Bishop Fred A. Jones said he always knew he wanted his children to be singers.
“They had the aptitude to sing, so all I had to do is work with them and teach them,” Jones said.
And he did. Jones taught his seven children how to sing, and now all but one daughter sings in a group called the Jones Family Singers, led by the father. Together they’ve been performing for more than 30 years, Jones said.
The gospel band from Bay City, Texas, is made up of five daughters, the mother, two sons, the father and a family friend. They will perform at the GPAC Feb. 18 at 4 p.m..
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Jones said he wanted to keep his group a family because throughout the years in the music industry he saw groups break up and constantly change. He knew his family would stay close.
“It was something I’ve always loved to do,” Jones said. “And I knew once they got it in the blood, they would love it too.”
Jones said that, while his kids were growing up, they nicknamed him “Joe Jackson” after Michael Jackson’s father, who started a group, called The Jackson 5, which was made up of his children.
“I’m the Joe Jackson of the gospel field,” he said.
Jones said he was strict but made sure his children had time to still explore their own interests.
The Jones Family Singers are well known among gospel music fans. In 2015, they toured 41 states and nine countries. That year they performed for Bishop T.D. Jakes at Megafest 2015. Netflix will air a documentary on the singers.
Jones describes their style as remaining true to their cause.
“We grow where we’re planted,” he said. “You’re going to hear a little traditional, a little R&B, gospel, jazz, a little old gospel.”
But think of Sunday’s concert as more therapeutic-like. According to their website, the Rolling Stones and NPR called them a “must see act” in 2014. Jones said that, after their concerts, people often email them and let them know their concert helped them.
“Fame is for rock stars but family is for the people of God,” Jones said. “We want to let people know we’re real people, so come up and talk to us. We want people to know a family that does pray together stays together. Some people haven’t spoken to family in years but it changes when they meet us. People will call and email us and say ‘I went to visit my family.’”
“I hope people get that there is yet good news for the world,” Jones added. “There is still value on family. Not all is lost.”
Want to go?
To get tickets for the Jones Family Singers Feb. 21 at 4 p.m., visit GPAC’s website, garnerperformingartscenter.com or call 919-661-4602.