Behind The Mix- Tone Jonez
Keith "Keef Keyz" Coston
Behind the Mix interiew- Tone Jonez
- How would you describe Tone Jonez to someone who never heard about you?
I’m just a guy who’s super passionate about music! I’m a producer, entrepreneur, husband, and father who wakes up everyday focused on giving my best in everything that I do.
- When did you decide to become a music producer and when did you start to take it seriously?
I actually started playing piano by ear at the tender age of three! God gave me the gift of music instantly one day. Ever since that first note, I’ve always take music seriously. Seeing my newfound talent and high interest level, my father (who was a church musician) spent a lot of time helping me get a basic foundation of music. After some time, I broke off and started doing my own thing. I was exclusively a church musician before I ever knew anything about producing. That’s how I gained a strong sense of musicianship. While everybody else was outside playing, I was inside listening to the latest gospel music over and over again until I figured out all the chords lol!
I started dabbling with producing around the mid 90s. I used to try and remake my favorite gospel records on a Yamaha PSR-520 keyboard that I had at the time. While that was fun, I really became interested in producing after hearing hip-hop for the first time at my cousin’s house. I’d been sheltered so I’d never heard anything but gospel music until around 1995. After hearing hip-hop several times, I started making beats combining hip-hop with my gospel musicianship. From that point I was hooked on producing.
I produced beats (and a very WACK first album that nobody will ever hear lol) primarily for my own pleasure until around 2007 when my friends and I started a music production company. We did beat battles and all kinds of things to get our name out there and hopefully land some type of situation. After getting signed to a label, and experiencing how shady the music industry is, we gave up the music industry dream. Inspired to do our own thing, we started a record label soon after but the venture wasn’t successful. As a result, we dissolved the company and quit music for a while.
I began taking music seriously again around the end of 2010 and began posting my music online. After inquiries poured in and sales began to rise, I went Full-Time in 2011. 5 years later, here we are!
- You have become known not just as producer but as a musician as well. How important is it for producers to understand musicianship?
I believe musicianship is the best way for a music producer to really be set apart these days due to the major lack of musicianship today. I also believe having musicianship is one of the only ways to ensure long-term success. The style of music may change, but the foundation of musicianship will always be relevant. Being a musician also opens you up to other revenue streams. Many times I’ve been able to share in the royalties and profits of the works of other producers because of the musicianship I was requested to add. I cannot stress enough how important and lucrative it is to have a foundation of musicianship.
- What was the point in your career that you knew that you were making a difference in the music industry?
I think my first sign was seeing how people reacted to my music. From a very young age, my talent always amazed people. It’s like the music touches then in ways beyond just hearing it. I knew my unique gift came from God and because of him that’s why people were reacting the way they did. When I came onto the music scene strongly in 2010, so many people began reaching out and my music caught on very quickly. Unfortunately, I also became aware of the impact I was making when I started being treated funny by other people in the same field. Dealing with that type of stuff always used to hurt my feelings. But, over time I’ve learned that it’s a part of the territory and you still have to show people love regardless of how they treat you.
My biggest sign of making a difference was when I started leasing my beats and accessing a much bigger market of people. I’ve had all kinds of people (famous and unknown) from all kinds of cities and countries reach out to me personally. It’s just an honor knowing that doing what I love is impacting people all around the world. It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly.
- Who was your favorite artist to produce for?
I can’t really say I have a favorite yet. I like everyone lol! As long as the business is done right and the chemistry is there, I’m a happy camper!
- What is the most valuable tip you could other producers trying to find success?
The biggest tip that I could ever give is to stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Comparison will poison your mind if you let it. The minute I stopped trying to be like everyone else is the minute I began to set myself apart. I started focusing on making myself better and only competing with myself. I strongly believe that same concept today and it has made me a much better producer and musician. It’s perfectly fine to be inspired by and motivated by the gifts of others. But when it gets to the point of comparison or envy, you start to stifle your own potential. The mind is a powerful thing.
I know you said one tip lol, but another tip I would give is to find YOUR success. Find your own lane and be proud of that lane regardless of what people have to say about it. I hear complaints all the time from producers about some of the things I do but the only thing I do is keep doing what I do. You can’t cash opinions at the bank so why give em any attention lol? Do you!
- What is to come from Tone Jonez in the near future?
You can expect lots of new music, some videos (just grabbed a new camera), and more inspiration/encouragement! I love to inspire and encourage others. Also, there are other things in the works, which I can’t reveal, but I can say that I’m working! J
- If someone wanted to find you where can they reach you?
Pretty much type Tone Jonez in google and you can find in a variety of places! For any questions or concerns, I can be reached at my business email firstname.lastname@example.org.