The ways in which you speak over yourself hold true power — Toni Jones may know that better than anyone. While running her former life-coaching business, the 39-year-old Southfield native says she noticed her clients were having trouble integrating simple healing and wellness practices into their busy lifestyles. The solution: “affirmation music.”
What started as songs Jones wrote just for her clients turned into several EPs and albums available on numerous streaming platforms — Affirmations for the Grown Ass Woman released during Women’s History Month in 2019; Affirmations and Chill released May 2020 to get people through quarantine; I See Me Mantras released on World Mental Health Day in 2020; and Get Cha Mind Right/The Mental Health Mix Tape released in 2021. Having coined the title “affirmation musician,” Jones blends her “genre-infused” sounds (which she says vary from rock and gospel to R&B and spoken word) with messages on life, love, claiming your space, and protecting your peace. Jones says her latest album, Me VS Every Me “Affirmations of Self Love,” is about being your purest self and winning the battle with negative inner dialogue.
Here, Jones shares how you can move with intention throughout this year and beyond.
Hour Detroit: What do you want people to take away from your music?
Toni Jones: We’re in this era of self-care, self-love, and cultivating a relationship with ourselves. The core requirement of having a healthy relationship with yourself is how you talk to yourself. You’re saying you’re constantly having these inner conversations in your mind — whether it’s about money, the government, racism, your body, what happened five years ago — what are these inner conversations that you have on a loop that are creating feelings of defeat, powerlessness, and so on? So, what I want people to take away from my music is when they push play, they get to revolutionize and transform that inner conversation.
We’ve reached new levels of survival mode these past three years. Why are affirmations more important now than ever before?
It’s not only our inner voices we’re dealing with — we’re dealing with the outer voices of the world. No matter what channels they’re coming from, it’s too much. And now we’re at a point where the only way to survive is to pay attention to what’s going on inside you and how you actually want to care for it. You’re more conscious of the virus and what the media is saying, what politicians are saying, what your family is saying, what your friends are saying, and what your own intuition is saying. So, now it’s about choosing what brings you peace for the day — not for the next five years, but for the day. Affirmations and self-love are ushering people more into the present moment and saying, “OK, what do I need today? I can’t depend on the world. I can’t depend on everybody outside of me to determine how I bring peace to myself. I have to determine that and I have to listen to myself.”
How do you encourage people to stop negative self-talk and start their healing journey?
Some people may read this article and say, “I don’t even know what affirmations are. Where do I even start with affirmations?” I will say that the first start is pay attention to what you are saying that you don’t want to say anymore. Write that down. Because when you write that down, you bring awareness. You’re practicing the muscle to be self-aware of what’s going on in your inner being. Having a mental health therapist is so important, because they are trained in holding space for your inner self. Also, affirmation music is a testament not to just my talent, but to the research that backs up the power of music and how it has a medicinal legacy of rewiring your nervous system.
And how can people set intentional goals for their lives in the new year?
I have to be mindful that everyone is on a different level. So, I do my best to create something that can be universally used. No matter where you’re at in your personal relationship with yourself, I would say the first thing [is to ask yourself]: What do you want? What do you truly want? And feel the resistance that comes up like, “Oh, that’s not realistic. Oh, that’s not possible. I don’t have enough money.” Just really pay attention to what counters that when you pay attention to what you want in this life. So, before you set intentions, before you start these affirmations, get grounded and clear about what you want in this life. That is a great point of entry for intentional living in 2022 and beyond.
Your New Feel-Good Playlist
Affirmation musician Toni Jones recommends songs from her latest album, Me VS Every Me, to get you through any situation
For inspiration: “Talk to Me Nice”
To let out a good cry: “I Forgive”
A pick-me-up: “Better Love”
To rest: “Inner Breakfast”
To encourage your personal growth: “Innercise”
Learn more about Toni Jones at iamtonijones.com.