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.