By ROB DUGUAY We all could use a bit of guidance every now and then. This can help with navigating the craziness of life, figuring out your passions and reaching your potential. With this in mind, Warwick musician and wellness coach Nate Jones put out
We all could use a bit of guidance every now and then. This can help with navigating the craziness of life, figuring out your passions and reaching your potential.
With this in mind, Warwick musician and wellness coach Nate Jones put out his first book, titled “Permission to Create,” back on Aug. 31. It embraces a pro-creative lifestyle while seeking to inspire others to find their own success. In an age where we’re all trying to find our way through each and every day, Jones is blazing a trail that he wants people to walk along.
Jones and I recently had a chat about the evolution of the vision behind the book, jamming out in one of the most legendary recording studios on Earth, the book’s unique structure and what he hopes people take from it.
ROB DUGUAY: When you started writing “Permission to Create,” how did the vision for the book evolve? Did any goals you have at the beginning of the process change at all by the time you finished it?
NATE JONES: The initial idea was to give my fans a way to experience something physical along with the music, the way albums do. I thought it would be really cool to have a book of lyrics. I think it means more when it’s something you can hold. Last year in Memphis, I got to jam in the very same room at Sun Studios where Johnny Cash recorded “I Walk the Line,” and it was a liminal moment for me. Elvis Presley also got his start there, and the energy in the room was incredible. It felt like the exhilaration of being backstage with your favorite musicians. I was on tour with my friend Andreas and we agreed I had to find a way to tell that story.
RD: “Permission to Create” is part songbook, part memoir and part guidebook. What inspired you to have this kind of structure?
NJ: Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.” For me, there are a lot of teachers, musicians, writers and scientists I look up to, and I wanted to include their wisdom by using some of my favorite quotes to open and close each chapter. Eventually the stories and circumstances surrounding the creation of each song started to weave their way into a larger story, a tapestry of experiences that have shaped my spiritual path through music. I had a wonderful developmental editor by the name of Regina Stribling. She helped me see that this book should be less about telling people what I know, and more about taking readers along on my journey by showing them where I’ve been, and what I’ve experienced and learned in the process.
My song lyrics serve as the anchor point in the book, while the stories help provide context for the overall themes and philosophy woven into each chapter. I decided to add the QR code link to the songs to add an interactive musical element to the book. The beauty of music is that it’s up for interpretation, so people can create their own meaning from it as a multidimensional artistic work.
RD: With it being your first book, how would you describe the publishing process in order to make it into a paperback?
NJ: I was fortunate enough to participate in a book writing class through Georgetown University. They had opened the program up to working professionals and partnered with a hybrid publisher, New Degree Press. This meant I got a much fairer royalty split than if I had worked with a traditional publisher, but I still got to have a team behind me helping the project to come to life. There was an enormous support system, and every week we had famous/notable speakers talk to our class over Zoom. I got to speak with Marc Randolph, the founder of Netflix, Chuck Palahniuk, the author of “Fight Club,” Julia Cameron, creator of the Artist’s Way, and many more brilliant creative minds.
The cover design was by far my favorite part, because I had this idea to depict the way songs grow out of nature by using the motif of the guitar planted in the ground, with the strings turning into roots. The roots then turn into a brain, symbolizing the creative intelligence of nature, the very same intelligence that created our brains and allows us to experience music.
RD: That’s incredible. Do you see yourself intertwining your pursuit as an author to your career as a musician? If so, how do you plan on going about it?
NJ: The biggest blessing that’s come from this process is I now truly see myself as an artist. I feel confident that I will release more music and poetry in the future, and I may also write more books, but my true passion lies in playing music, creating songs and all kinds of joyous musical moments with others. As discussed in the book, a large part of my journey has been working with sacred plant medicines and playing music for people in the ceremonies. I plan on continuing this work, and I hope that my book serves as a guide for anyone interested in learning more about the healing powers of these medicines. I also plan on hosting my own music, art and creativity retreats in the near future, as well as doing book talks and other speaking engagements.
When the book became a No. 1 best seller on Amazon in multiple categories, it felt similar to the moment I found out I made the ballot for the Grammys. The only difference is this time, I’m not feeling any imposter syndrome. I know it’s just part of my path and I’m definitely going to use this accolade to bring my music and my message to more people.
RD: What’s the main thing you want people to take from “Permission to Create” after they read it?
NJ: If you don’t sing your song, no one else will. It’s as simple as that. You are the only person on Earth who can use your voice. We need your music, your art and your genuine creative expression to help us understand the collective human predicament. The title came to me about halfway through the book writing process.
I realized the central message of all the themes in my songs and stories was to give yourself permission to be exactly who you want to be, and to try new things in the process of figuring that out. If you don’t embrace your art, you will never know your full potential. Create possibilities for yourself, don’t limit yourself with definitions of who you think you are. You are only one decision away from a completely different life, so give yourself permission to create.
To keep tabs on what Nate Jones has happening in the future, visit www.natejones.world.