Gospel, R&B, and funk singer-songwriter, pianist, guitarist, drummer, and musical director Willie Fn Jones is interviewed about his musical influences, memorable performances, favorite places to perform, and much more.
What first got you into music?
My father got me into music. He’s been playing organ since he was a kid. I grew up going from church to church, hearing him play the organ. I started out playing the drums.
Who are some of your influences?
Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Kirk Franklin, Cory Henry, Fred Hammond, John Mayer, Kanye West, Tye Tribbett, Dave Weckl, Rodney Jerkins, Prince, Michael Jackson, and Quincy Jones.
What draws you to your preferred genre?
I really like Gospel, Smooth Jazz, funk, and R&B. I love the drive of the music.
What’s the most memorable performance you ever had?
My most memorable performances happened earlier this year in 2023. I was the Musical Director of a show called B.A.M. which we souled out here at the Lucas Theater and a theater in Atlanta as well.
Because Camouflage, her father, was, and still is, iconic to Savannah.
How did you get started in the Savannah music scene?
I got started playing in Savannah back in the day with a group called Vernon and the Center stage Band at a spot called Mardi Gras on Bay Street across from the Hyatt Hotel.
Talk a bit about your band, Nu Vyb …
My band Nu Vyb is mainly four musicians. I am the musical director and keyboardist. Derrick Larry is the programmer and drummer. Terrance “Yikes” Williams is our guitarist. Maurio Bentley is our Bassist. We’re the band for American Idol winner Candice Glover. We started playing for Candice Glover like six years ago. Candice met us at a spot called “Doubles” and took us on tour.
Name a Savannah artist you’d love to collaborate with, and why?
I would love to collaborate with Flau’jae. Because Camouflage, her father, was, and still is, iconic to Savannah. I love her confidence, and she has a great delivery and message.
We have so many talented people here. So many genres. We need more horn players though.
What are some of your favorite local places to play?
My favorite place to play is at JW Marriott Plant Riverside. I also love playing in the Lucas Theater. I played there 2 years straight for this show Called B.A.M that with SCAD and Candice Glover which we souled out, I love how the room feels. Hearing and feeling the roar from the crown is electrifying.
Your thoughts on the Savannah music scene …
The music scene in savannah is great. We have so many talented people here. So many genres. We need more horn players though.
What’s next for you?
I really don’t know where to start. A lot of music will be dropping and a lot more performances.