Jill Jones was born in a small town in Ohio to an African-American mother and an Italian father. At the age of 17, she left home to pursue her dream of becoming a professional songwriter/singer.
Her first job was as a backing singer for her idol, Teena Marie, who was managed by her mother. Marie was the opening act for Prince on the 1980 Dirty Mind tour, which is where Jones and Prince met for the first time. Prince was very impressed and kept in contact with Jones. It was in 1982 when Jones was invited by Prince to Sunset Sound sessions, where she sang on several 1999 tracks, notably "Lady Cab Driver." In 1983, she moved to Minneapolis at Prince's recommendation, where she began work on a solo album.
Jill Jones' self-titled album was released on Prince's Paisley Park Records on May 26, 1987, almost four years after work had commenced on the project. Prince was listed as co-writer with Jones on four tracks ("Mia Bocca," "G-Spot," "All Day, All Night," and "For Love"); however, Prince's involvement in Jones' record was much more substantial than the public was led to believe. As was the case in many previous projects, he was in fact the sole writer of all the tracks on the album.
The album was warmly received in Europe; however, despite its obvious commercial potential, Jones' album failed to enter Billboard's pop and black Top 100 charts and none of the three singles, "Mia Bocca," "G-Spot," and "For Love," charted in the U.S. Jones went to England in the autumn of 1988 to work on songs intended for a second Paisley Park album, which was never completed. An important reason cited was that Jones and Prince were no longer on the same wavelength. They are rumored not to have spoken since.
In the early '90s, Jones collaborated with Japanese avant-garde musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, Indigo Girls, and the Listening Pool, among others. However, she had been quiet throughout the latter 1990s until it was announced that an acoustic LP was to be recorded with Chris Bruce. The full-length album was released in 2001 and was titled Two. Jones has a wonderfully distinctive and emotive voice, and it is regrettable that her vocal cords have not graced many more musical recordings. She returned in 2009 when her single "Living for the Weekend" hit the Billboard charts. ~ Paul Clifford, Rovi