Written by Emily Smith
Many have seen him on The Ellen Degeneres Show after a viral hit of him belting “Tennessee Whiskey” in his pickup truck captured the hearts of millions. A family man and rising star, country-pop musician Kris Jones is following his passion, creating uplifting tunes, and performing on stage in front of his growing fan base.
His childhood and family helped mold the trajectory of his music career very early on. Coming from a family who sung their hearts out in church, singing was an early part of his upbringing. “My mom used to sing to us when we were little,” Kris explains, “She had an amazing, raspy gospel voice. I think she’s the one I got my voice from.” Some of Kris’s musical stylings came from his love of musicians such as Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Al Green. Inspired by their voices and lyrics, he began to write songs of his own, many of which were inspired by his upbringing in a poor neighborhood.
His time going to church with his family also propelled his desire to sing and write songs. Kris recalls one time where he wrote a song so he could have a chance to sing in the church choir. He tells us, “My sisters sang in the choir, and I wanted to sing with them so badly I could taste it.” Though he tried many times, he was not taken seriously. Eventually, he spent an entire night writing a song to show his mother that he could sing. “My mother teared up and became my biggest fan from that day forward, until she passed away.”
Because of his efforts to prove himself, Kris got the chance to sing for his church. When he began to have second thoughts about performing, the encouragement of the people at his church quickly quelled his fears. “Luckily, I think the congregation was used to young singers having second thoughts. They cheered me on, and I got up there and did it.”
Fast forward to the present, and Kris is living his dream as a musician. During his time spent in the music industry, he has gained more knowledge on how to handle the schedule of a musician. As a devoted family man, Kris tells us that balancing family and music can be a bit of a challenge at times. “I have to be very careful not to neglect those I love by having tunnel vision for my music,” he says, “I miss my daughter’s events on occasion and I try to find creative ways to let her know I love and am thinking about her.” Some of these gestures include mentioning her on stage or sending her a funny video from backstage.
How Kris views the music industry has also changed; Relying on a team of people to make his dream as a musician become a reality is especially difficult, but he is now learning to trust his team more. “Now that [my dream to perform is] within reach, I’m finding there is so much more to it [that] I don’t understand. I have learned to rely on my management team and trust their knowledge of the industry.”
At the end of the day, Kris’ fans remind him why music means so much to him. “They tell me I inspire them, or my music helps them get through a hard day. That’s the inspiration that keeps me going,” Kris tells us. He gives back to his fans with live performances via Facebook every week, where he sings requests and checks in with fans. “I enjoy doing this because it allows personal contact with them.”
When he’s not engaging with fans, Kris spends time writing a variety of heartfelt songs. His songwriting process typically includes him turning off the lights to focus on the different types of stories he wants to tell, and frequently ask his family members to listen to his work. “Most of the time, when I’m in my writing zone, I get on everybody’s nerves,” he laughs. It is important to him that he makes sure these songs contain a piece of him and his life story. “I have to remind myself not to get carried away with what I think the world wants to hear.”
One song that resonates with Kris is “You Rescued Me,” a song written by his manager, Mark Pearce, for an animal rescue organization, Tracy’s Dogs. “They wanted me to sing it in their video,” says Kris. The organization travels around the world rescuing animals, restores their health, and helps find good homes for them. “I was emotionally moved as I witnessed what the organization accomplishes,” Kris tells us, “I want this song to resonate in people’s hearts to open their homes to the pure love these animals offer.”
Currently, Kris has other music in the works and visions of what he hopes to accomplish in the future. He is especially eager to release new singles and sees his fans’ reactions to these as expressions of himself. One song he believes will particularly intrigue his fans is “A Father’s Son,” which tells the story of a boy who is given the gift to go back in time and change one thing, only to not use the gift until he is an adult.
As for future goals, Kris has quite the bucket list. From performing with Chris Stapleton to performing at the CMA Awards, Kris aims to rise to the level of stardom that would allow him to provide for his family while doing what he loves. He would also enjoy getting the opportunity to thank everyone who has made a difference in his life.
For aspiring musicians Kris has this advice: “[Y]ou need to decide what is the goal and purpose of your music…determine if the work is worth the reward… [and not] let the lure of riches cloud reality.”
With an undeniable drive and passion for music, we’re sure this is still just the beginning for Kris Jones.