We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Jane Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura Jane, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
I have learned over the years that the two most important principles for me in working with other people and developing relationships is ethics, integrity and knowledge of the business. This may sound a bit harsh because we all have learned and gained knowledge of the business from experience, so perhaps I should reframe that. I have learned I need to work with people that at least want to gain the proper knowledge of the business. I think word is bond. This business can be a slippery slope if you don’t know what is what. It is important to respect artists and the art we create. Yet is also important to know and understand the rules and the actual laws in place for the business. I think one of the most intriguing things that I have found is songwriters misunderstanding their role in actual songwriting, and when partnerships in songwriting teams go separate ways, that even if the team has gone separate ways – individuals can still write, re-produce and release the song they wrote. As long as all appropriate contributors are noted with their affiliations. So I have learned the hard way, that going in if I am writing with someone and they don’t understand some basic knowledge of music laws, no matter how talented I think they are, no matter how wonderful of person they may seem to be, if they don’t understand basic laws in music, I can no longer collaborate with them. I have learned as harsh as this may sound I must stick to working with people who are grounded reality. In other words, not everyone can do this. It is arrogant for people they can actually do this and do it well. It is also disrespectful to those of us who have been doing this all of our lives through thick and through thin for some people to think they have what it takes. After years and years of me working my ass off and succeeding and failing, being supported by friends and colleagues and sometimes not being supported by friends and colleagues as well as me wanting to help everyone along the way and encouraging people to chase their dreams, there comes a point when you realize you cannot give everyone the benefit of the doubt!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a singer first, my art is music. I love music and music definitely chose me in this life. But the road can be bumpy. I don’t know what “sets me apart”, if I were to answer that part of the question it would seem arrogant. All I know is I have been doing this my whole entire life, I knew I wanted to be in music and the arts since I was 7 years old. I also know that I just kept going. I think that that is the key in this whole hustle you know? Because I have had my share of success and failures you know? I have been disappointed by people and hurt by people that I thought were my friends. This can be a difficult town to be in and survive in sometimes. So I would say that I have kept going. And when I say kept going, ultimately I mean kept creating! There are many people that will wait for the phone to ring and judge their own value on whether the phone rings or not. I am the opposite actually…creating and owning intellectual property is the way to go and build in this business. The other part of getting to where I am today is GIVING and helping other people also! I spoke about that in my other question, but it is important to help other people when you can. That is ultimately why I started my own company, my own vocal studio called Laura Jane International Vocal Studio and Jane Global Music Services. These two entities are the pathway to helping to other artists, musicians and composers. 2020 was a tough year, like may artists it seems like a dark hole that seemed impossible to come out of. I know for me it was tough spiritually. Luckily for me my new drug is my home studio and creating music in it, I recorded and worked on like 17 albums in 2020 at home, worked with an Emmy Winner, Grammy Winner and Oscar Winner from my home. I also have written so much music with a few different people in 2020, working with people I would have never considered with. I embraced those new relationships, no matter what they were to continue to make art and comfort my heart and soul. I am releasing some of this new music and will concentrate on licensing music for television and film. My clients are global and not just in the state of California. I am helping launch a new facility called Future Stars of Houston in Houston, Texas. It is a 9,000 square foot space and a creative space for young people. Arts Education has been gravely defunded and it’s future is uncertain. The Pandemic has done damage so much damage to the funding of the arts. I am hoping to help reshape the map in the country by making Houston a destination city for arts education. And yes I STILL LIVE IN Los Angeles, but I work everywhere!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wow! This is a great question! Well one of the best things about Los Angeles and California in general is its natural beauty. Man! No matter how you slice it this place is paradise! So first things first I would take them to Malibu, Malibu has such an interesting energy, there is alot of ancient history there especially If you talk to an Indian chief or two! (Which I have) So Malibu would be numbering and I suggesting enjoy Point Dume, the beaches as well as Escondido Falls. There are also wineries through there that are amazing as well as the Malibu Hindu Temple which is worth seeing. So I would probably dedicate a day or two just to that area! NOT TO MENTION some of the most amazing restaurants on the Pacific Coast Highway. OKAY SO THAT IS ONE! HMMMMMMMMM……I would probably dedicate a day to Venice Beach. Even though I do think Venice has deteriorated in some way, I also thought it was must in terms of really capturing the essence of true California culture, the artwork on the beach, the drum circles etc and all of that. There is always great musicians busking and restaurants. OH! everyone that comes to California must experience the sunsets not the incomparable Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean is a special body of water. I have travelled to 90 countries and seen alot of sunsets but man very few beat the SUNSET on the Pacific Ocean. THAT IS A MUST… Some other musts to do in the area are the HUNTINGTON LIBRARY AND BOTANICAL GARDENS. Griffith Park and of course downtown LA which now boasts so many awesome things to do, including museums, not to mention LA Live and a bunch of dope restaurants…oh! and Little Tokyo too! In terms of restaurants, some absolute musts are JITLADA. Jitlada is AN ESSENTIAL must do if you are into Thai Food. The menu is extensive including a whole page of Thai dishes you have never heard of before (unless you have been to Thailand like I have). The owner and chef is acclaimed and I think It has a Michelin star? I better research that to be sure. It is a little hole in the wall in Thai Town! It is a must!! Another restaurant I love and consider a must is BLUE PLATE OYSTERETTE in Santa Monica. Oh my god the lobster tacos are to die for! Amazing seafood ! Run there – don’t walk and go now! ha ha ha Another restaurant that I consider must if you want to experience and appreciate Los Angeles culture is CASA VEGA in Sherman Oaks. This place is legendary and still owned by the same family I believe. The food is amazing, I crave this place sometimes! The atmosphere is throw back 1950’s diner vibe, the margaritas are also incredible. This is a well known hang and there have been times you can walk in and find celebrities like Pink or Tommy Lee hanging out at the bar. The menu is updated with “organic” and vegetarian options. This is a must! If you come to Los Angeles and don’t get Mexican food …..I don’t know what is wrong with you! Plus California used to be part of Mexico – so GET MEXICAN FOOD! Walking on Olvera Street near downtown Los Angeles is also a must, if you want to really educate yourself on the true roots of this amazing city. God I love Los Angeles ! Olvera street is part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument and the Los Angeles Plaza. There is food and shopping there and it is a must! In terms of nightlife and music, the Pandemic has forced some people to close their doors, and I swear my heart breaks knowing some of the iconic places in Los Angeles have had to close. But as far as I know Hotel Cafe, The Troubadour, Lucky Strike Live and places like the Sofitel Jazz Night and Delilahs are still open or will reopen! These places you can always hear great music and it truly reflects the incredible quilt of the music culture here. I have sung at all these places and my friends have as well, and my long time friends like Ryan Cross and Printz Board still bring in talent for some of these places. I mention these two guys in particular because Ryan Cross not single handedly but with the help of others has consistently created a scene and a space for artists to perform, integrating the new talent and the old etc…. GOSH! I know there is so much more to say about this incredible metropolis but these are the things that are on the tip of my tongue every time I describe this place! I
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
After all my years in Los Angeles, the mentors and friends that I have in California, I really must give credit to where credit is due. I want to acknowledge three of my best friends, of which two are in the industry and one is not. Because at the end of the day these three women have picked up the phone for me on my brightest days and darkest days. They have have advised me personally and professionally through the toughest times in my life. These women are KIM HILL, who was the original singer for the Black Eyed Peas. Kim Hill now lives in New York with her son, she is an entrepreneur, one of my most important confidants and an all around bad ass. I also want to acknowledge my best friend from childhood Lisha McKoy, who is an incredible actress living in New York, having done many television appearances. She has endured the pandemic in New York City, while going through a divorce from her wife of 20 years and raising a 7 year old beautiful little girl. The other person I must acknowledge is my big sister who does not live in Los Angeles and it not in the business either. She lives in Austin, Texas and is single mom, half Vietnamese and Black, Dorothy Jones. She is a CEO for Verizon Wireless and she is one of my all time “rocks” in this life. Honestly without these three women I swear to god – I WOULD NOT BE ALIVE! And I mean it….. I thought about this question and a side of my brain says I should mention “this person” or “this person” that live in Los Angeles that are in the industry that have helped me, or mentored me in some way. There are many ….but the truth is the three black women listed above are the reason I have kept going ….they are my heroes – PERIOD!
Mike Quain Photography Alexander Pernhorst Photography Nikki Dolanzo Photography Ray Garcia Photography Future Stars of houston