Howard Jones says instead of waiting for the world to change, we should put the power in our hands and make it better.
“We want to change the world, but we have to start with ourselves,” says Jones, known for the ’80s hits “Things Can Only Get Better” and “What is Love?”
“It’s not going to come from the outside.”
That was the guiding theme to Jones’ latest album, “Transform.” The first single, “The One to Love You,” melds Jones’ love of technology with his songwriting skills. The song is one of three collaborations with BT (All Hail the Silence) on “Transform.”
Jones is touring this summer with Men Without Hats and All Hail the Silence, all of whom come to the Celebrity Theatre on Thursday, July 11.
Jones’ career began in 1983; his first two albums were “Human’s Lib” and “Dream into Action.” “Human’s Lib” spawned the hits “New Song” and “What is Love?”
In 1985, Jones released the follow-up, “Dream into Action,” which featured the songs “Things Can Only Get Better,” “Life in One Day,” “No One is to Blame” and “Like to Get to Know You Well.”
“Transform” is Jones’ first studio album is more than a decade. Now was the perfect time for its release as Jones finally had something to say.
“I’m not the most prolific person,” he says. “I had to wait until I had something to say. If it’s just like going through the motions, I’ll never be happy with it. I have to have something to say. There were a lot of things building up that I wanted to address. That’s what happened with ‘Transform.’”
During his show at the Celebrity Theatre, Jones is going to play six to seven songs from “Transform,” a few acoustic numbers and his hits—although with a different take.
“I’ve gone back to the original songs and upgraded them,” he says. “That’s something you can do with electronic music. I went back and added extra parts to bring it up to date.
“It’s obviously still recognizable. Nobody would be happy with that if it didn’t. The new album flows in and out of the old material. It’s going down really well.”
The 64-year-old Englishman took a second to reminisce about his career. Howard had a job in a Cling Film factory in High Wycombe, England, and he enjoys thinking back to how he’s transformed as an artist and as a person.
“I’ve learned not to be swayed by what other people might say,” Jones says. “I’m not saying, ‘Don’t listen to people when people criticize you.
“We should actually do what we want to do and say, ‘This is who I am.’ Be who you are and pursue that. You don’t have to be like anyone else. I think that’s the thing I’ve really learned. There’s only one of me. We’re all unique, incredible people. Let’s hang on to that.”
Howard Jones w/Men Without Hats and All Hail the Silence
Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, 602.267.1600, celebritytheatre.com, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, $40-$200.