Kelvin Jones sang “Cry A Little Less” in his hit single of the same name in 2021. “Sing my song” was now called “Cry A Little More”: The fourth episode of the exchange concert was all about the Zimbabwean-British soul singer. “I could cry the whole episode,” Jones announced right at the beginning, and tears came to his eyes several times throughout the evening.
No wonder, because his fellow musicians once again gave their all. “My English sucks,” Clueso admitted, translating “Love To Go” into German. SDP’s Vincent Stein and Dag-Alexis Kopplin brought a homemade glockenspiel to their version of “Seventeen” and adapted the song to their own teenage years. However, it got emotional with other songs.
“Anyone who turns on the radio can hardly ignore Kelvin Jones,” host Johannes Oerding introduced the main protagonist of the episode. The 27-year-old has written numerous hits in recent years. But what kind of person is behind the hits?
Jones, whose real name is Tinashe Kelvin Mupani, is from Zimbabwe, where most of his family still lives. Being here in South Africa, in the neighboring country, means everything to him, he said. “Is your family watching today?” Oerding wanted to know. “Not just my family. All of Zimbabwe! That’s how it is in my home country: we’re always very proud.” In recent years he has been number one on the radio in Zimbabwe 20 times.
Jones was eight years old when his father, fearing the political situation in Zimbabwe, decided to leave the country with the family and move to near London. “Was that a culture shock?” Oerding asked. Suddenly his family was no longer in the middle class, but at the bottom, Jones said. “My mother was very embarrassed and I wasn’t allowed to bring friends home for the first three years.”
He was the only black person at school. “But the children were so nice and interested. It wasn’t racism. I felt like I was the sexiest person in this school.” Jones was also impressed by the streetlights. “I was like, ‘How rich are these motherfuckers?'” Big laughter on the sing my song panel.
Actually, he wanted to be a footballer, Jones continued. From the age of ten he played professionally. “But at 16 I felt like it’s just stress. The next Sunday I started playing the guitar. In the beginning it was just a hobby, but then the dream grew.”
The starting signal for his international career was the song “Call You Home”: A friend posted it on Reddit at the time, and one night later the song had a million YouTube views. Floor Jansen from the symphonic metal band Nightwish turned the song into a power ballad at the swap concert, to which Jones couldn’t think of much more than “Holy shit!”.
Meanwhile, host Johannes Oerding chose “Only Thing We Know”. “My version is a bit more of a campfire on the beach,” he says, pushing Kelvin Jones to his limits for the first time: He took off his glasses, clutched his head helplessly and spluttered, “Fuck, that’s awesome. What version. I never thought how emotional this song could be.”
Elif took it one step further with her version of “Don’t Let Me Go”. The song is about Jones’ first love. “Daniel was her name. She broke my heart,” he revealed. “I wanted to get the heart out of it,” Elif said of her emotional piano ballad — and hit the bull’s eye. Clueso fought back tears, Dag-Alexis Kopplin closed his eyes with emotion and Jones laid his head on Oerding’s shoulder, crying. “The second verse was killer,” Clueso praised afterwards, embarrassing Elif. “I’m not very good with compliments, can we continue? Otherwise I’ll cry right away.”
The last thing on the program was Lotte’s version of “Cry A Little Less”. “I wrote this song at one of the hardest times in my life,” Jones said. “He’s difficult to play live. I cry every time.” – “Vincent, can you give me a handkerchief? I think I could use one,” Floor Jansen asked with foresight. And it wasn’t just her who cried when Lotte started the song in a deep voice. Jones sat cross-legged on the floor, tears rolling down his cheeks.
Even before “Sing meine Song” he and Lotte were good friends. “There’s such an amazing bond between us from the moment we met,” he said. “I understand you so much and I think you understand me so much. After this version, I really know that.” The protea for the song of the evening consequently went to Lotte – but that’s not all. “I have a little surprise for you. This is my flower for you guys,” Jones said, handing everyone a small bowl of an actual dried flower.
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The original of this post “”Sing my song”: “Big connection, from the first moment” between Kelvin Jones and Lotte” comes from Teleschau.