August artist of the month: Michelle Jones, blending music and light


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Michelle Jones performs at the Lake Eola Bandshell. (Courtesy of Dean Ray)

If you missed Michelle Jones and Violectric perform at Lake Eola last December, be sure to be downtown this year on Dec. 14. Jones’ seven-member band blends music and light in a unique and totally modern way.

Jones grew up in Spartanburg, North Carolina, but the lure of performing in the happiest place on Earth soon brought her here to Orlando. Within only a few hours of working at Disney World, she met the love of her life: Jerry Jones.

“I wanted to do my own thing. They don’t teach you how to make a living [studying music],” Michelle said.

So, Michelle enrolled at Rollins College and earned her degree in business.

“As an artist you must treat yourself as a business. You need to learn how to refuse, how to sign a bad deal.”

Michelle believes in four basic factors: knowledge, skills, people who can vouch for you and building relationships. Her most important relationship is with her husband, Jerry. He has created, designed and built each of the Violectric’s five string instruments.

These one-of-a-kind, neon instruments light up and are programmed to change colors as they are played. Their bows are fiber glass with laser technology that also lights up. Jerry, who is a sound and light engineer, serves as technical director for their band and handles their publicity and personnel.

Violectric is the parent company. It consists of five to seven musicians. The front line is all female, and they move around the performance area consisting of two violins, a viola, a cello and a base violin.

“The band is all instrumental with no vocals,” Michelle said. “The music must be memorized and performed live.”

Drum and keyboard musicians often accompany the ladies.

“Living [in] Downtown Orlando has opened my eyes to the vibrant culture I was previously missing,” said Josh Ceballos, who plays keyboard. “There are countless events happening every day, which is helpful in a town where everybody’s Friday comes on a different day of the week.

“I am grateful to be a part of Violectric so I can help add to the vibrant culture of Central Florida.”

Because Michelle is partial to rock music, she also created a smaller band known as “Fretless Rock.” This band sometimes has a harpist but will also use a DJ with a prerecorded back track.

“I love DJing with Michelle’s bands because she understands my unique perspective,” DJ Alexandra Goodman said. “As a DJ, she doesn’t make me compromise my style.”

But Michelle does have very high standards for all of her employees she contracts. They aren’t allowed to eat where their clients are and can never consume alcohol while performing. They are all required to take an etiquette class and be culturally aware.

When attending a Disney friend’s wedding in Japan, Michelle was able to perform in five cities and at the “Kids Beating Cancer Gala,” hosted by Japanese inventor Yoshiro Nakamatsu. She often plays with Wayne Newton when in Las Vegas and on his tours.

In 2018, she organized a fundraiser to restore the 85-foot Hard Rock sign for the Neon Museum and was later featured on national television when the museum opened.

Recently, people in Las Vegas recognized her bow that lights up and she was asked to “sit in” at a Brian Newman afterparty amongst people like Lady Gaga.

Michelle still performs with a standard violin at weddings and events in Orlando, like the grand opening of the City Arts. In August, it is back to Vegas for the Ted Torres “Elvis Show.” You can reach Michelle at Michelle@Violectric.net.

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