Photo By Simon Fowler
Photo BY Simon Fowler

Even those that don't necessary follow Electronica or Synth-Pop must have heard, at some point, one of the many hits collected throughout a career-span of 40 years by worldwide acclaimed Synth Pioneer, composer and singer/songwriter Howard Jones on the radio, somewhere in the world.

To make a brief sum of the hugely successful career of the English superstar would be next to impossible. Just for the benefit of those very few, unaware of the glorious rise to the stardom of contemporary music of the British artist since early 80's, it is perhaps a good starting point to say that Jones' first burst upon the contemporary music scene happened in 1983, where he and Thomas Dolby were already well known and respected all around the globe as Maestros in the use and development of the synthesizers, applied in contemporary music, back then. His first two albums, Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action became worldwide hits, reaching the number 1 spot in the music charts of half the world through an impressive sequence of successful singles, like New Song, What Is Love?, Things Can Only Get Better, Life In One Day, No One Is To Blame, and Like To Get To Know You Well, just to mention a few.

Through the following decades, Howard Jones continues to make new music, experimenting and researching new and exciting musical alleyways, while touring the world. To these days, Jones has sold over 8 million albums worldwide and continue to be loved and followed by millions of fans that keep following the British artist not only on Tour but also by purchasing his many studio albums.

With a new studio record due to be released later this year, called Dialogue plus a new live project, where the Howard Jones Acoustic Trio will embark on a 13-date UK Tour starting at The Forum in Bath on October 14, 2022, Bluebird Reviews is honored to talk to the English artist and to find out more details about those exciting forthcoming projects taking place very soon.

The new studio album due to be released by Jones, it is the third of a quadrilogy that the Synth Master started in 2014, through the release of a rather spectacular and interesting record called Engage, followed in 2019 by the second instalment of the project, another exquisite record called Transform. With the new sonic chapter of this fascinating project soon to be revealed, we ask Jones how happy is about Dialogue and how much does the album mirrors the moment of his life and career he is living right now. "I am very pleased with the outcome of Dialogue. It was musically conceived during the Lockdown period. As you can imagine, I had plenty of time in studio to experiment and I couldn't involve anyone else in the album like I had done with Transform, my previous studio album. So it was just myself, in the studio, having plenty of time to play and experiment, something that was one of the very few benefits of the pandemic we all went through. I didn't write lyrics, during that time, as I said also in other interviews, because I found very difficult to write lyrics because of the mood of the country, the whole world and everyone being affected by it. I wanted to wait for things to improve a bit and I left the lyrics to be written purposely close to the finish line of the project. I thought that was important to put out the most upbeat message possible, through my new record, because people have been knocked down considerably, by this pandemic and probably they have lost confidence about meeting people again, whilst going back to their normal lives. With the themes of Dialogue, which are the importance to talk to each other, to listen to each other and to realize how much we have in common and not focusing on the differences, I just wanted to emphasize that everyone of us is different and everyone has got different views, but one factor we all have in common, it is humanity. These were the themes I felt very strong to talk about on Dialogue and I am very pleased about the way the record turned out to be".

As Jones rightly highlighted in his answer above, the pandemic period, together with the tragic consequences that carried around the globe, also knocked heavily the trust and belief in people to other human beings. With this in mind, our website is curious to find out with Jones how challenging has it been for the artist to find the right lyrics to match the music that he had composed during the pandemic, for Dialogue. "It was really challenging, because the music I had already done for what then became Dialogue, it had a lot of tunes within, lots of synth tunes and I was wondering "How am I going to fit lyrics, over this?". So, as I mentioned before, I did a lot of experiments and tried to sing in different ways. At one point, I've got Covid myself and I almost lost my voice but I had still to get the lyrics done. So I started singing quietly and experimenting with different aspects of my voice and I found quite interesting what came out, in the end. Over the eight tracks part of the album, my voice sounds quite different, on different tracks and that was due to the fact that I got the chance to lose my voice because of Covid (laughs)! I am fine, now and thankfully, but it was indeed challenging. You know, sometimes, when there's a challenge, it brings out the best in you, allowing you to come up with something a bit more different, a bit more innovated. I enjoyed that aspect".

 dialogue album cover


As previously stated, Dialogue is the third chapter of a musical quadrilogy that will see its completion, if all goes according to Jones' plans, in 2023, with the release of the final part of the project, called Global Citizen. We ask Jones whether the idea of creating the quadrilogy came while working on the making of a very inspired, multi-faceted album like Engage or whether this was, perhaps, something that Jones had planned for a very long time. "I set myself a determination to do four electronic albums in the next decade. I had already in my mind the name of each album, because I knew that I wanted to have a theme running through each of the albums. Engage was about not being a bystander, in this world, but rather somebody that is involved with the society we are living in. If you think that there is something wrong in the world, it is your duty as an individual to speak up, you know, like being an activist and help to change things. Transform, the second chapter of the quadrilogy, it was about, well, if you want to change the world, then we need to have an inner transformation first; we have to look at ourselves and go "How can I improve myself, so, when I speak, I have enough credibility to do so". Dialogue, my new album, as I mentioned before, it is all about communication and interacting with one another, even when we have extremely different views . Because if we share at least that common ground of humanity, well, we will not be killing each other. On a personal level, if we make those changes, we will create a great ripple effect in the best way possible. We are facing a world becoming increasingly more chaotic as the days go by, between all those wars happening around the world, climate changes, all these massive problems. Let's all try and have a dialogue, starting with ourselves; if we feel that we have been carrying some personal baggage inside of us that need resolving, then let's do that, because it will help all of us enormously to better communicate with every human being in this world. Silence, that is the worst thing, in my opinion, because when there is silence between people, we keep pushing each other apart. For what concerns Global Citizen, that record will be about our connectivity to everything, because every thing we do, has an effect. Therefore, if we choose carefully how we live our lives, that will have a certain impact in a bigger, wider picture. To make changes, we have to stop blaming governments and ask them to solely resolve global issues. Big social movements start with us ordinary people, deciding "We want to change things" and that is what I shall try to say in Global Citizen. I had these themes, about this quadrilogy, way back and that really helped me to be focused to complete this album, so to enable myself to talk about those themes so close to my heart".


The Howard Jones Acoustic Trio tour that this extraordinary artist is due to embark in October 2022, will feature Howard Jones, of course, on electric piano, guitarist Robin Boult (Roger Daltrey, Dave Stewart, Fish) and Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo, Belinda Carlisle, John Paul Jones) on chapman stick. The purpose of Jones, on this Tour, it is to perform his greatest hits and some deep cuts out of his vast discography in a more stripped-down fashion. Bluebird Reviews is curious to know whether the Tour will also include snippets also of Jones' new album Dialogue, as a way to transport his fans from the early days of the artist's career in the music industry to where he is now, at this stage of Jones' glorious journey into music. "Indeed we will. We have just finished a big American Tour of 28 dates, which was essentially an Electronic-based type of show each night. We were able to play cuts from the new album Dialogue in their full glory and in the back of my mind, knowing that I was going to embark an Acoustic type of Tour, from October 2022, I thought of choosing a specific track off Dialogue, called Formed By The Stars, which I believe will suit perfectly the Acoustic show and be very fitting with the concept of the Acoustic Tour. There will be also, most certainly, a couple of tracks off the Transform album, as part of the show. Of course, you got to play the songs that all know and love, during the show but it is also very important for me to show to the fans the way I move forward, with my music, by constantly embracing changes and discover new sonic highways, so to allow myself to grow as an artist every day".

hj by tina hagerling

                                                                           Photo By Tina Hagerling

Howard Jones has been touring for a few years, now, with Nick Beggs and Robin Boult and we are intrigued to find out what is the main factor that the singer/songwriter enjoys the most in playing on stage with them, time and time again. "They are both really great friends of mine. We spend so much time together, we've been through all kind of difficulties in our lives, together, while on Tour. You know, when you live together on Tour for a fair amount of time, there's a real bond that gets formed, dealing with all kind of obstacles happening, while we are touring. On top of that, we have all some personal things happening in the background of our lives and it just happens, time and time again, that we all talk together about those things. We are like brothers; I feel that is the best way I'd describe them. When we come on stage, people sense the bond that we have between the three of us. There is this great freedom and understanding that we have to improvise or change things up, during the shows, every night, going through some slightly different musical tangents and still remaining perfectly in sync with one another. I know that there are some risks involved, when I try to go off the beaten path, when we are on stage but they both are so in tune with me, that it is such a joy to work with them. They are such great company On The Road and in the evening, when we play, there is this almost magical, unspoken communication happening between all of us on stage. I know that it may come across like I am exaggerating. But I am not, that is hundred percent true. I can't honestly wait to start this Acoustic Trio Tour with Robin and Nick".

During his outstanding career, Jones has often surprised the crowds coming to watch him playing live by introducing different arrangements of Jones' songs on stage, through the decades. An example may be most certainly the Tour in 2009 when the artist toured with a string section. The question that comes obvious to ask Jones, it is whether the fans may expect any custom-made arrangement for some of the songs that will be played during the Trio Acoustic Tour. "Well, we do songs like Hide And Seek, for example, in a version of it that we did a couple of decades ago, on a live album called Perform.00. It's almost like a Latin-American kind of rhythm that really transforms the original version, although remaining still very recognizable. It has got a very different groove to its original. I remember that version being very popular, on that album and I hope the people will really enjoy it as much as we do. Obviously, all the songs take on a different vibe, when they are done acoustically. We have spent a lot of time arranging them and there is no percussion whatsoever involved in the live show. Each of the instruments will sometimes take on the role of the drummer, if you know what I mean, while the other two will be playing around that. We experimented a lot on new arrangements for the songs part of the live show. They will sound like something different but very familiar at the same time and it has been really fun doing it. So much so that I now include a section of the Acoustic Trio even when we do our electric shows, where we suddenly break off the more electric dynamic of the show and become suddenly said Trio, doing some songs in that same style that we will be doing in October. Through the years, we noticed that this idea was very well received by the fans, during the electric shows, therefore we like to introduce it again, from time to time".

hj s. fowler2

                                                                          Photo By Simon Fowler

For almost every music artist, the idea of having your own record label, it is something that allow artists to challenge themselves whenever they feel and to be able to achieve total freedom of artistic expression. Howard Jones is among those few artists able to be in this very enviable position and we are wondering how much this aspect has fuelled the artist's creativity, especially in his most recent projects. "That is very true, I have that privilege of freedom. Whilst I was working on Dialogue, I was also mixing an album that we recorded of me with the Acoustic Trio, in London and that is ready to go, now, under form of vinyl (Jones has already released the version in CD of that live album, available on the artist's own website). We have got the vinyl of that show ready and we will be able to offer it to the people, when they will come to the shows. For quite some time, I was asked by the fans questions like "Oh, where can I hear what I heard tonight, at your show?" So, finally, through this freedom you mentioned about myself and my music, I shall be able to make that available to them. Also, I have been working on an album of piano solo compositions, lately. In the past, I have done piano improvisations for friends and people I love as a gift and gathered them under form of an album, but this time, I have actually composed the pieces myself. It's something I had the opportunity to work on during the pandemic and I am very pleased, about the outcome of that record. I did it all on computer; well, I played it properly first, then edited it, if you get the gist. I have just got this new piano; it's a Steinway one and I am able to play what I edited on to the computer through the real piano and that gives a whole new life to the overall sound. I am going to include a recording of that version as well, into the piano album. I do not know how many people will be interested in piano solo works but I just wanted to add that, for that specific record, I am also providing, together with the album, the actual music manuscript of the pieces as well. For those who can read and plays piano, they can, in this way, play the pieces themselves at home as well. I am truly excited about this project, I really am".

Before parting company with a true musical explorer, as Howard Jones most certainly is, we mention that this year marks 40 years of his remarkable career in the music business. The singer/songwriter must surely have a secret that drives his creativity and inspires Jones to push and challenge himself towards new and exciting musical horizons, as the years go by. "I think that the reason I set out to do this in the first place, it is because I love music and it is something I feel I am good at, although some people may dispute that (laughs). To me, music and my ability to make it, is what uniquely I have got to offer to the world out there. Everyone has got some skills or talents unique to them and for me, to find mine as I did and not doing anything with it, it would have felt like a bit of crime, really. For me, it's just really important to give what I have got and share it with people. I have been successful enough to be able to fund my own work and to be independent but the motivation is not to be rich and famous; it is rather about the will of wanting to share what I can do with my skills or talent and hopefully, to make people feel happy, hearing my music or to make them think or reflect, about one or few of my songs' lyrics. That kind of motivation keeps you going for a lifetime and that is the reason why I always drive to be the best version of myself every time, by improving my singing, playing, composing, the lot. That is genuinely what drove me for 40 years-plus and still does. There is no signs that this motivation will be stopping at all, at the moment. I am still fired up as ever! (Smiles)".







howard jones tour




Bath, The Forum
Friday 14 October 2022

Basingstoke, The Anvil
Saturday 15 October 2022

Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
Sunday 16 October 2022

Cheltenham Town Hall
Wednesday 19 October 2022

Birmingham Town Hall
Thursday 20 October 2022

St Alban’s Arena
Friday 21 October 2022

Colchester Charter Hall
Saturday 22 October 2022

Peterborough, The Cresset
Sunday 23 October 2022

Buxton Opera House
Tuesday 25 October 2022

Newcastle Tyne Theatre
Wednesday 26 October 2022

Harrogate Royal Hall
Friday 28 October 2022

Edinburgh, The Queens Hall
Saturday 29 October 2022

New Brighton, Floral Pavilion Theatre
Sunday 30 October 2022