When “American Idol” TV show alumna LaKisha Jones performs in Flint this weekend she’ll be celebrating more than a homecoming.
The recording artist and live entertainer will spend her birthday with family and friends who’ll enjoy the rare treat of seeing Jones on stage in their city at 8 p.m. Jan. 13 at The Whiting, 1241, East Kearsley St.
Since emerging as a Top-10 finalist on the popular Fox musical competition in 2007 she splits most of her time between Texas and California. Jones says she looks forward to getting back to her performing roots at the Saturday concert with Flint Symphony Orchestra.
“I’m excited about that,” she says.
Jones started singing at age 5 at Flint’s Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, encouraged by a grandmother who continued to insist Jones share her talent with the community.
“The more she put me up there and made me do it, the more I started to like it,” Jones says.
Though her grandmother died at age 97, her mother, aunts, uncles, and other relatives remain in Flint. Jones doesn’t get back home to perform often, typically inviting members of her circle to be in the audience when she visits other Michigan cities.
“So this is special because all of my cousins and church members, and people I went to high school with can come out and see me doing what I do,” she says, “which is touch people through music.”
“I’m really honored to be there with my hometown’s symphony.”
The decade since American Idol season six, during which Jordin Sparks took the crown, has found Jones performing throughout the country and abroad, including contributing her gift to musicals like “The Color Purple.”
One of her 2018 endeavors includes “To Whitney, with Love,” debuting April 6 in Springfield, Mass. The one-woman show, backed by a New York band, traces music legend Whitney Houston’s career in songs and video footage, with Jones filling the roles of performer and narrator. Among her other musical inspirations, she names Patti Labelle and gospel songstress Yolanda Adams.
“I would love to see more performers and entertainers come to Flint. I would also love to see Flint embrace their own, because there’s a lot of talent in the Flint area.” -Lakisha Jones
“I do love gospel music,” Jones says. “That’s my roots, but I enjoy all genres of performance, especially when it’s a challenge.”
The mother of 14- and 8-year-old daughters, she also accepts the challenge of “running all over, taking them here and there.” In Texas she oversees The Voice Studio, an enrichment program that teaches youth the fundamentals of music, occasionally performing shows with them.
While not as familiar with Flint’s entertainment scene as when she was part of it, Jones says she admires the work of local singer Lydia Seale, “a really talented singer-songwriter.”
“I would love to see more performers and entertainers come to Flint,” she says. “I would also love to see Flint embrace their own, because there’s a lot of talent in the Flint area.”
She’s careful not to reveal much, hoping her birthday concert audience on Saturday will be pleasantly surprised by the song list. Jones says there will be “quite a few selections.”
“It’ll be a very diverse program,” she says. “There will be some things that are unexpected, that people have never heard me sing before, and some things they would expect me to perform.”
To buy tickets for the concert please go to The Ticket Center.