Each year as the weather gets warmer, listeners start to crave a different sound — a little lighter, and probably something you can dance to. Kent Jones’ “Don’t Mind,” which rifles through languages and lovers, fits the bill, and the single climbed to No. 10 on the recent Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. Jones spoke with Billboard about signing with DJ Khaled and the importance of appealing to multiple demographics in a single song.
Your debut hit, “Don’t Mind,” interpolates Barry White‘s “Practice What You Preach.” What prompted you to do that?
I’ve always been inspired by Motown and soul. I’m a huge Barry White fan, so I had to pay homage. I wasn’t like, “This is the one!” — I freestyled the whole thing. It’s probably my 400th record. I’ve got a lot of music.
How did “Don’t Mind” come together?
That song was done in a matter of 12 hours. I made the beat; the hook was in my head; the day I recorded the whole thing — I didn’t even write it. I’m always inspired by early Motown, early soul — I’m a huge Barry White fan, so I had to pay homage. I just like everything and everybody, and I like being able to introduce myself. Even if that’s the only way I know how to speak that language, I love to know how to speak to people no matter where they’re from. That’s the basis of the song: to tap a nerve in each demographic culture.
“Don’t Mind” features French, Spanish, Japanese and Haitan Creole phrases. Do you speak any of them fluently?
Not necessarily. I knew the words I used. I’m not gonna tell you I know every language. I like everything and everybody. Even if I can only say one thing in their language, I love knowing how to speak to people no matter where they’re from. That’s the basis of the song: to tap a nerve in each demographic. I recently realized I don’t mention everyone’s country in the song, but they all still love it!
So you didn’t have to lean on Google translate?
No no no no no no no.
Based on the track, it sounds like you have a girlfriend in every town.
Nah — they all love me, but I have one lady. In the Bahamas especially, it’s like I’m a rock star — I can’t leave the airport without making a scene.
How’s being signed to DJ Khaled’s label?
It’s just been a matter of working both collectively and individually. He’s like a Beatle. You can’t tell me his team isn’t working!
What’s next for you?
I’ve got a new single coming, and let me be the first to tell you: it’s nothing to be mistaken, it’s nothing to be played with. This next one is scary.
A version of this article originally appeared in the June 4 issue of Billboard.