Mr. Jones and Me

It's amazing what a voice, a guitar and a street corner can do.  Mind you that voice is an extremely hard working, talented and relentless artist, out to make his own breaks.

Bodhi Jones is soft spoken and polite.  And an awesome, like really, really awesome musician and busker.

I caught up with the 29-year-old musician recently on his home turf, at Robson and Howe in downtown Vancouver.  Although there is a man offering books for change on his usual corner, Jones makes sure we stay close, as he has promised tickets to fans.  An awesome first impression of the man, worried more about getting these fans free tickets than anything else.

Fans of Bodhi know he has no issue writing and releasing music.  His latest record "Where does the Time go?" is set for release Tuesday (September 14, 2010).   It's more solid work from the Native of Salt Spring Island, true to the sound that his fans have come to love.  Although this time around his fans will have to wait a little longer for the next album.

"I write all the time, and I want to get music out there.  I'm on the street corner cause I'm actually selling the music. I want to get it to as many people as possible and keep giving my fans more. But I think the next time, whenever my next album comes out, it's gonna be a little bit longer away I think.  I’m gonna work a bit harder at the songwriting.  I usually just let it come naturally and quickly and easily, but I think I can get a bit more in depth.  I think I haven’t really scraped the surface of what I’ve got to say.  I’m gonna try a bit harder, maybe a year.  This time next year I'll definitely have an album out. 1 year. Instead of every 4 or 6 months or whatever it is."

I think fans will happily accept this, sounds like Bodhi taking his time will benefit everyone.  It will be fantastic to see where this talented artist takes his music next.

Jones is musically maturing before our very eyes.  Beyond being naturally gifted, he's had the benefit of The Peak Performance Project assisting him.  Merging natural talent and technical knowledge, the project has been rewarding.  A 6th place finish last year has earned him a spot in this year's top 20, but maybe more importantly, he's been here before.

"I guess I was a bit of a veteran (at band camp), which was weird because just 1 year ago I was so green.  I was freaking out and puking before my performance.  The showcase there.  It was my first time ever performing on a real stage by myself. So I've come along way, pretty crazy. Its developed me for sure.
Last year, I don’t know if I was naive, but I really thought I might be able to get in the top 3 or 5. I worked really hard.  It’s a disadvantage for a solo artist I think personally, compared to having a full band possibly to delegate different tasks. So last year I really killed myself.  
This year I’m coming in, work a little smarter, a little less frantically.  Just soak it all in, learn as much as I can which I did at boot camp. I learned a lot this year, faculty was great, much better than last year. This year I don’t have hopes of winning, if I do that’d be cool, but I just want to use this media attention, meeting all these new people, I'm learning and I'll just take it in stride.  This year it seems the new batch of peak artists is just nuts. So we’ll see."

Jones is right, the talent level at this years contest is insane, but the VanCity Busker fits right in.  At Band Camp in Princeton, BC this past August 27-September 3, The Peak FM must have understood just how lucky they were to have these creative geniuses under one roof, and really ramped up the program.

"It was boot camp this year.  Last year it was like a vacation.  A lot more free time. This year they just packed in more classes, more focus on tweeting and blogging, and we had to write and record a song professionally.  Last year we did the writing thing, and they just said "OK, go record it", you had three takes, one microphone it was recorded raw.  This year they had the whole studio, producers. So you really had to craft a polished song that was ready for radio. So that took a lot of, like literally most of us stayed up the last three nights.  Pretty much no one slept the whole 24-hour days, it was pretty crazy. 
I did my collaboration song with Kyprios.  He was kinda a stand out at camp.  It was interesting cause I think a lot of us weren’t sure what to expect out of this hip hop cat.  He kinda brought a lot of people out of their shells, he was one of the leaders at camp for sure.  He was a good guy to work with.  It was an amazing, amazing experience. Anybody who’s playing music should apply."

Bodhi is super excited about all of the recorded songs from camp, mentioning at least a few could be instant hits.  It will be a treat to hear him collaborate with a hip-hop talent like Kyprios.

Of course playing on the street has its unique moments.  Although it's been good to Jones, that doesn't mean the day to day always goes so smooth.

"Well it is a challenge. To do it for a living, to actually pay the bills with it.  But I can’t complain cause I could be digging ditches like those folks across the street.  It gets competitive, mundane sometimes.   Sometimes it seems like you’ll play for, it might just be 30 minutes, but if your singing your heart out for 30 minutes, and no one seems to care, its pretty hard. I think it's hard on the confidence sometimes. You just tend to focus on the negative. Yeah I might sell 20 CD's, but I saw 20,000 people walk by that didn’t give a shit about it.  Sometimes you wonder what you’re doing out here.  
I’ve been robbed a couple times. I caught them both times.  I leave the cash in there sometimes if it’s a busy day.  They just grab the cash, so I gotta put my guitar down and chase them down the street.  One time I was wearing flip-flops and I chased a guy on a bicycle and caught him.  But these people are down and out.  They give the money and it's all good.  Never a dull moment out here, that’s for sure.  I’ve met a couple producers, I’ve been flown down to LA a few of times by busking.  You never know who you’ll meet out here. I think that’s what keeps me going."

I'm sure there is a "humble" counter out there for my website somewhere, but I don't care, because it fits again.  Although he's already bringing joy to many listeners, he continues to work hard at his craft, almost unaware of how good he is.

"If I do end up making music, like a solid career where I have albums released around the world and stuff, if I do become successful, I think I'd still like to keep it real and busk once in a while. Maybe when I release my albums I'll busk in front of some of the stores or something.  And this tour, I’m going across Ontario in October, I’m going to busk in every town I go to, we're gonna film it and make a little documentary.  See what it's like to busk in different towns. Even if there might be 10 or 20 people around, who knows. So that’ll be fun.  Yeah I’ll always busk, that’ll always be part of it."

Well Mr. Jones, there are many owners of various recorded goods that would argue you are already quite successful.  It's those people, along with the work ethic of the gifted songwriter, that will ensure "Bodhi Jones Release Day" comes to a town near you, maybe even "by this time next year".


  1. Vicki19.9.10

    Great write up! Bodhi has a great sound and totally cares about his fans!! Kudos Bodhi!

  2. You're absolutely right Vicki, he is a class act, no bones about it

  3. Loved this article, love his sound, and I can't wait to see his documentary he's filming next year.