Donell Jones boasts six albums and two top five hits that are radio perennials: "U Know What's Up" (No. 1 in 1999) and "Where I Wanna Be." Despite those enviable accomplishments during a 15-year career-and counting-the R&B crooner has remained fairly unknown. But Jones isn't lamenting his status.
"It doesn't bother me that some people may not know who I am," says the 30-something father of five, whose last album, "Journey of a Gemini," came out in 2006. "I love what I do, and I'll continue to do it. People will still be able to go back and discover material they've never heard before. Then they'll get it."
With the Sept. 28 release of his sixth studio set-the-matters-of-the-heart-driven "Lyrics"-it looks like people are getting it. Issued on the singer's own Candyman Music through eOne Music, the album bows at No. 9 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 this week. Lead single "Love Like This" has so far reached No. 8 on the Adult R&B airplay chart.
Changes in his career plan kept Jones away for four years. Besides launching his own label, Jones also signed with a new manager, Ruben Rodriguez of RAM Talent Group. "I wanted to make sure that when I came back with another album, my situation was correct and my music was on point," Jones says.
While he was out of the limelight, Jones continued creating heartfelt love songs that would make up the 13 tracks on "Lyrics." These include "You Can Burn," featuring the singer's own artist, Breeze; "The Finer Things in Life"; and "All About the Sex."
Presently on a stateside promotional tour, Jones hopes fans old and new will continue to embrace his music. One admirer of Jones' brand of smooth R&B is Trey Songz. The singer recently told Billboard that he likens his latest chart-topping set, "Passion, Pain & Pleasure," to Jones' previous work. Told of the compliment, Jones replies, "Wow, I appreciate that."