Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Maxine Jones formerly of En Vogue

Exclusive Interview Maxine Jones formerly of En Vogue
Live Life To The Max
By Lenell King
Who's That Lady Entertainment Exclusive

QUESTION:  We all know you as one fourth of the legendary R&B group EnVogue, but for those that may not know you outside of the group tell us what you have going on?

MAXINE:  It’s a really good time for me.  I am embarking on my solo debut album after 25 years and I have a new single out entitled,"Didn't I"

QUESTION:  What was your inspiration behind this song?

MAXINE:  Well, for me the song is about closure, being in a relationship, giving it your all and realizing that you’re not going to get the respect you deserve and that there’s nothing that’s going to change it.  No matter what you do it’s time to let it go.  It’s kind of edgy and it’s about moving
forward.  We are shooting a video right now.  It’s so interesting and I would hate to give it away.

LENELL:  That’s okay, you can surprise us! (Laughing)  Closure is something that many people can relate to in many aspects of their lives whether it’s leaving a relationship or a job.  We all need closure at some point in our life.

QUESTION:  Before the record deal, before the videos, before the first single let’s take a trip back
down memory lane.  When did you first find your love for music?  For most people its church or was it someone  that influenced you?

MAXINE:  Well music was a big part of my household, but I really felt it as a kid.  Once I was in kindergarten and met with the music teachers in school, that’s when I had the validation that I had musical talent.  From that point on it was in my head that this was something I was going to do.  I was also influenced by great artists like Michael Jackson,Chaka Khan, and Whitney Houston was
out at that time.  I really loved it and was interested in it.

QUESTION:  Speaking of influence, we recently lost a very influential woman, Maya Angelou.  Did she inspire you in your professional or personal life?

MAXINE:  Personally, as a teenager, as a preteen I remember going through so much.  I lost my
mother at 4 years old; I was raised by my father.  My dad was a great man who worked two shifts and I can remember needing so much more; my sisters were older but, I got through as a teen without having my mother.  Being out of the house by the time I was a teenager, I remember that my father and I didn’t hug.

I remember as a pre-teen reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.  I remember this book was something I could relate to that could get me through whatever I was going through at the time and
it had such a profound effect on me. I remember reading the book page by page, cover to cover and 
wanting more.  I wanted to read more of Maya’s life to see how she got on afterward; in my heart I know I really needed that.

She has always been an idol of mine.  She has been someone that I have always felt to be so special and so great.  What she became after going through what she did was amazing.
 My daughter’s middle name is Maya.  Maya Angelou is the mother of all mothers.  Her name means just that.  I gave my daughter my mother’s first name and her middle name is after Maya Angelou. Her name was a great name; she was great for our culture.  She is an American Icon; a true American Treasure.

QUESTION:  What were some of your memorable moments with the group? 

MAXINE:  Every aspect of it was memorable.  I loved performing in front of the crowds and being able to touch people.  That kind of thing was very memorable.  It was such a whirlwind from the beginning.  It happened so fast, I never imagined any of it.  Performing and meeting such legends like Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Don Cornelius and especially meeting Michael Jackson.

QUESTION:  So why now decide to do a solo album when two of your other group members released their albums earlier on?  Was now just the right time?

MAXINE:  Yes, I had no intention of leaving the group but I had gone as far as I could go.  It was time to go.  The solo project is what I wanted to do.  It was, ‘what’s next?  Here it is’.  It’s so divine and the energy right now is so great for music which reassures me it is the right time.

QUESTION:  Music has definitely changed since EnVogue first stepped on the scene.  Do you feel that you have to ‘fit’ in today’s music scene or conform?  For example, using studio tricks like auto-tune or do you feel that there is always a place for real R&B Music?

MAXINE:  Well when you say conform; there aren’t any standards in music right now; right now that’s perception.  At one time we had to conform but now the industry is in a great state where you
 can do what you want.  I don’t feel you have to conform to anything.

As an independent artist, music is music.  I didn’t feel like being in a box.  I feel I have to just put out great music.  I can just be me; in a sense I feel free.

QUESTION:  Would you consider, along with the other original members doing a reality show about EnVogue past and present?

MAXINE:  I think I would do it.  As an independent artist, it’s a vehicle to promote my product.  I’m interested in it.  Content—It’s a lot of crazy stuff, if you don’t give any crazy, you won’t exhibit any crazy.
LENELL:  Correct.  There are other successful shows that are wholesome and family oriented like the T.I. show and the LaLa Anthony show.

MAXINE:  And they are very entertaining.

LENELL:  Yes.  So it can be done successfully.  We look forward to seeing something like that in the future; fingers crossed.

QUESTION:  Outside of singing are there any other talents that you posses that your fans would be surprised to know?

MAXINE:  Art runs in my family.  My sister paints and she is pretty successful.  We have a company together where we sell black dolls and other pieces at Our other website is  I sell black dolls; I don’t do it very often.  I also do interior decoration; I work with my hands working with clay.  If I had the time, those are that I do
of singing.

QUESTION:  What advice would you have for an aspiring recording artist today?

MAXINE:  We were just talking about this prior to our call.  Learn your craft, learn music history, especially African American music history, know and learn the business of music including contracts.  On the other hand, have a real job;something to fall back on. I was able
to pursue a career on a hobby, but I was always good with my hands; braiding and making dolls.

Great advice.  Unfortunately you hear about artists, especially young teen girls who get in the industry at an early age and when the music stops, they have nothing to fall back on because music is all that they know.

From an outsider looking in EnVogue has definitely set the standard from the sound, the look and the vocals were top notch then, which really hasn’t been met today.  Maxine mentioned icons like Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan, but EnVogue are definitely icons as well.  You can purchase Maxine’s new single, ‘Didn’t I’ through iTunes, Amazon, Google and other music outlets.
You can get Maxine New Single "Didn't I on itunes
Follow Maxine Jones on twitter



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