Uncovering Tameca Jones: Austin Songstress Ditches Cover Songs for Originals

Tameca stands thinly dressed against a bare background, eyes closed with a single, painful tear sliding down her face. Looking at the cover of Tameca Jones’s debut EP Naked, I can’t help but connect her image to how many of us are feeling right now: vulnerable, scared, exposed, rubbed raw, but as the look on her face suggests determined to persevere.

With Naked, Tameca not only steps from behind her reputation as an amazing cover artist and forges her own image; she provides delectable, soul-rousing musical edibles so good you’d swear they were made with coconut oil. Naked has all the right ingredients: love, joy, longing, and Tameca’s sweet voice, smacking of honey.

soulciti spoke with the Austin songstress about her debut and her growing career:

soulciti: What’s the story behind naming the album Naked, the cover art, and song selection?

Tameca Jones: I named the album “Naked” because I was taking off the cover songs.  The EP showcases my skills as an original artist.  The cover art was done by legendary photographer Dan Winters for a story done by Austin Monthly. I loved the picture so much that I asked him if I could use it for my album cover.  It was such a beautifully vulnerable picture.  As far as the song selection, those were all the originals that I had at the time that were worthy of human consumption.

sc: You’ve been on the scene for a while now, what triggered the birth of this new album featuring your original works?

TJ: Years of writing terrible songs by myself and performing covers led me to make songs that were sonically edible.  I’ve always been a writer.  I started interpreting other artists songs only to stay relevant on the scene while I wrote originals. It just took longer than I thought to make something good because I did it by myself.

sc: Has it been hard moving from covers to your own original music? What has been the audience’s response?

TJ: It was hard moving from covers because when I left my band, I lost my vehicle to write songs efficiently. I never wanted to be a cover band, but I needed material to perform.  It took me so long to write a good song. I could’ve saved so many years had I sought out collaborators.  My first songs were met favorably. The audience thought my songs were covers which meant my songs were as good as the covers I performed.

I could’ve saved so many years had I sought out collaborators.

sc: Do you feel like you’re starting over?

TJ: I don’t feel like I’m starting over. I feel like I’m just getting started because I know how to invest my time and resources better. I was spinning my wheels for so many years, aimlessly.  I feel like something big is going to happen in the next two years for me.

sc: What direction are you moving in?

TJ: I’ve always loved pop music. I think I’m going in an 80’s-pop/rock direction, but who knows? I need to make a ton of music to know what suits me best.

sc: What is it like being both Black and a woman in the Austin music scene?

TJ: I’m definitely a unicorn.  There aren’t a lot of Black female singers in Austin.  I can name maybe five.  It definitely has its advantage because I don’t have a lot of competition doing my thing, but it’s also lonely to not have other Black women representing.  Austin is a little basic in that respect.

sc: What do you want your fans and newcomers to your music to take away from Naked?

TJ: I want them to feel how genuine I am whenever I sing and write. I strive to connect to a higher consciousness every time I open my mouth. That’s not always easy to do or capture in a recording. I just want them to feel what I am singing and the words I wrote.

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