There’s no time for rants. The ignorant chatter displacing the more necessary and constructive conversation of the reality and impact of everything from racism, discrimination, sexism, misogyny, and religious oppression, is something Racquel Jones can’t tolerate and probes on ignoRANT.
Using mostly one-word titles, Jones, a former model and longtime collaborator with electronic duo Thievery Corporation, opens several dialogues, breaking open biases she experienced within the modeling world and beyond on “Queen,” the still incessant plight of females on “Jungle,” and the role of religion in life on “Sacrilege,” through the more straight-forward chapters of “Anger,” “Heartless,” ‘Ugly,” and “Hurt,” which is accompanied by a video melding Jones’s other world of visual art.
“Visual art and music have always been my release,” says Jones, “the way I make sense of what I’m feeling, and the space most conducive and comfortable for me to retreat and heal.”
Throughout, ignoRANT, released on Magnetic Moon Records, owned by Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza, is Jones’s unabashed look at the world, one crumbling, and one that could use a little less ignorance.
“The voice of the record is addressing truth, in its raw blatant pure form void of the disposition of wrong or right,’” shares Jones. “It’s my voice, along with the voice of anyone who has ever felt stereotyped. It may seem at times cynical, sarcastic, provocative, and uncomfortable, but the anguish is palpable by intention. It’s a voice unique, but one that anyone can understand.”
Jones digs deeper into ignoRANT, the cathartic release of music and art, and what the world needs right now.
American Songwriter: Each one of the mostly one-word song titles of ignoRANT open discussions to some heavier, often hush-hush topics. Beyond “Hurt,” “Invocation,” “Arrogant,” “Anger,” and the remaining 12 songs (stories) of ignoRANT, are there other words/issues you could easily add in now? What are other topics or issues you’ve yet to address or want to explore?
Racquel Jones: Given the current unfortunate state of the world right now, courtesy of the pandemic, racial injustice, and political divide, I’m sure I could come up with a few more. In terms of if there are more issues to explore, I haven’t thought of that lately due to where I am in my mental process. I wish there were no more burdensome issues that require me to use my art and platform… and there could be utopian bliss and I make happy art and music to make people feel even better, and immortalize that through my art for generations to come, instead of addressing stereotype and things caused by hurt and hate.
AS: What is it that threads the 12 songs of ignoRANT together for you?
RJ: [It’s] a consistent exploration of the disposition of stereotypes associated with marginalized people. And from an artistic standpoint, what wove this record together was a consistent idea to color outside the lines sonically, only being obedient to whatever is felt and sounded true to my emotions.
AS: Oftentimes, when artists cross artistic mediums, (visual, film, music, etc.) each often influences the other in some way. In the “Hurt” video, I can see the visual art “imitating” your music. How does your visual art weave into the music, or the bigger picture of your message?
RJ: They aren’t separate. I’m equally a visual artist as I am a musical artist. They both feel the same and do the same thing for me creatively. My art is a little bit more sacred to me though because I don’t need anyone else involved in that creative process, so in a way, it almost feels like my purest form of expression. I feel as though I do well with painting vivid pictures, telling stories, and tapping into emotions musically simply because I’m a visual artist. That makes it easier on my creative process musically. Also, because of the two, it helps with my ability to connect with others, because if our gift as artists is to feel, I’m able to feel empathy more intensely and relate better to others.
AS: ignoRANT pierces several powerful messages on religion, sexism, racism, and beyond. Why do you think music has the power to penetrate people, their thinking, and how they can see the world differently? On the same note, how does art (visual) do the same?
RJ: Music is the most powerful thing on this planet that brings people together. I don’t think artists realize the gift they have. We stand on a stage, or we put a song on a record that reaches a diverse amount of people in mass capacity in a way that politicians have failed, religious groups, and anyone else for that matter. It is the only thing that can achieve any semblance of utopia and connect humanity in one accord. As for visual art, it is a direct link to history; whether through shifting the paradigm, documenting times, or powerfully impacting or creating pop culture, language, politics, religion, or social constructs. For example, art is single-handedly responsible for what we think Jesus looks like. So in a sense, it is as powerful as music. Also, in my opinion, the two things also have spiritual and prophetic manifestations, that have done things historically that were ahead of its time.
AS: Musically and artistically, there’s a clear intent in what you’re sharing. How do you approach your art now, and how has this evolved for you over the past several years?
RJ: As an artist, I want to be very intentional in my approach to what I share. That is the only way I think I’ll leave an impactful mark like the people who’ve influenced me. My dream is to leave an impactful legacy. My evolutionary journey as an artist is to daily perfect that intentional approach. So, whether my creative inspirations are purely emotional or spontaneous, my approach and output are intentional. In a way, it is also saying that I respect the artistry and also my audience, that I care about what I gift them.
AS: How do songs typically come to you? Has this shifted for you in any way in the past five or more years?
RJ: I can’t say it comes one way or the other. It ranges from coming through visual imagery in my head or my visual art to nostalgia from smell to extreme and traumatic experiences. This has been the same throughout my life.