‘80s pop star continues to sing positive thoughts

 

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

The predominant theme of Howard Jones’s music can best be summed up by one of his biggest hits.

“Things can only get better.”

It’s a positive message that infused his music from the moment he arrived on the scene in the U.K. and America with his first hit in 1983, “New Song.”

On that track, Jones – who also started off as a one-man band synth wunderkind – advised, “Don’t crack up/ Bend your brain/ See both sides/ Throw off your mental chains.”

Jones performs at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den in Uncasville on June 7.

In a call from London, Jones said he favors looking at the bright side of life because, “I think it always helps for us to know that not everything in the future is (bleak) because even if it was, it would be better to be hopeful for the future.”

Jones explained, “Any mess we find ourselves in, we can turn it around.”

While some experts will preach the importance of a positive attitude in a book or some kind of tutorial video, Jones spreads his message with music.

But, he said, there is no grand plan to using music for the message. “That’s the one thing I’m reasonable good at.”

But, Jones said, “Music is very powerful at getting things into your head.”

Although Jones has been incessant about teaching the importance of being positive, Jones said he is not immune to falling into negative funks.

Jones said one of his bleakest moments in life came after his first five albums had been released. The time had arrived for his label to re-sign him to a new contract. But the label declined to offer Jones another contract.

With that news, Jones said he told himself, “I’m finished.”

“I was very depressed for six weeks.”

But Jones decided to pick himself off the floor, dust himself off, and opted to form his own record label. With that business avenue for his creativity, Jones began to carve out his own idiosyncratic creative path.

Although there is a sense of freedom outside of the major label machine, Jones doesn’t look back at those days in the mid-1980s with bitterness and regret.

“I’m very grateful for that decade… with a major label that established me as an international artist,” said Jones.

But, Jones – with positivity once again blooming in his responses, said, “I’m pleased in a way that Warner Brothers didn’t continue my contract,” said Jones. “I’m developing all these different sides (to my musical output).”

For instance, Jones has been dabbling with more avant garde projects and efforts.

However, Jones’s new album, “Transform” finds the singer-songwriter revisiting the kind of electropop that launched his career.

Although Jones has always been using synths and electronics throughout his career, he said, the move back to a more hook-driven electro pop developed has a cinematic genesis.

Jones said he was asked to provide music for the film, “Eddie the Eagle.” The movie is set in the 1980s so the producers wanted music that reflected the era. But they didn’t want to use catalogue tracks. They wanted something new in the spirit of the era.

Jones took on the project.

To his surprise, said Jones, the pop songs for the movie came very quickly. Typically, he said, he finds the process of writing music a more laborious process.

“I knew my fans were politely encouraging me to do a full-on electronic album,” said Jones, so he decided the time was right to fulfill the desires of the fans.

“I’m really pleased I did,” said Jones.

When he comes to the Mohegan Sun with a full band, said Jones, he said, “It’s very important to me to play the hits.”

But, said Jones, “If you are an artist, it’s important to make new music all the time.”

To that end, Jones said, “Transform” will figure prominently in the set with eight songs culled from the new effort. Additionally, said Jones, the older tracks will be “Transformed” to mesh musically with the new songs. Jones also will take time to step away from band and up to an acoustic piano to play some songs.

“It’s always a real joy,” said Jones of the solo moments on stage. “It’s like a holiday for me, sitting down at the piano and playing for my friends.”

Howard Jones plays a free show at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den on Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m. For more information, go to MoheganSun.com or HowardJones.com.

Howard Jones comes to the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den in Uncasville for a free show.

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