Rising star Caroline Jones’ performance Saturday, April 28, at Germantown Performing Arts Centre’s 2012 Gala will be a homecoming of sorts for the New York-based singer-songwriter.
Jones, whose father, billionaire hedge fund manager and influential market guru Paul Tudor Jones, is a Memphis native, will be the featured entertainer at “Viva La GPAC: A salute to Elvis on the 35th Anniversary of his Life and Legacy.”
The Elvis-themed event will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at 1801 Exeter Road in Germantown and will also feature silent and live auctions and dinner by Harrah’s Tunica.
“We’re just delighted that Caroline Jones is going to be coming here and performing for us,” said GPAC executive director Tanya Castroverde Moskalenko. “Her voice is cool and clean and she just has this really wonderful style that we’re really excited to have at the gala. Her performance will be a combination of Elvis songs, a couple of her own compositions and a little gospel. We think it will be really great variety for our patrons.”
Proceeds will benefit GPAC’s programs, which – in addition to bringing world-class artists to the Memphis metropolitan area – include a variety of vibrant, arts-focused community outreach programs.
“It’s going to be a fun party,” Moskalenko said. “But the point of the evening is to raise funds for GPAC programming and to be able to bring amazing artists to the GPAC stage and allow these artists to extend themselves to the community through tremendous educational programs. We have great performances on the GPAC stage, but many of our artists also reach out into the community by providing Q-&-A sessions, master classes and workshops.”
Saturday’s gala will be the first public Memphis performance by Jones. Paul Tudor Jones – founder of Tudor Investment Corp. and the Robin Hood Foundation, which fights poverty in New York City – attended Memphis University School and the University of Memphis.
He is the brother of Peter Schutt, president and CEO of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc., and son of Memphian Jack Jones, who served for 34 years as the publisher of The Daily News.
Caroline Jones, whose performances at venues throughout the New York area include Julliard, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall and Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency, says she’s honored to perform in her father’s hometown.
“Memphis has such a rich musical culture,” said Jones, 21, who studies creative writing at New York University. “I’m really excited to be a part of that, and Tennessee has a legacy of that and it’s exciting to me.”
Although she comes from a family well-known for its business acumen, Jones says she’s always had a passion for creative pursuits, having written poems and short stories since she was old enough to put pen to paper.
“As soon as I found music and began singing I found a channel to incorporate all of those creative elements that I’ve always loved,” Jones said. “Once I started singing, I knew I’d really found my passion.”
Trained classically by Andy Anselmo, founder of New York’s “The Singer’s Forum,” Jones’ musical background consists of opera and Bel Canto training as well as study of the American songbook, cabaret and Broadway styles.
Under her former manager Tommy Mottola, Jones began recording her original songs with producer Chris Toland at Sony and Avatar studios in New York as a student at The Professional Children’s School in New York City.
Although she was raised in Greenwich, Conn., Jones said her Southern father exposed her to the soul and rhythm and blues sounds of the Bluff City.
“I love the Mississippi Delta Blues like Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson and Charley Patton,” she said.
But Jones, who plays acoustic guitar and describes her sound as country-pop, said her real passion lies with country music. She cites Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline as major influences.
“I was first introduced to country music when I was 16 and I started going down to Nashville, and I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I love old country music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. That’s my real musical passion now, stylistically.”
In January 2011, Jones released her self-produced and composed debut album, “Fallen Flower.” Another album, “Live from Feinstein’s,” available digitally, features original songs as well as American songbook classics.
While in Memphis, Jones will also host a special singer/songwriter master class for high school and college students at The Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday, May 1.
“Not only are they the demographic that I love performing for the most, but they’re also music fans and aspiring singers and musicians themselves,” she said. “It’s just my hope that I can share my passion with them and they can share theirs with me.”
And on Thursday, May 3, Jones will perform at the historic A. Schwab Dry Goods Store on Beale Street.