 2004, through his own label Candyman Music Inc and TuneCore. Serving as prelude to his next studio album, The Lost Files failed to chart. Lyrics, Jones' fifth regular album, was released in September 2010 via Candyman and eOne Music. Chiefly produced by Jones' himself, it debuted and peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard 200 and at number nine on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, becoming his fourth entry on the latter chart. Lyrics produced two singles, including "Love Like This" which reached the top five of Billboard's Adult R&B Songs.
Jones' sixth album Forever was released in July 2013. Another project conceived under Candyman and eOne Music, it debuted and peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and reached number eight on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album spawned two singles. Its title track which peaked at number 14 on Billboard's Adult R&B Songs. In 2016, Jones premiered the single "Never Let Her Go," a collaboration with rapper David Banner. In support of the single, he went on a promo tour during spring 2017. In 2018, Jones provided vocals, produced and co-wrote on "23" by Jacquees off the album 4275 (2018).
In 2019, Donell Jones collaborated with Jon B. on the duet "Understand". He also announced plans for an upcoming album to release in 2019 during an appearance on the SoulBack R&B Podcast. The project, called 100% Free, is expected to be released in December 2020.
- Studio albums
- My Heart (1996)
- Where I Wanna Be (1999)
- Life Goes On (2002)
- Journey of a Gemini (2006)
- Lyrics (2010)
- Forever (2013)
- 100% Free (2021)
- "Donell Jones | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
- "Joe > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
- "Awards for Donell Jones". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "28th American Music Awards". Rockonthenet.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "RIAA – Searchable Database: Donell Jones". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "YouKnowIGotSoul Interview With Donell Jones". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- EXCLUSIVE Interview: with R&B Veteran, Donell Jones - TheNext2Shine.com Archived March 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Blog.thenext2shine.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-09.
- "Interview: Donell Jones Talks New Album "Forever", Living His Music, Finding Inspiration". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "New Music: Donell Jones – Never Let Her Go (Featuring David Banner)". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "Jon B. and Donell Jones Shoot Video for New Single "Understand"". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. March 7, 2019.
- "Donell Jones Talks New Single with Jon B., Upcoming Album, Working with Jacquees (Exclusive)". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. March 4, 2019.
- "Donell Jones Returns With New Single "Karma (Payback)"". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. Retrieved November 14, 2020.