Tameca Jones’ dramatic new single “IDK” belongs in the Erwin Center: big, bold, booming. ATX’s powerhouse stylist – soulful as Franklin, rockist as Joplin – “commit[s] to a 180-degree turn with the explosive pop/rock/trap-influenced ‘IDK,’” marveled Kahron Spearman earlier this month. “I’m using my voice differently,” said the homegrown singer.
Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering and under what circumstances? Who else is there and how’s that going?
Tameca Jones: I am chilling in da Braunf, known as New Braunfels to common folk, with my mom and daughter. It’s going well. Libras and Geminis get along swimmingly.
AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?
TJ: The virus started affecting me in March. It killed all of my delicious private SXSW gigs. I planned to move to Austin some time in the fall of 2020, but without any income, securing a new place is impossible. I also planned to make a full-length album to release in the fall, but self-funding an album is impossible without any income.
Personally, I miss sex.
AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person?
TJ: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. You don’t really appreciate something until it’s gone. Hopefully, our community, and most importantly the people who set the budget for our city, better appreciate the spiritual and economic impact of live music.
I hope this pause highlights the disproportionate treatment of African American artists in Austin and the need for a Black Live Music Fund currently being championed by Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone.
AC: Everyone’s had to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?
TJ: I haven’t had to alter anything. If anything, I have too much time and not enough resources. So I’m using the excess time I have to work with other creatives – something that I’m not used to. I keep a pretty small circle of people.
AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?
TJ: If I had a soundtrack, it would probably not be music. It would be some kind of headspace meditation. If the world was about to be obliterated, I’d want to die to the soothing British balm of Andy [Puddicombe]’s voice.
I am not a music scholar by any means. Adrift in this endless sea of extra time, I find myself listening to music more as a consumer instead of a creator. Before the virus, I was always consumed with making music and making money from it.
Now, I’m consumed with naps and what snack I will eat for breakfast.
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