Friday, March 2, 2012

EXTRAordinary People | Charis Jones




Ladies and gentlemen!!! It is with pleasure that I introduce you to Ms. Charis Jones...a talented, amazing singer from Prince George's County, MD, a public health consultant, an awesome friend, and an all around extraordinary person.

W&I: What INSPIRED you?

Charis: My biggest inspiration to do what I do comes from two separate events. The first event was Hurricane Katrina. I was a sophomore at Xavier University of Louisiana, majoring in psychology while minoring in chemistry. I thought I was sitting on top of the world. However, I was informed that I had to leave everything behind in New Orleans for my safety. After I evacuated, I received the news that everything in New Orleans was destroyed, including all of my possessions. Following the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina, I transferred to Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. There I continued to study psychology, but later thought of making a difference in emergency preparedness, so that other victims of disasters would not suffer as much from psychological complications. So, I pursued a master's degree in Public Health and conducted research to better pinpoint improvement efforts for mind-wellness of those affected by the storm. I always tell people that Katrina shaped my life and changed my outlook on everything. One day, you have everything and in the blink of an eye, you may lose it all, but you will always have your memories and commitment to help others.

The second event pertains to my passion and need for singing. When I was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around  my neck, distorting my speech. I didn't speak for a very long while and only a few people could interpret what I was saying. I always loved to sing, dance and perform. As a youth, I participated in every choir and singing group possible. I gained my singing roots from gospel music, and had the pleasure of singing backgrounds for my godfather-Donald Vails, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams and the Clark Sisters. As I went to college, I mainly focused on my schoolwork, but while at Drexel, I participated in the Gospel Choir. While in the choir, I had the pleasure of traveling to Jamaica. Following undergrad, I attended a concert featuring Raheem Devaughn. He was the first and biggest r&b singer to have toured on Drexel's campus. At this event, I met two gentlemen who heard me sing and in turn invited me to their meetings. I brought my good girlfriends and sang "Taxi" by Tweet. However, I googled the words on my blackberry and they happened to be the wrong lyrics. Since I was embarrassed, I knew I had to return with a better-polished song, which was Jasmine Sullivan's "Need You Bad." From that point on, everything seemed to fall into place.

It was a great combination for me-singer and public health activist/philanthropist. That is my dream career.  I thought I had found the recipe to being a great artist. The biggest climax of my Philly singing experience was having my debut concert in New York City at the Iguana Club and being accompanied by Philly's finest musicians. There was only one problem. I was singing secular music and not gospel and spiritually I felt discombobulated. However, I took a year sabbatical and was pulled out of hiding through singing at a cousin's wedding. After the wedding, I started to receive many inquiries about my singing career and began singing in a little group called "God's Authority." I took a vow that until I completed my EP, I would not sing out in public. I can admit that I was not very successful in keeping that promise. Throughout my time of keeping out of the lime light, I frequented many concerts with friends, which created more open doors. However, I would assert that it was through my godmother's and great aunt's passing that I realized I must sing for The Lord and provide inspiration. I can recall my grandmother saying to me before I sang the Lord's Prayer at the funeral, "Charis don't worry about these folks out here, you just go on and sing. God gave you this voice and do what He has called you to do." This definitely resonates in my mind whenever I sing now. Furthermore, I now know part of my purpose and gift. I am now trying to pinpoint how to bring this journey of my life experiences to reality through my voice. Sooner than later, it will be revealed to not only myself, but also many others.

W&I: What keeps you WIRED?

Charis: My grandma keeps me motivated. She is 93 years old and has always been sweet, caring and determined. She has never looked down on me for anything and she always encourages me when I lack courage. Furthermore, I am motivated by seeing and hearing great musicians and singers in concert... I'm always anxious to do what they are doing or be on the stage with them singing my heart out and having fun. Sometimes, while I am watching or listening to them, I dream of doing great things to impact the lives of many. Like I just envision myself doing what they are doing and even more. Those that go against odds and live out their dreams always impress me. I want to be that person.

W&I: How do you hope to inspire others?

Charis: I hope to inspire people by the truthfulness of my life experiences and personality. I have gone through so much and want to share it with others. These things include being raised in a single household, balancing and redeveloping my relationship with my mom, not being the most liked or popular kid in elementary or middle school, the idiosyncrasies of becoming an adult or feeling like I've hit a brick wall at only 25. These are just some of my inner thoughts that I would speak on so others could relate and realize that we all go through tough times. I have been terminated from my job, experienced this economic crisis moment in history, and trying to survive. I would even speak to the rewarding and challenging aspects of being in a committed relationship. Through my music, I want to discuss the realities of life as a Christian. I would inspire by giving young women hope and encouragement that they can overcome all obstacles, that no matter what someone says about them, they are still someone of great value.

W&I: Words of wisdom?

Charis: Don't be afraid to have your own sound and mind. Try to never compare yourself to others and always strive for excellence. Ask for discerning guidance and follow it. Be a help to someone else. They don’t necessarily have to be a person in need, but be accessible and never too boastful. Never take for granted your life experiences because they will always teach you something. Be credible. Learn to network and have charisma. Don’t let money ever set you back when you don’t have it. Appreciate yourself and give self-love. Be reliable, honest, and a great listener and friend. Be yourself at whatever stage you are in your life. Don’t give up, and if one door closes try and create your own door to walk through.

W&I: Yesssssss!!!!! Create your own door!! You hear that people?! That's what I'm talking about. I'm writing that down. You go Charis lol.

W&I: We want to know more?!!

Charis: I am presently in and out of the studio in Philadelphia working on my debut EP album. I am also writing songs to inspire and voice my life experiences on this project. I also will be singing at a few music festivals…the logistics are still being worked out at this moment. In the meantime, you can most definitely listen to my favorite song I covered by Jessica Reedy called "God has Smiled on Me".    

Charis: Thank you for this honor. May there be peace across all seas on our earth.

W&I: No prob! It was my pleasure...and this, my friends, is why she has been the homie since the 5th grade lol. Just awesome. Be sure to check her out!


  1. Oh and I forgot to add that I'm proud of you Charis and I know you're going to do AMAZING things!! I will be first in line when that EP drops lol...and I know your Father is smiling down on you. I think I listened to your cover of "God has Smiled on Me" like 8 times..this morning lol

  2. This is so good and god is smiling down on us thank you for that

  3. Thank you Shannon for all of your love and support! I sincerely appreciate you, your efforts, talents and friendship!
    To Anonymous: I am glad that you received some inspiration. Thanks again!

    1. But of coooooourse!! You know I luuuuhhhhhh you lol

  4. Such wisdom and talent in one so young. God' richest blessings on you.