For those who make a life of working in music, a career can take many twists and turns toward bulding a sharp skillset and finding a deeper truth. Meet Esjay Jones, South African-born, Southern California-based producer, songwriter and engineer who has worked with a wide variety of artists including Nile Rodgers, Sean Kingston, Krewella, Brandy and, most recently, a project to re-imagine and enhance several of the original songs by Grey Daze, the band of the late GRAMMY winner Chester Bennington before he joined Linkin Park.
The winding road Jones has walked in music started young. Jones recalls her ballet teacher pulling her parents aside to tell them she might want to recosider a dancing career. Grateful for the shift, she took an internship at Northwind Recording and found her way into a fairly successful music career in South Africa as an artist.
"As time went on, I just fell more in love with what happens behind the scenes," said Jones. "Understanding the psyche behind an artist, having come from that world, it's allowed me to really have this intimate and emotional connection with people who are precious about their songs and not sure if they want to bring someone else in. And it has allowed me to be really transparent in the curation and creation of songs."
"I would much rather capture those imperfect moments and figure out how to work them into the production," she said, "because I feel that is what a listener is listening for. It's that emotional connection making [the listener] go, 'Oh, that person I'm such a big fan of, they're human, too!'"
Learn more about Jones journey Behind The Board in the latest installment of the series above, and stay tuned for more episodes each week here on GRAMMY.com.