Daron Jones isnt the sole voice of 112, but he is the man behind some of their most romantic love songs. Only You, Love Me, Hot & Wet and My Mistakes among many others, were penned and produced by Jones with heartfelt, sensual lyrics and melodies.
He co-wrote and produced I Should Have Cheated by Keyshia Cole, and Daron is definitely using his knack for blending the bold and the bedroom making hits for artists like Faith Evans, Jamie Foxx, The Notorious B.I.G., Musiq, Pink and Usher. However, with all this solo work, fans want to know: what is the future of 112?
With his pulse on urban music, Jones is splicing a triple-threat career. While in an Atlanta studio, Jones explains how pleasurable it is when business is booming.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: What are you doing in the studio?
Daron Jones: Right now Im actually finishing up some songs for my solo album. I had a lot of songs that I just did verses and hooks to, and I never really finished the whole song. But now Im like, You know what, I need to finish these songs.
AHHA: So, tell me about the solo album.
Daron: Ive been working on it for a minute, like a couple of months. I got a lot of records, its kinda different from what people would probably expect from me considering that Im in 112 and a lot of our songs are love songs. When we first formed the group and when we first met Puff and all that, people were comparing us to Boyz II Men and Jodeci. There is the side of 112 that is sultry and smooth and beautiful like Boyz II Men. Those records are Q and Slim, and the more rugged side of 112 is me and Mike. So my album is really inclined in that direction.
AHHA: Whats going on with 112?
Daron: Well, were still working on a 112 album as well. I know now that Slim is doing a solo album, too. And I think all the rest of the guys want to do one as well, but Im really not sure, because I havent really heard any records from them. But weve all sat down and talked about it, and theyve stated on several occasions that they all want to do [a solo album], but I definitely know Slim is working on one.
AHHA: How do you stay together as a group and stay focused as 112, and do solo projects and [progress as] a songwriter?
Daron: We were friends before all this started so its nothing really new. Were not stepping on each others toes. The group and the blend of the group is one thing, but everybody knows that individually we represent a lot of different things. We just kind of feel like its time to branch out and let people know the things that we individually represent.
AHHA: You had a pretty public split with Bad Boy, when that went down. What is your opinion; do you think that label is better at marketing R&B acts or Hip-Hop acts?
Daron: I think Bad Boy is pretty good with both. You know they had successful acts on the Hip-Hop side like B.I.G. and Mase, and R&B acts like Faith [Evans] and 112.
AHHA: What do you like doing better - singing, writing or producing music?
Daron: I dont know. Man, thats a tough question. I like writing and producing, but I like performing too, because I like giving it to the people, you know what Im saying? I think I like performing better than anything, whether its in front of the camera for the video or when its on stage. I really like reaching the people with the music, and I think thats the closest that theyll be able to get to you, or youll be able to get to them, when youre actually perform it for them on stage.
AHHA: Youve been really successful behind the scenes. How do you keep performing a priority?
Daron: Its really a matter of scheduling like with my management and with the groups management and with my assistant. We kind of go back and forth with the calendar, and everything is really a priority to me so I just kind of find a way to juggle it all. I dont really put 112 above producing for outside acts. I dont put that above 112, or my solo album, or anything that Im doing. Once I find the couple of things I want to juggle, I just gotta figure out a way to do it with my schedule.
AHHA: Where do you get the inspiration to create a song like I Should Have Cheated?
Daron: It actually came from a female friend of mine that I was talking to, and she was going through some things with her dude. She was talking to me and she just happened to say, I finally broke up with this ni**a, and its like he accused me so much, I shouldve cheated on him. I was like, Dang, thats an interesting concept.
Men have a tendency of being jealous and overprotective or whatever you want to call it possessive, I guess thats the word. A lot of women deal with that with men, especially when they have a job where they have to travel and do different things that cause them to be out of town. I was hearing that from a lot of women.
AHHA: Have you ever written a song for somebody that you wish you hadnt sold?
Daron: Thats a good a** question - but, no, I never did that before.
AHHA: Whats your favorite song that you wrote?
Daron: Right now, my favorite song is Im A Player. I feel like for a male group, especially like 112, a lot of ladies are attracted to us and feel like were sexy. So, the perfect, or the expected thing to do, was to say, All right, let me write a song just for the ladies. Let me just say what they want to hear. But I feel like that song was one of the most honest records that Ive ever written, because it was just keeping it real. I was like, You know what? In this situation, I got feelings for you but I aint trying to be in a relationship with you cause I aint ready yet. I feel like that type of honesty is the ultimate respect that a man can show a woman. I feel like it was just a real record, and it came from a real place, and an honest place.
AHHA: Has there been a song that came out that you listened to and [wished it would have been you who wrote it]?
Daron: The last time that I heard a song that I felt like, That sounds like something I could have written and I wish I had of thought of that, is when Ginuwine came out with In Those Jeans. I really thought that was crazy - I thought that was just sexy. I was like, Man, if we had that song, wed be outta here. When that In Those Jeans joint came out I was mad.
AHHA: Yeah, I can picture 112 singing that song.
Daron: Me and Q because me and Q do a lot of writing together and actually co-wrote on I Should Have Cheated he was the person I had the conversation with. He brought it to my attention, and I was like, Yeah you right dog. [laughs]
AHHA: Tell me about the song you [produced for] Jamie Foxx. How is he in the studio?
Daron: I didnt really get a chance to work with him in the studio. RL [from Next] wrote the song, he took the track, sent it back to me, He was like, Yo, Im gonna send this in to Jamie. Hes in Miami right now, Im gonna go hook up with him and let him check it out. I was just like bouncing all over the globe at the time. So, RL went into the studio with him, recorded the song and then it was a done deal. I got the call later like, your song Storm is going to be on Jamie Foxxs album Unpredictable. So, that was just one of those situations where I didnt really get a chance to go in with the artist.
AHHA: Is there anybody youre working with this year or coming up that people want to know about?
Daron: Actually, Im going in with Mya, and Sharifa - shes an artist on DTP. And Im definitely going back in with Keyshia Cole for her second album. Im gonna definitely submit songs everywhere. I want to work with Fantasia. I think shes a very talented artist. Im going to be putting some stuff together and submitting to her people.
AHHA: Do you write for specific artists, or do you just write and send it to people and see what happens?
Daron: Well, most of the time when Im writing I try to be specific. Because I feel like, a song or a record has to fit you just like an outfit. If Im chillin with Keyshia Cole, knowing her personality - shes got all these tattoos, shes kind of hood, and shes got a swagger on her - I know lyrically she can get away with certain things that other artists might not be able to say. So I kind of try to write a song based on that person, and what they can actually relate to.
AHHA: When did you first know that you were a talented songwriter?
Daron: You know, when I first hooked up with the group, my whole role was like a musical role in terms of arranging and just putting things together musically. I played the piano in a lot of our shows, and a lot of auditions that we did, giving everybody their notes, putting the harmony together. I would go home and write a song and bring it to the group. Somebody would add their little spice to it to make it a complete record. So, really the main ingredient that I offered to the equation was song writing and production and just arranging, even really before singing.
I became a better singer over time from being around the rest of the guys in the group cause I was the one that really couldnt sing that good. Which is like, He cant sing, he knows harmony and stuff, hes a song writer, and he can play the piano, so hes good. I was hanging on to that, but being around them, vocally, it made me better cause them cats - all of them was blowin, like coming out the womb blowin. I got a chance to learn a lot from them vocally and grow vocally from being around them.
AHHA: Valentines Day is this week and youve written a lot of romantic music. What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for a woman?
Daron: I wrote a song for my girlfriend before. The song came out hot. It came out so hot that, I really feel like it can be on an album and be a single and I can make money with it. But I didnt do it. I just left it on that CD and I told her that its only for her, and I just gave it to her. I thought it was kind of romantic that I wrote a song that nobody else on earth is ever gonna hear.