It was a year or two ago when I first heard Cleveland P. Jones on a DJ Niceness mix. There was a striking purity to his voice that I hadn’t heard in a minute; it had the quality that drew you to Sam Cooke songs. I lost track of the crooner from that time until I bumped into him on my timeline yesterday. The name sounded familiar and I’m glad I clicked through the link as there waiting was his brand new video for ‘Mistakes‘, a single from his upcoming album ‘Human’. In the song, Cleveland is confessing to his love interest that he had erred in his ways, admitting that he had failed to express his affections as he should have. “I didn’t know how to treat your heart, so I must admit/ I made mistakes with your heart/ Let you down over again/ Please forgive me, love me once again.” You can hear the pain in his vocals as he fluently traverses the register from low to high. You see the same pain plainly etched on his bearded face as he sings in a lavishly furnished, but empty house.
Having found the artist, I had to look up a bit of background on him. As you can tell from his meticulously controlled vocals, Jones, who hails from South Carolina, has some serious musical training under his belt. He is a graduate of not one, but two renowned colleges; Berklee College of Music and Morehouse College in Atlanta. In the course of his studies he discovered and fell in love with the works of legendary jazz singer Little Jimmy Scott. Though he would become a fan of other idols like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Bobby McFerrin, Scott remained Jones’ main inspiration. Fused with his church choir upbringing, this jazzy sound would become the bedrock of Cleveland’s style.
In 2013 he released his debut album ‘Ace of Hearts‘, a project that would earn him praise and recognition in the underground soul scene. His work earned him the 2013 Soultracks.com New Artist of the Year and the honor of opening for the great Chaka Khan. From this powerful first single, Jones’ sophomore album promises to be a precious addition to any music lover’s library. Look out for Human early spring next year.
Miami Based, Internationally Known