Coco Jones Wants to 'Be in the Moment' as She Enters New Era After Her First Grammy Win (Exclusive)

The R&B star opens up to PEOPLE about her new single "Here We Go (Uh Oh)" and how it feels to have Beyoncé's stamp of approval

  • Coco Jones' new single, "Here We Go (Uh Oh)," is out now alongside a music video

  • The singer and actress discusses receiving flowers from Beyoncé after winning a Grammy Award for her hit, "ICU"

  • Jones is working on her debut album to be released later this year

After a whirlwind year of success, Coco Jones is still trying to take it all in.

The 26-year-old singer and Bel-Air actress released her breakthrough EP, What I Didn't Tell You, last year and earned her first Billboard Hot 100 hit with its single "ICU," which earned her a Grammy Award for best R&B performance at the 2024 ceremony in February.

Now, Jones is entering her next era with new single, "Here We Go (Uh Oh)," released Friday, May 3, and a fresh perspective. "I feel like so much happened that I didn't expect," she tells PEOPLE. "I want to be in the moment this time instead of trying to overthink things and let the chips fall where they may."

Related: Coco Jones Details Her Journey from 'Defeated' Disney Star to Janet Jackson-Approved R&B Singer

<p>Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings</p> Coco Jones

Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings

Coco Jones

"Here We Go (Uh Oh)," which samples Lenny Williams' 1978 hit "'Cause I Love You," finds Jones feeling frustrated with a man who's trying to win her back into his life — but she ultimately can't resist. The song was written during a Nashville studio session and marked her first time working where she grew up since her tween years.

"I'm always a fan of music that makes you feel anything," explains Jones. "I wouldn't say that I was strategically trying to sample anything or anybody. I just like songs that make me feel. When [producer] Cardiak showed me this beat, I couldn't skip it, and I just do what I can't skip. Time is of the essence, and when I'm in the studio, I don't want to waste it."

The new release also marks her first since the Grammy win, a life-changing moment for the former Disney Channel star — even though it didn't go how she expected. Her category was called during the pre-ceremony, during which Jones and her mom, Javonda, were walking the red carpet in the midst of a rare Los Angeles rainstorm.

Related: Coco Jones Isn't Afraid to Meet Her Heroes — Especially After Beyonce Told Her to 'Keep Going' (Exclusive)

<p>Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty</p> Coco Jones

Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty

Coco Jones

"I was like, 'Girl, no way this is where I'm hearing that I won a Grammy.' I was looking at my mom, we just looked at each other, and then my mom starts tearing up. I was like, 'No, girl, this is a red carpet. We got to get out of here,'" she recalls. "When I got to take pictures with the award, I was like, 'Oh, damn.' That's when it really hit me that that happened, and that'll never be the same."

Days after the awards show, Jones received an extravagant congratulatory flower arrangement from none other than Beyoncé, who's long been one of her major inspirations. "I chased that delivery man down, I was like, 'Sir, I need to send a thank you card,'" she says.

"It's so inspiring to have that ‘You did a good job.’ That one? It makes you feel like you can do anything. And it inspires me because I want to give that feeling to the next young girl who's in this," adds Jones. "I want to look at somebody and see me, see the hustle, see the passion, see the dedication and commend it. You know what I'm saying? It just changes your life."

Related: Coco Jones Says the Entertainment Industry Has 'Gotten Better' for 'Dark-Skinned Black Women' (Exclusive)

<p>Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings</p> Coco Jones

Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings

Coco Jones

During Jones' early years as a child star, she expected success and awards to come her way immediately. Looking back, however, she's glad the universe took her down a different path. "I don't think I would be able to hold all of this in such high esteem had it just kept going for me the way I assumed in my 13-year-old brain that it would," she says.

Since winning the Grammy, she's felt a boost in self-confidence. "I realized that the main constant in this whole thing is going to be me. People, concepts, relationships, it all changes all the time," says Jones, "and I'm still here."

In more recent studio sessions, the "Double Back" musician has found herself placing more value on how her time is spent. "We'll be writing a song and I'm like, 'The feeling is gone. We've got to stop. I'm sorry.' But EP girl would've been like, 'Oh my God, I don't want to say anything, because then they've already been putting all this time into it,'" she notes. "The feeling has to be there in every single thing that I do this time because it takes work."

Related: Coco Jones Perfectly Nails a Mariah Carey Impression and Whistle Note on 'Sherri'- Watch!

<p>Arturo Holmes/Getty Images</p> Coco Jones and Reneé Rapp at Coachella on April 21, 2024

Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Coco Jones and Reneé Rapp at Coachella on April 21, 2024

As Jones continues to forge her path in the music industry, she feels grateful to have peers like Victoria Monét and Reneé Rapp — with whom she recently performed a remix of "Tummy Hurts" at Coachella — to discuss the journey with. "We're in the same job," she says, "and we can relate to each other in ways that no one else can."

"I'm constantly trying to grow and really trying to figure this out, and so if I have some sort of information that maybe you've heard before or maybe you haven't, girl, I'm going to tell you because I want you to tell me everything," continues the performer. "It doesn't change where we're going to end up. It's going to be whatever it's going to be, but at least the process can be a little less hectic."

Currently, Jones is hard at work on her debut album in between shooting season 3 of Bel-Air, and she hopes to release the full-length project later this year. After embarking on her first tour in support of What I Didn't Tell You, she's inspired to make more uptempo music fit for choreography and high-energy performances. "I want to dance more," she teases. "I want my crowd to dance more."

<p>Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings</p> Coco Jones

Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings

Coco Jones

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When it comes to following up the massive success of the EP and "ICU," Jones certainly feels a bit of self-inflicted pressure. "I'm only human, so I wouldn't want to do anything less than what I've already done, but I'm only human, so I can't control any of it," she admits.

With a Grammy and co-signs from the likes of Beyoncé already under her belt, however, Jones is trying to trust the process. "I always say this to myself — the artists that I love, they were just doing them, and that's what works," she reflects. "So just do you, and let it be what it is."

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