Austin soul darling Taméca Jones sings about leaving love and Los Angeles in new single
It's reasonable to assume that lots of Austinites have left lovers in Los Angeles. Our biggest stream of new residents flows from the City of Angels (and San Jose), and someone is bound to get left behind in the process.
One of those ex lovers belonged to native Austin singer-songwriter Taméca Jones, who's processing the emotions as many in both cities would — through song. "So Gone," an airy pop soul single preceding her 2024 album, Plants and Pills, wraps up the heartbreak in a surprisingly cheerful arrangement released November 19.
If this is what love lost sounds like, it seems to have been worth the pain.
"I wrote this song about a paramour i had in Los Angeles," says Jones. "He was my across-the-way neighbor. That is what spawned the lyrics 'First saw you in my apartment hallway.' Over the course of a couple months we develop a relationship. First ... for physical means, and then ... I started feeling love for him."
Although "So Gone" was inspired by the famous Adele song "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" — and the effect is clear — fans of Maggie Rogers will also likely be swept away by the buoyant, danceable bass and soaring, confessional vocals; Fans of the Austin music scene likely already know Jones, who has been working it on and off since 2005.
"The song has been really well-received, because it's one of my most sophisticated songs, and it's 100 percent me," says Jones. "I took so much time crafting it."
Cover art courtesy of Taméca Jones
The local "Queen" or "Empress of Soul" became well-known in part thanks to her early career residency at the Continental Club, later winning best vocals in the Austin Chronicle's annual music awards in two different years, and has been featured in Texas Monthly, on NPR, and at many events around town. She's opened for many well-known soul artists including Austin's own Gary Clark Jr and Black Pumas, plus more established acts like Leon Bridges, Kool and the Gang, and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Despite her local success, she declared in 2021 via KUT that the Austin scene was not the place for her, as a Black woman who does not play the guitar or sing the blues. But Los Angeles, in all its intensity, was no better solution.
"I decided to move back to Austin, because LA was way too stressful for me, and way too expensive," Jones says. "When I moved back to Austin I had to abandon the relationship, and that's why I wrote the song 'So Gone' about him."
Creatives and more earthly folks alike can surely imagine the disappointment of moving just to return. As much as the lyrics are about the man, it's hard not to wonder if some of the relationship analysis could stand in for the interstate excursion.
"[There's] a kind of a low self-worth aspect of the song in the bridge," says Jones. "I wanted to feel love, but I didn't think I deserved it; so I sabotaged the relationship a little bit, and then I moved back."
Whether the heartbreak is more about leaving Austin or LA is equally speculative, but the hopeful tone of the music itself bodes well for Jones' potential new era when Plants and Pills is released. It should be a bit easier on Jones' finances as an independent musician, too, thanks to a grant from PNC Bank. The album goes deeper into her experience in Los Angeles, and explores her mental health as a "journey."