Willie Jones Doesn't 'Give a Damn' That Critics Think His Music Isn't Country in Short Film
Willie Jones is here for some "Country Soul."
On Friday, the singer released his debut album Right Now — and ahead of it, released a teaser for the 12-track LP, where he addressed critics who say his music is not country.
"To the critics who say that my music isn't country music," the 23-year-old said at the end of the gorgeous Spotify short film that follows Jones at a ranch outside of Nashville surrounded by horses and bulls. "I say 'I don't give a damn.'"
In the two-minute short film titled "Right Now Rodeo," Jones described the meaning behind his album's name.
"To live with the Right Now state of mind is to just be present and be thankful for the moment," he said. "I named the album Right Now because I just wanted the statement of just being grounded. This moment is all we had. Can't go forward, can't jump back, just gotta be right here and that's what I try to maintain."
Jones also described himself as a cowboy, which he considers rockstars too.
"They are rockstars in their own right. If you're getting put up against bulls and horses, you have to love that," he said. "And I love what I do and I like to have a good time doing it."
"You have to be brave to do something that's never been done. I go hard and cowboys and cowgirls go hard. And I am a cowboy, what you talking about," he said.
In January, Jones spoke to PEOPLE about how country music is changing.
"You definitely see the country changing and moving forward. We just got to keep moving forward. We can't stop. We can't digress. We just got to keep going, because we just a part of a story," he told PEOPLE then. "I just want it to be better for my kids and my kids' kids. I'm sure they going to put in work for it to be better for their kids."
"I'm part of the growth of the genre," Jones added. "You can look at hip-hop and see drastic growth changes from it 10 years ago, 20 years ago. Country kind of changes a little bit. They're pretty conservative and that's cool, but we've got room to grow."
At the time, Jones dropped his album's lead single "American Dream," which he wrote following the police killing of George Floyd last year.
"It's my patriotic protest anthem. I'm just stating what it is. The truth of being Black in America," he said then. "It's a song of hope."
"I remember when s— went down with George Floyd and I had a couple people hit me up in country music, like 'Hey bro, don't do too much talking,'" he added. "Honestly who cares what anybody has to think, especially because it stems from a place of just ignorance and hate."