The Eric Jones Trio featuring Gina Rene
Eric Jones was born in Moultrie, Georgia, and started to play piano by ear at the age of five. At 11, Eric began studying trumpet. At 16 he started formal lessons on piano and within two years, he was awarded a piano scholarship to Andrew College.
Eric went on to pursue his education at Armstrong Atlantic State University, studying under Dr. Kevin Hampton, graduating with a B.A. in Piano. In addition to teaching private lessons, composing and arranging, he completed his Masters in Composition from Georgia Southern University, where he studied under Dr. Martin Gendelman.
Eric has worked with many prominent artists including Grammy Award winning Esperanza Spalding, Stewart Copland of the Police and Keith Miller of the Metropolitan Opera. In 2011 Eric premiered his latest work, “Songs of Creation,” which combines spiritual, jazz and African influences with the poem of James Weldon Johnson’s “The Creation.” Eric is the pianist with the Savannah Jazz Orchestra and performs with them annually at the Savannah Jazz Festival. Eric has also performed several times during Sunday concerts for Coastal Jazz Association. Currently Eric teaches at Savannah State University.
Gina Rene – Bio
Born into a multi-ethnic family, Gina Rene grew up in the Bohemian setting of Santa Cruz, California. As a youth she listened to artists like Stevie Wonder, Cab Calloway, and Ella Fitzgerald along with more contemporary artists like Prince, Chaka Khan and Run DMC. She was raised in the early Hip-hop era of the 80’s when it was about raw creativity and truth. Combining all of these influences with her own melodies, flowing over beats with her own rhymes became second nature to Gina. Music runs in her family. Her Grandpa, Leon Rene, wrote the hit song Rockin Robin, as well as Sleepy time Down South which became Louis Armstrong’s theme song. He also owned the first black independent record label on the West Coast, Exclusive Records.
Gina sang in both jazz and concert choirs during her high-school years. She was accepted into both the regional and All-State Honor Choirs in 1994. After graduating, Gina moved to San Francisco and became the lead singer/co-songwriter of her Brother Gabriel’s band, Soulstice. The multi-cultural arts scene in San Francisco really inspired Gina to explore multiple directions with her music. She played with numerous vocal styles such as R&B, Hip-hop, Drum N Bass, House, electro, Soul and torch style singing from the Jazz influenced 40’s. A fan gave her the nickname, Miss Stylistic. She studied with vocal coach and singer Raz Kennedy. Raz worked with Bobby McFerrin and other great artists and taught Gina Rene that her voice is truly her instrument and to live in it.
There’s a little irreverence running around in the soul of Gina Rene who’s unafraid to bring it forth in her music. She’ll sooth you with her sweet melodic tones before waking you up with the truth in her words. She writes and sings her own songs, blending R&B and Pop melodies with the wit and lyricism of a true MC. One original of hers, U Must Be was featured in the 2006 film Step Up, released theatrically by Buena Vista Pictures, a part of the Walt Disney Company. Recently Yo-Yo, original female rapper and the sweetest DJ on LA’s first Hip Hop station, KDAY 93.5 FM, sponsored a contest called ‘Throw it up or Slow it up’. Gina’s song Cluck, Cluck won the audience over in 2 rounds. Yo-Yo offered Gina a non-compete slot to open up for KDAY 93.5 and Yo-Yo’s Best of the West contest of Hip-Hop artists. Gina is also a part of the Agape International Spiritual Center, a community that stands for Peace and Unity of all humanity. Agape is also where the world renowned spiritual Teacher; Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith resides as founder and leader Beckwith was featured in the film The Secret and has also recently came into the studio and recorded some powerful words of wisdom on Gina Rene’s up and coming single “Be the Change”. This song of Gina’s reflects on what isn’t working only to then bring about a mentality of positive possibility that will inspire us to take even the simplest actions that will bring Great change in these times of war and Pain and extreme climate changes.
Gina Rene sees her music as a tool for her own personal growth, healing and self discovery. She has had her share of ups and downs, living as an artist in urban America. She sees all of the violence and misunderstanding on the streets and around the globe and feels the need to speak up. Recognizing the influence Hip-Hop music has on youth the world over, Ms. Rene feels a great need for positive role models and she is especially concerned with the imbalance of the role women play in the music scene. Their negative portrayal perpetuates stereotypes that prevent people from seeing how truly powerful women are. Also, it’s not about dissing men either. It’s about understanding the strengths in our differences. Through honesty and taking back responsibility, Hip-Hop becomes the communication tool it was originally intended to be. This energy, of raw creative self expression and glorification of Unity in a diverse world, is what Gina Knows will bring forth global change. Gina speaks on this issue with class and grit, intending on inspiring the possibility of a better world, where all people can create what each of us wants while respecting one another in the process. Life is good. It’s time to Wake up to your dreams.