Domingo, 18/8/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

GLHS alumni Jillana Jones finds musical voice through storytelling, awaits American Idol results

1 vote

Gull Lake alumni Jillana Jones has found her niche, and it came from her background in music,  storytelling and journalism.

Jones was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to Jones’ mother, Jacki Allen, the family moved every three years or so and landed in Gull Lake her sophomore year where they stayed until her graduation. Throughout her moves, Jones’ love for storytelling and music remained consistent.

The Jones children (top to bottom, left to right) Mitchell, Jannelle, Julianne, Michael Jr, and Jillana with their family dog, Sam. Photo courtesy of Jacki Allen

Allen said her daughter’s love for singing was influenced by her parents, who sang in church and around the house. Later, the whole family joined in.

“[Jillana’s older sister] Jannelle and Jillana, are a year–almost two years apart apart, [and] when they were babies in the back car seat. One day they both started crying and I noticed that when they cry, they cried in harmony,” Allen said. “And then when the third sister was born, Julie, she was a little lower [voiced] than the two of them.”

Allen said with the pitches of the girls voices, they were destined to be a trio.

“She and her sisters, and then the brothers when they came along, they had their little band,” Allen said. “They always pretended to be their own little singing group.”

According to Allen, Jones’ love for singing continued as she began elementary school and was complemented by her interest in storytelling.

“She was really interested in telling stories,” Allen said. “She started writing stories when she was in maybe second grade.”

Jillana Jones sings her first solo in her elementary school choir. Photo courtesy of Jacki Allen

According to Allen, Jillana was offered her first solo while she was in elementary school choir.

“She was not shy, but not someone who always wanted to be out in front of everybody,” Allen said. “They asked to do a solo, and she said sure. That surprised me a little bit.”

Jones continued choir throughout middle school by participating in a women’s chorus with her sisters.

However, once she moved to Gull Lake, Jones said she no longer sang for the school’s choir and decided to take up reporting and cheerleading instead.

“The progression for her to move into newspaper and being able to tell stories was probably very natural for her,” Allen said.

Allen said that her daughter’s time on the GLHS Reflection staff heavily influenced her decision to major in print journalism.

“I definitely appreciated my experience at Gull Lake and the Reflection,” Jones said. “It all kind of shaped and molded and kind of helped get to where I am, so nothing is wasted.”

Jones taught herself to play guitar. Photo courtesy of Jacki Allen

Jones joined a campus ministry during her junior year at Georgia State University, where she started leading worship.

“At that point, I saw singing and music in a different way,” Jones said. “I saw the potential that it could have as a career.”

Following her college graduation, Jones did a few journalism internships and moved back to Michigan.

“Mostly I’ve just been writing for myself. I had a blog for years,” Jones said. “I’ve kind of just transferred my writing skills to songwriting.”

In 2013 and 2014, Jones lived in Kalamazoo and sang for Gracespring Bible Church. She spent time looking for an internship to learn more about music. She applied for an internship with Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and was accepted in fall of 2014.

“I interned with them that year, and I worked with them for sixth month contract in 2015,” Jones said. “I stayed on the worship team for three years.”

During her time with Elevation, Jones said she wrote and recorded songs for their albums.

“They did an Elevation Kids CD, and she was on that team and wrote two of the songs and sang the solo on one of the songs,” Allen said.

In the summer 2017, Jones moved to Garner North Carolina to focus on writing and recording her own songs.

“I’m part leading worship at a local church in Garner, North Carolina,” Jones said.

Jillana Jones stands with the American Idol bus after an audition. Photo courtesy of Jacki Allen

Jones performed at open mic in Charlotte and was stopped by a man in the music industry who told her to add him on Facebook. She meet with him a couple times after their initial introduction where he coached her on a few projects.

“He posted on Facebook he was recruiting for American Idol because he was connected,” Jones said. “I liked the post or something, and he reached out to me to see if I have ever auditioned, or if I wanted to and I said sure.”

She had an audition in Asheville, North Carolina with some of the producers and moved on to have two more interviews. The outcome of her audition is unknown, but the Savannah auditions, where she had her third interview, will be shown on ABC March 12 at 8 -10 p.m. ET.

Although Jones does not know the outcome, she remains optimistic.

“American Idol is a TV show and as much as you want to believe the results are about talent exclusively, it’s not so. There is really no way to know,” Jones said. “I went into this process kind of trusting that if is what God had for me the doors were going to open for me, and it’d work out.”

“In The Summertime (acoustic) LIVE Session” by Jillana Jones with permission

To listen to Jones’ Youtube Channel click here.

To listen to Jones’ SoundCloud click here.

To view Jones’ blog click here.

Courtney Pedersen

My name is Courtney Pedersen and I'm a senior. For the Reflection I primarily write news and feature stories. I am the news and media editor. I also am heavily involved in TAB, PAC, Spanish Club and the literary magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Amazing God-Giving Talent. Soft and savory, soothing to the ear.


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