( ENSPIRE Music ) Her Recent Single “I Like Dat GoGo” Has Grown In Popularity
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
Charis Jones is an acclaimed independent R&B artist and a star in the making. She has gotten mainstream buzz because of an onstage performance where the American actress Angela Bassett herself went onstage and danced. This video has helped cement Charis’s reputation in the music industry and it only goes up from here. Charisa is a Washington native who is especially known for her GoGo Remixes which fuse Jazz and R&B. In 2021 she began her music journey and resigned as an educator. Moving across the country on a full scholarship to pursue vocal performance at the LA College of Music.
You may have heard of Charis Jones’s latest single “I Like Dat GoGo” which is growing popular. She co-produced and arranged the vocals and instrumentations. “I Like Dat GoGo” has been featured: on Da Brat’s, Grammy Award Winning Rapper’s “For Y’all Volume 1” Mixtape, spotlighted via the Essence of Soul Radio Show in London, and on WHUR 96.3FM as their Hometown Heat Artist. Jones has sold out music venues on the East Coast and Southern Corridors. Her songs are featured on: Sirius XM Heart and Soul, Sirius XM Crank Radio on H.U.R. Voices, and WPGC 95.5FM. Jones has performed on TV for Good Morning Washington on ABC7, Great Day Washington on WUSA9, and Spectrum News Channel 1 in Southern CA. We spoke to Charis Jones about her passion for music, her songs and remixes, the start of her career, and her journey as an independent artist.
Has music always been a passion of yours?
Music has sincerely always been my passion. The first audible sound that was understood was musical. It was how I could express myself, and it was also how I could make others happy while feeling something. As a Preacher’s Kid, we would use music to usher in the holy spirit. As a member of several praise teams, it became an innate understanding that the music would allow us to usher in the next phase of worship. It has been in my make up for a long while. I jokingly conveyed that while my mom was giving birth to me, Chuck Brown was playing in the background, and that is how GoGo got into my veins. The second passion that correlates with music was my desire to want to serve and help others. I believe music has a healing force. There is so much emotion that one can experience through music. I hear music in every aspect of nature, albeit, the birds chirping in the morning; the bees buzzing and pollinating the flowers, the wind blowing, and the water running. I sometimes even hear a beat when the windshield wipers are on while it is raining and I am sitting at a stop light. I am inspired by every sound that I can hear or feel.
Besides your single “I Like Dat GoGo” what other songs have been your most popular?
Well, thank you for acknowledging that “I Like Dat GoGo” was popular. I love that song for a plethora of reasons. The biggest reason is because it stamps my transition from the DMV area to Los Angeles, it was my first attempt to bridge the gap between both coasts. I never wanted anyone to feel as if I abandon my roots, but, I was trying to merge them into my new culture and space. And this song did just that, it allowed folks of varying regions to explore and gain insight into what GoGo music can be and is. I think another major aspect of that song was having Da Brat, a Grammy Award-winning rapper, have it on her mixtape, “For Ya’ll Vol. 1!” That was a big stamp, as there are now GoGo bands in Atlanta.
I had the pleasure of performing Boo’d Up Remix with the X.O. Band, which is also my most popular song. The drummer, Lil John Roberts, and I had developed a friendship, and in 2019 he hosted a GoGo night in Atlanta; and made arrangements for me to hit the song live with my buddy and longtime GoGo Pioneer, Ricky Angles. So, the movement of GoGo beyond DC has been in the works for several years. However, I am grateful that more bands are expanding the GoGo Music culture beyond the DMV, like Black Alley, Rare Essence, The Chuck Brown Band, and Backyard to name a few. Other popular songs, not in the GoGo genre that were popular include “You’re My Baby” from my first album Introducing Miss Jones, along with the remixed version of my original “S.O.T.” from the same album, called “SOTLive!” I enjoy live instrumentation, and therefore, in every song that I make, I try to ensure there is a live musical component within it.
What remixes have you done that you enjoyed and help further your career?
Other remixes that I have done that I enjoyed include “No Problem” by Chance The Rapper. When I had my radio show, IAG, which stands for Independent Artist Goals, I was enamored by his ability to remain Independent and enlighten others to do so as well. I loved how he talked about record labels having specific stat and analytic requirements, and how he rather be focused on building his fans and following organically without being limited. Moreover, I think Chance The Rapper is extremely talented, and he is my favorite rapper, hands down.
Another remix that I enjoyed doing was Lizzo’s “Like A Girl GoGo Remix”, this too came out in 2019, and this was a personal song for me. At the time, I was going through a breakup, and I just needed to regain my confidence as a Woman. It was the best anthem for little girls as well. As a former Adjunct Professor and Special Education English High School Teacher; this was the best form of girl empowerment. And to put this song in the pocket, i.e. turn it into a GoGo Remix was very important to me.
Conversely, I would certainly say that Boo’d Up Remix changed my career indefinitely. June 8th is now Boo’d Up Remix Day since that was the day in 2018, when DJ Reddz, a prominent DJ in the DMV broke the record on WPGC 95.5FM. It is secretly now the song of the Summer back home. I mean LaRance Dopson, DJ Mustard, and Joelle James are the original producers of this song, and Ella Mai is the artist who collectively made the original song, “Boo’d Up” a massive hit. I of course fell in love with the song and connected with my former Musical Director, Deanna Hawkins to put it in the pocket, and the rest is history. I have many DJs to thank for pushing the song forward, they all deserve a Gold Record, but legitimately DJ Reddz started the movement, and he deserves all the flowers.
You are an acclaimed independent artist, what are the highs and lows of being in the music industry and creating independently?
Ha, well there are many highs and lows, but the biggest reality is that NOTHING happens overnight. I have been grinding independently for over 15 years. At every stage, I learned more about myself, my craft, and the music business. I have had to develop relationships, and some of them, unfortunately, do not last. They do not last for reasons of outgrowing folks, envy, narcissism, wrong intentions, and the list goes on. When folks say, you will need tough skin to survive, they mean this with every fiber of that assertion. Yet, the beautiful aspect of that coin, is that there are people who will support you, who have been supporting you; when you were inconsequential to the masses. And as my grandma would say, “Show them better than you can tell them.” And I keep showing up, and that is why I named my sophomore album, “Unstoppable!” It speaks to how I had to overcome so many battles, yet I realize that others are overcoming similar and unique experiences as well. I believe this is why the song is so well-received.
Likewise, the second single released was Allergic, and this speaks to how I am over the fake love, hating ass coworkers and bosses, and folks just saying reckless stuff to me. I mean it is overwhelming, and in my second album, I just wanted to be fully transparent and relatable. It will literally be 9 years since I last released an album, I have been through a lot and grown even more during that time. But I do not believe folks publicly share the struggle and the BS that happens to you as a female independent artist, who is assertive, humble, and unwavering. Maybe I can share this in a manifesto one day, lol.
But for right now, I have had to deal with the rise of fame, and folks being jealous of that, instead of being supportive. I have dealt with folks lying to me, because they had a crush on me, and I would not mix business with pleasure. I have dealt with musicians only doing a gig because of their family members, but not really being team me. I have had to deal with producers, who had no desire to work with me and relinquish their rights to the song, and then once they hear the song, did not apologize for their trifling actions towards me but then want to be all up in the mix. I have had to deal with family members who have conditions, and only show up now because their friends know who I am.
And this list can go on and on, yet we thank God for my therapist, I also am grateful for my small tribe, who keep me grounded and fix me back up like I am in the speed pit for a tune up; and send my ass right back out there on this marathon. All I have ever wanted was for my music to impact others, inspire, give hope, and bring joy. I just want to perform on larger stages and use my music as a healing property.
What about music, specifically R&B made you gravitate toward it as a career?
I think R&B music chose me. My dad would dance in front of the television all the time, he was in several singing groups as well. My mom was a pianist and violinist. So, I came from two people who lived and breathed music. I secretly was connected to Gospel the heaviest as a little girl to pre-teen, but as I got older, I did not want to compromise my lifestyle. I saw my late Godfather Donald Vails, mask a lot of his feelings because of singing Gospel music. He taught me so much and provided me the opportunity to record with his choir at age 6. He introduced me to some of the greats in Gospel music, and I will be forever grateful. Yet, I wanted versatility in my music, and I did not want to be put in a box. Most of my music still has gospel remnants in it, by way of chord structure and progression or feel. I love feel–good music, and I believe it’s a conglomerate between gospel, jazz, and R&B.
What was going through your mind when you made the change to travel across the country to pursue a vocal performance degree?
Another very good question, at that time it was the Pandemic, and I was teaching remotely Erryday. I was ti-red. I felt stuck and was secretly not happy. I just knew a change needed to happen for me to elevate to the next level in my career, and the best way to do so was to learn more about my craft. I never wanted to be held by any one person, so I needed to diversify my skill sets. Luckily, I acquired a full presidential scholarship for the Vocal Performance Diploma program at the Los Angeles College of Music, and I said “Yup, it’s time to go!”
I was definitely nervous to leave my stable and cushy lifestyle, but how can one grow if you always remain in your comfort zone? I was concerned about being the oldest African American female at my school and reversing roles from being the teacher and professor to being a student after having an 11-year gap from graduating with my Master’s in Public Health from Drexel University. So yeah, I was apprehensive, and it was difficult because I attended school during the world shutdown. I felt like I dealt with some unfortunate trials while at the school as well, yet, I made sure to develop an organization that would provide students of color a safe space and an easier linkage to speak with the school’s senior leaders. So, I became an advocate to my peers and friends to the faculty members. And it was worth it. I headlined my graduation in March of 2023, and debuted my single “Unstoppable!”
How did you feel in that moment when Angela Bassett danced onstage?
This question will never get old, as it will remain to be a time of magical bliss for me. It was the most organically charismatic moment that I can depict. I had no clue that Dnice, Deborah Cox, or Angela Bassett were coming to the GoGo. Yet, it was Joncea’s birthday, a prominent actress and comedian, and she had so many of her friends who are shining stars in the building. I presume word got out about this experience happening, and folks pulled up. As soon as the crew walked in, I said “Wayment” and started giving them nicknames, so it went with the song, lol. I called Deborah, Debbie and Auntie Angela, and Angie. And just continued by saying “Angie got a big old butt” and the crowd responded “Oh Yeah!” It was the last song of the night, we had been cranking for 4 hours at that time, and we closed out the set, honoring Sugar Bear of EU. “Da Butt” is his song, and it’s an iconic song, and it was just crazy that Angela felt comfortable enough to not only come on stage with me but dance and sing the song was historical.
Are there any new songs, Albums, or EPs you plan on creating?
Yes, thank you for asking, My sophomore album, “Unstoppable” will be released in May of 2024. But following my birthday on May 3rd, I released a new single every Wednesday. The two singles currently out are “Unstoppable” and “Allergic.” I intend to release “Good Day” on the first day of Summer, June 21st, and release the GoGo Remix to “Good Day” on June 28th during Black Music Month. I would love for your readers to follow me @CharisReese on Instagram, @CharisReeseOfficial on TikTok, or go to my website at www.CharisJones.com to gain all the details on new songs that will be dropping along the way. I am very honored to be featured by Grammy U during Black Music Month and just announced I will be headlining the first Juneteenth Festival by way of Black in Mayberry on June 19th; and on July 13th, I will have my first show in LA at the Bourbon Room Hollywood. It will be a Red Carpet event, celebrating the release of my newest singles from the Album Unstoppable. I will also be performing at home on August 1st at Blues Alley DC.
Get tickets for Chariis Jones’s first show on July 13th at the Bourbon Room Hollywood. Follow her on TikTok or Instagram to view her latest music updates. Stream her music now by going to her YouTube or Spotify page.