SPOTLIGHT SERIES | Caid Jones on Passion, Identity, and Vulnerability
Welcome to Spotlight Series, a monthly feature shining a light on emerging local music makers in the stellar music community in Manitoba. Come back every month for a new interview!
By Callie Lugosi @goralugosi
Caid Jones grew up enjoying classic rock, but his first exposure to rap music was during a visit to his father in The Pas when he was ten years old.
“He showed me The Eminem Show album… it was just music to my ears. I was like what is this, who is this? It really resonated with me.”
While The Eminem Show was in major contrast to the rest of Jones’ musical knowledge, its impact on Jones cannot be overstated, as it gave Jones a new-found sense of identity as a young person.
“Rap music was kind of like my own genre, this is the genre I like to listen to. My friends and parents had their thing, and I love rock too, but this really spoke to me.”
The vulnerability on display in Eminem’s music was deeply inspiring to Jones.
“He told stories about his family and about the things he was going through, his wife, his kids, struggling, all these sorts of things. Hearing that really was a huge boost and influence to me to be like, ‘I can talk about these things, people can relate.’”
“So I try to imitate that in a way, and obviously make it my own thing, but I try to follow how vulnerable he was, especially as a man, because you don't see men be super vulnerable. But when it comes to music and especially rap, we're telling our stories.”
It wasn’t until Jones’ grade 10 year in high school that he started to connect the dots between the music he loved and how it’s made. As his interest in rapping deepened, he would experiment with reciting the poetry he wrote in English class over beats he’d found on YouTube.
Fate blessed Jones with an open-minded and creative English teacher that embraced Jones’ passion for hip hop by eventually incorporating it into his school assignments.
“I would write a rap and then I would do a little write up of what it's about, and then I would show him that and he was super supportive. He was like, ‘hey, this is really good, keep doing it, I love to hear it and read into your mind.’ He was a huge support for me at the beginning,” Jones says.
He eventually taught himself how to produce his own beats by experimenting with Reason, a free downloadable recording software. Through trial and error, Jones pushed himself to create his own music. He also took advantage of the resources at Studio 393, where youth are given access to free recording time and mentorship.
“They were so community oriented and community focussed and there for others. That was my introduction to Winnipeg's music scene.”
Jones started writing the songs that made it onto his debut album, No Distractions Please in June 2019, and spent nearly as long looking for a label to help release it.
In the search for representation, Jones decided to start his own label titled PayAttention Records. Jones co-founded the label and alongside his collaborators, opened a small recording studio in January 2021.
Upon the release of Jones’ first single, "Higher", he was approached by local label Birthday Cake Media.
Since then, Jones landed a licensing deal with the label. He says that he’s been given more opportunities to have his work seen and heard since partnering with Birthday Cake.
He has a busy year ahead, with a second album being written, a handful of singles scheduled for release and several music videos in the works. There are also plans to collaborate with fellow Indigenous artists Mattmac and Nataanii Means.
“My vision is to take care of my community, take care of my family and things like that as quickly as possible,” he says. “The quicker I can get music to my people and my friends, the more impact that I can make with my music.”
You can find and support Caid Jones' music via Pay Attention, Bandcamp, Spotify, YouTube, and Soundcloud.
Callie Lugosi is a writer, musician and visual artist living in Winnipeg. They write about queer history and take photographs for The Uniter newspaper.