For those who were not introduced to the 24-year-old talent through her Disney career, which began in 2010, watching Coco Jones shine on Bel-Air may come as a shock. For fans who’ve followed her journey, though, it is no surprise that Coco Jones is thriving. As she enters a new era of her career, Jones is leaving no gift unwrapped. Beyond acting, Coco Jones is ready to restart her music career, and in this new stage of life, she’s ready for more.
“I would say authentic. I would say lively and I would say encouraging,” Jones says as she describes her music to VIBE while leaving one press event for another.
Coco Jones released her latest single, “Caliber,” in March, and the flirty track is only the beginning. As teased to VIBE a few weeks before her single premiered, the singer hopes to drop a full EP this summer. Sticking to what she does best, Jones is ready to release honest, mature music that is true to her own voice and experiences.
We spoke with the young vocalist the day the song dropped about her musical ambitions, the inspiration behind the song, her future plans, and more.
This interview had been edited for length and clarity.
VIBE: Do you think that you’re entering what could be considered the prime of your career?
Coco Jones: That is… I’m literally reminding myself in my mind to write this down, to journal this question because that is so deep. In one sense, I don’t feel like I’ll know that that was my prime until I look back like, “That was my prime.” But in my mind I feel like I have so much more to give, so much more to do. I see myself in blockbusters. I see myself being the first “something” role in my mind. I see myself doing a world tour.
I’m going to have to say no, I don’t think this is my prime. I think this is my renaissance moment. I think this is me pressing the gas. The car is about to go super fast but for some reason, the gas was locked. But now it’s finally pressed down. That’s how I feel.
What were some of your creative processes or inspirations for “Caliber” and how was the entire recording process for you?
When I heard the beat… I’m always trying to stay on this line of classy and sexy, but I want to grow up. I don’t want to blindside people with me being grown. I’m trying to find that balance of what feels comfortable and authentic for me to talk about. And so when I heard the beat, it definitely made me want to talk my stuff, but in a way that was still enticing.
I was like, “I want to tell this dude what’s up but I don’t want him to think I’m talking down to him or anything. I want to encourage him. I want to be the motivation.” That’s kind of what the vibe was. And I was talking to the other writers, I was like there are just levels to it… These dudes just don’t be on my level. We were looking up “level” and just the synonyms and then caliber came up and we were like, we got one.
It started pouring out, everything, the scenery, all of it because the first verse is basically setting up the story, and I love a song that tells a story. I think it was really when we found that term that exactly meant what I was looking for because “levels”… Even that is a little too intimidating. “There are levels to it.” I didn’t want it to give that vibe, but I wanted to be like, “I see something in you. I’m just going to need you to reach your full potential in order to gain my attention. So, good luck to you.”
Do you feel pressured to present yourself in any certain way? Is there any of that in your mind when you create?
Sometimes I do get apprehensive thinking that I’m not raunchy enough to keep up with what sells, but I always remind myself that talent started off selling at first and talent will continue to be what sells. If I have to give a gimmick, then the song is not good enough for me. If I have to put all these words in it to catch people’s attention, then my lyrics just aren’t hitting. For me, it’s more of a challenge to continue to captivate people without having to do anything for show.
Do you think that “Caliber” sets the appropriate tone for everything else that you have coming? What other themes or topics are going to be explored by you musically?
I think “Caliber” has a lot of the key ingredients that are going to make up my album. The vibe makes you want to dance and there will be some full choreography, some five, six, sevens, and some eights, okay! Towards the end of the song, I’m doing some more vocal acrobatics because I want people to know that I be singing! I can sing. And my album will, of course, give some even bigger singing moments as well. But really that balance to me of classy, sexy, grown, and authentic. I do feel like “Caliber” has all of those elements and that will be the theme of my album whenever it comes.
Who are some of the people who have inspired you musically?
Well, growing up I listened to a lot of powerhouse singers, Aretha [Franklin], CeCe Winans, Mariah [Carey], Jennifer Hudson, Whitney [Houston]. Of course, I learned those bigger notes and that passion from them. As I got older, PartyNextDoor, SZA, Summer Walker. I love Alex Isley. Masego is dope… I like the way their songs feel. I want to make my songs feel the way that I feel when I listen to them.
On that note, how do you want people to feel when they listen to “Caliber?”
I hope that they love the lyrics. I hope that they get some IG captions up out of it. And I hope they want to hit a five, six, seven, and eight, because, in the music video, it’s going to give that. And I’m going to need all the girls to make a little TikTok with a dance routine and also remember the choreo. When the concert comes, we can all hit it together. Let’s all sweat our laces out.