Philadelphia rapper Pierre Jonez presents the music video for “Never Knew,” his new single produced by Chemist Productions. Now residing in Pittsburgh, Jonez brings a breadth of life experience to his lyrics, from serving in the US Army in Iraq to studying audio production at the Art Institute of Austin, Texas.
Jonez’s discography include the 2015 album Live From The 17th Floor (Spotify) and 2016’s Live From The Lobby (Spotify). Jonez says his new single is about “a combination of relationships I went through. We never know the value of something until we don’t have it anymore.”
Can you share more about the inspiration behind your latest single, “Never Knew?” How did your personal experiences, including serving in the US Army and studying audio production, influence the creation of this song?
The inspiration behind the song really came from a combination of relationships that all ended in one way or another and ultimately led me down a path of self discovery and reflection. I think we really find out who we truly are when we’re faced with uncertainty and things that are out of our hands. What can me more uncontrollable than wanting a broken heart to be mended immediately.
Moving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, how has the change in location impacted your music and artistic expression? Are there specific aspects of these cities that have left a lasting imprint on your work?
Pittsburgh is a beautiful city and a true breath of fresh air. However, I think the change of pace and a new environment with new people have allowed me to be more open minded. As far as my artistic expression, the approach is more clear and concise because it’s coming from a therapeutic frame of thought.
Your background includes studying audio production at the Art Institute of Austin, Texas. How has your formal education in audio production influenced your approach to creating music, and what techniques or skills from your studies do you find most valuable in your current projects?
My studies in audio production have helped me focus more on my mic techniques and the vocal recording process. Prior to attending college, a lot of my process was improvisational and on the fly. Today, my focus is much more well rounded. Before I begin a recording session, I mentally work out the session in my head before I begin the actual studio session.
Reflecting on your discography, with albums like “Live From The 17th Floor” and “Live From The Lobby,” how do you perceive your artistic evolution from those earlier works to your current single? Have there been any significant shifts in your style or thematic focus over the years.
Absolutely. The records are more mature, punctual and creative as far as originality is concerned. I’ve always challenged myself to push my penmanship where lyrics are concerned, but I feel I’ve achieved a new level of lyricism and flow with “Never Knew” for sure.
In “Never Knew,” you mention that the song is about a combination of relationships you went through, emphasizing the idea that we often don’t realize the value of something until it’s gone. How do you navigate the balance between personal storytelling and creating music that resonates with a broader audience? What do you hope listeners take away from the emotional depth of your lyrics?
For me, it’s never taking the fun out of the songwriting process. When it starts to feel like work then it becomes forced. As a songwriter, I believe in my heart that I have a responsibility to myself to express how I feel and leave it all on the record. I also believe that it’s important to write about the moments in life that make music fun and light on the ears.
I leave it to the listener to make the distinction of what record belongs in which category. What I want people to take from the emotional depth of my lyrics is to understand and embrace that we all are all human. It is our imperfections and limited time on this earth that make us who we are; one of God’s greatest creations.