02-19-2017  8:43 am      •     

A fresh-faced, bright-eyed, Southern beauty, 14-year-old, Hollywood Records recording artist Coco Jones will grace television sets across the world on June 15 when she stars in the Disney Channel original movie "Let It Shine" opposite Tyler James Williams and Trevor Jackson. Coco plays the role of "Roxie," a teenage singing sensation whose music label is sponsoring a songwriting contest at a teen club.

"Cyrus DeBarge" (Williams) writes a contest-winning song about his love for Roxie but, when he's too shy to claim it as his own, his best friend, "Kris McDuffy" (Jackson) takes the credit. Based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac, "Let It Shine" relates a tale of young love with an underlying message about summoning self-confidence.

Coco can also be seen regularly guest-starring on Disney Channel's "So Random" and on "Good Luck Charlie." Recently, she has been in the recording studio with Toby Gad, David Banner, and Rock Mafia. One of the hottest tracks to drop is a duet called "Whodunit?" with "Zeke and Luther" star Adam Hick which peaked on the Radio Disney charts at #20.

Born in Columbia, S.C. on Jan. 4, 1998, to former NFL star Mike Jones and talented session vocalist Javonda Jones, Coco was raised in Lebanon, Tenn., where she began singing as soon as she learned to speak. The young actress/singer/rapper's first stage performance was at the age of 6 when she belted out "America the Beautiful" to a wowed crowd of parents at her kindergarten graduation.           

In 2010, she released her debut CD, "Coco Jones," featuring songs reflecting her platform of positive values and strong self-esteem. Last year, Coco was one of five finalists in Disney's "Next Big Thing" competition, an achievement which further helped to launch her musical career. And this summer, she will be touring with the "Next Big Thing" talent contest. 

Kam Williams: Hi, Coco, thanks for the interview.

Coco Jones: Thank you, Kam, for having me.

KW: What interested you in the role of Roxie in "Let It Shine"?

CJ: When I first read the script, I fell in love with it. Singing, dancing, and acting! The part was right up my alley. Plus, the thought of playing a rock star was like a dream for me.

KW: The movie is based on the Cyrano de Bergerac. Did you read the original play in preparation for the part?

CJ: I read a lot of summaries about the story. I also watched Roxanne, the movie starring Steve Martin.

KW: The lead characters' names have been changed slightly from Cyrano and Roxanne to Cyrus and Roxie. Has the story been changed, too?

CJ: Oh, yes, they definitely updated the story, setting it around today's music industry, featuring Gospel and Hip-Hop music.

KW: The movie is also a musical. How much did you get to sing?

CJ: I got to sing a lot. I am singing in five songs from the soundtrack.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from the movie?

CJ: The main message of this movie that everyone will take away is to believe in yourself. Cyrus learns to have confidence in his writing, Chris has confidence in his performance, and my character, Roxie, learns to be confident in her singing. Another great message that girls will take away from Roxie is to love yourself. All girls my age know about wanting to fit in. I think that they will watch Roxie trying to do the same thing with her clothes, make-up, and her entire performance. Over the course of the movie, she learns to be herself, to develop her own style, and to not change herself to please others.

KW: You sing, rap, dance and act. Which is your favorite?

CJ: I honestly love it all, which is why I enjoyed playing Roxie. Through the character, I was able to showcase all of my talents. 

KW: You became a national sensation when you were a finalist on Radio Disney's Next Big Thing competition. Do you have a concert tour on the horizon?

CJ: Yes, and I am so excited! I will be all over the United States through 2012. I love to see people enjoy my music and my shows. 

KW: You were just signed to a recording contract with Hollywood Records.  What was that like, to sign the papers and what kind of music can your fans look for in the near future?

CJ: Signing with Hollywood Records was a dream come true. I am so blessed to get to do the things that I love to do every day of my life. My fans can expect to be blown away with the music I'm writing. The day after I signed my contract, I went right into the studio. My new album will have Pop, Rap, R&B and some huge ballads. 

KW: Harriet Pakula Teweles says: You're only 14. How do you balance the demands of school and career?

CJ: Well, sometimes it is hard because my schedule is crazy. I am homeschooled, so my school travels with me. My parents have one rule for me: I can't do any of this if I have any C's on my report card. 

KW: Is your online course work mostly an extension of your performance interests?

CJ: Unfortunately, not. It is the exact same work any eighth grader would do.

KW: What do you plan to study in college?

CJ: I'd love to major in Music. I love what I do, but I want to really understand it, more in depth.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

CJ: No, not really... I guess I'm used to all of it by now. I just tend to feel really excited!

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

CJ: I am sooooo happy! I have a great family that loves me, a record deal at 14, and I get to do what I love every day. 

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?

CJ: Everyday, especially anytime I am with my daddy. He's so funny! My whole family jokes around a lot. 

KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

CJ: Purses. When I want to treat myself, I will almost always get myself a new handbag.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

CJ: I have read some great books recently: "Heaven is For Real," "Bud Not Buddy," and my favorite, "Tiger Eyes." 

And my next book will be "The Hunger Games."

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to? 

CJ: I listen to Glee songs a lot. I like their rendition of "Bust the Window Out Your Car."

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

CJ:  I like to cook Shrimp Alfredo. It's also my favorite dish to eat!

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

CJ: Performing of any kind: singing, acting, dancing. I also get really excited during interviews.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

CJ: I am so laid back that, honestly, I'm in jeans and sweats a lot of the time. I like Aeropostale and Hudson Jeans.

KW: Dante Lee, author of "Black Business Secrets," asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst?

CJ: I would have to say the best was when my mom formed a company for me. I write out all of the checks for my performance business. I get to see the money I make and how much it takes to do what I do. My worst decision was not learning Spanish yet. I think it would really help my business if I could do some of my singles in Spanish or a Spanish/English mix.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

CJ: A confident person who loves life. I see a happy girl!

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

CJ: My personal wish would be to have my own TV show but, if I could have anything, my wish for the world is that no one on the Earth would ever go hungry.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

CJ: My earliest memory is of the best Christmas gift ever, a toy train. I remember riding that thing all through our house.

KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

CJ: I would be a butterfly. A beautiful, purple butterfly.

KW: The Pastor Alex Kendrick question: When do you feel the most content?

CJ: When I'm with my entire family. 

KW: The Toure question: Who is the person who led you to become the person you are today?

CJ: My parents are the people that led me here. My mom helped me learn to sing and she travels with me. My dad always told me that I could be anything I wanted, if I was willing to work hard enough to achieve it.

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? 

CJ: Determination. You have to be willing to put in the extra time and the extra practice to be the best. Also, no matter what responses you get from your work, you have to be determined not to give up on your dreams!

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

CJ: Have confidence, do your own thing, find your talent, and work at it to be the best. And always, always have fun!

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

CJ: As a sweet Christian girl, who was always loving and kind to everyone.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Coco, and best of luck with Let It Shine.

CJ: Thank you so much for having me!

Let It Shine premieres Friday, June 15 at 8 PM (7 PM Central) on the Disney Channel.


Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Oregon Lottery
Carpentry Professionals


Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow