Usher Songsmith Donell Jones Brings Dupri, Garrett On New Journey

After a four-year absence, the R&B singer is back and tackling some heavy topics.

It may seem obvious, but there's no "I" in Donell Jones.

"When I got in the game I was doing most of it myself, but I learned that it takes a team of people to make something great," the R&B singer/producer/songwriter said recently. "I'm not as selfish as I was before."

So for his first album since 2002's Life Goes On, the recently released Journey of a Gemini, Jones turned to fellow producers Jermaine Dupri, the Underdogs, Sean Garrett, Mike City, Tim & Bob and Eddie F.

"I hooked up with Mark Pitts, who's a great A&R guy [best known for his work with Usher], and we just did some great things," Jones said. "The album is hot from top to bottom, and it's really all personal experiences, things that I've been through the last couple of years."

Jones has already garnered airplay for "Better Start Talking," which features Dupri, and his current single, "I'm Gonna Be," which he says is self-explanatory. "It's telling the one I wanna be her everything for the rest of her life and make sure she's taken care of," he said.

Now the singer hopes to release a serious single, a ballad called "Cry." "That song is about just telling our black people out there that we just need to pay more attention to our children," Jones explained. "Children are having babies and the generation is just getting younger, grandmothers now are, like, 30-something-years old, so I just wanted to reach out just to help my people out there. Just get your head up, get back in church, read the Bible. That's the only way they gonna get through this thing together."

Jones, who rose to fame writing hits for Usher and Silk, and worked on Madonna's Bedtime Stories LP, is planning a fall headlining tour. "I've been off the scene for about three years so I wanna make sure my fans see me," he said.