[MUSIC] Angie Stone: The Rebirth
As a music lover, there’s no way you don’t know the name Angie Stone. Spending much of her life entertaining you and I with her soulful catalog, Starting first in 1979 with The Sequence, Angie (then known as Angie B.); along with group members Cheryl Cook & Gwendolyn Chisolm, release the hit single “Funk You Up”, which today, we’ve heard in hit singles from Dr. Dre (Keep Their Heads Ringing) and Erykah Badu (Love of My Life - Worldwide Remix). She also spent time working with Mantronix, and as a member of Vertical Hold (they had the hit single “Seems You’re Much Too Busy”), before ultimately setting out on her own. Stone has led an unparalleled solo career that any growing artist would long for. In a flash, that was almost taken away as a result of drama, and what Angie herself chalks up to pure “foolishness”.
In this exclusive, Angie shows us just how some of her most documented struggles nearly ended her career, which has span for more than three decades. She also stands firmly as a living witness that through God, all things are possible, and through prayers, and a few encouraging words, things can definitely turn around in a positive way.
Finally, we take a look at her new album, “Dream”, which is due in stores November 6 through a newly sealed deal between Shanachie, Conjunction Entertainment, and TopNotch Music. This deal has caused a rebirth in Angie that fans will most definitely recognize and love.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity in speaking with you today. I spoke to you about 8 years ago for the release of The Art of Love and War, so it gives me joy to catch you once again got your new album. Thank you so much for today.
Angie stone: Thank you so much for having the patience to be with me.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Patience is an important virtue. So many people love what you do, including me, and I’ve followed you for so long. Music has been instilled in me my entire life, so knowing your music as a child, seeing your debut in 1999, and all that was to follow, I’m immensely grateful for your teachings. When we saw you on reality television, it was evident that your knowledge spans wide.
Angie Stone: Thank you, and I appreciate that because it’s been a long time.
Urban Grandstand Digital: But there’s something to be said in the fact that you’re still here, and people still are running to see you and get your music. It’s divine, and meant to be.
Angie Stone: Absolutely. It’s been a long time since I put out the kind of music I’m completely happy with. But it’s been a long time since people have been aware, like this, that I have new music coming.
Urban Grandstand Digital: They know now though. Your single is booming, and it’s a testament to your strength.
Angie Stone: That’s good to know. I’m glad we’re making a dent in things these days.
Urban Grandstand Digital: You’re doing more that that, and you have come so far in your career. You've done some amazing things in music and so many people, including artists, look up to you in unimaginable ways. I look at some of there quotes out there from powerful people, like Faith Evans, Al Green, Ledisi, and so on. Many are legends themselves, and others continue to strive just like you. How does that make you feel, considering the work you've put in for well over 30 years?
Angie Stone: I feel good and grateful that my peers, even when it doesn't seem I get he recognition I deserve, it’s those people who step up to the plate and hit the ball to make it so worth it. That respect the caliber of work that I do.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I know our time is short, and I definitely want the rundown of your new album, which I've heard and absolutely love all the way through. But I first want to talk briefly about your tour. You were here in Cleveland this past Friday. How did you enjoy your show?
Angie Stone: That was really great. Mitchell’s is a very nice spot that I would recommend to anyone that’s grown and sexy. I think they have what it takes to be that hot spot. They were wanting me because I hadn’t been to Cleveland in years. To play with a band as good as they were was amazing. Not knowing how they would accept the new music was scary, but I pulled it off.
Urban Grandstand Digital: There were so many people I spoke to beforehand who were really anticipating you being here. You definitely have that effect on music lovers, and I think that in addition to the obvious, which is the quality, passion, and substance of your music, you have a personality that will win anybody over. What's the one thing that stood out the most about Mitchell's and the show?
Angie Stone: I think people realized I was reachable. I think they enjoyed that.
Urban Grandstand Digital: That speaks to my next statement. Obviously, Mitchell's is more of an intimate setting where you're up close and personal with your audience. Do you enjoy that more than say...performing in a large arena or venue?
Angie Stone: Yes, I love being up close and personal.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I think that’s what people loved about you being there.
Angie Stone: Right. That’s what I love doing.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I know you're now with Shanachie, which I think is perfect. Looking at their artists, they really get it more than the average recording label. It’s the perfect vibe. Working with Walter Millsap of Conjunction Entertainment is amazing as well. What prompted the change?
Angie Stone: What prompted the change was I had given up. I was done and through. I was tired, and Walter Millsap had a dream. He said God had given him this dream. He called and basically said he had to do this project for me.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I think it’s great, but why were you don? even the love people have for you, what took you to that point?
Angie Stone: I didn’t have a deal. I had been out of the loop for about 2 years, and the last two records I did, nobody knew they were out. They were good albums, and the negative energy from the press based on the incident with my daughter, it was one of those things where they only had half of the story. They didn’t care, and I thought they were trying to beat me down. At that point, I said I wasn’t going to worry about it. I had several shows scheduled to play, and they all cancelled because of the incident. I was tired. I was done. I worked hard all my life, and at this point in my life to take care of my family. I have sunk every dime of my money into my family and here I was, unable to get a job because of some foolishness. I felt thrown away. I had given up and felt tired. That was when Walter stepped in. People ask me how I came up with the name Dream, it came from the dream he had. The second thing I learned was it wasn’t me. It was God all along, because I stopped fighting and trying. i didn’t care, and when I did that, God took over. Now I know the true meaning of the open Footprints.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I’m so glad you’re here, and I know others are too. I understand where you come from, and that feeling of “what’s the point”. The negativity can push anyone to that level, but there’s so many people who are grateful for your presence.
Angie Stone: Oh yes, because based on what happened with my daughter and I, which was completely a lie, people don’t want to know the truth. They would rather have a ratchet, dirty lie. As a result, they’ve developed a show, not about my daughter and I, but a show on Oxygen called ‘Stop Giving Your Mama Drama”. It’s all about young women who disrespect and fight their mothers. If you see it, you would just be embarrassed.
Urban grandstand Digital: There’s a lot of television that makes you feel that way though. It’s not even just that idea, but even looking at R&B Divas. So much negativity came from the show, and the things we saw were crazy. I remember being glad that you left.
Angie Stone: I left because they were trying to discredit us as black women, make us fight with each other, and they were depositing mess. Even with the lights and cameras weren’t rolling, I was making these girls aware of what they were doing. My kind of honesty was what they didn’t want, so what they did was try and assassinate my character at that point and get me off the show. We have to be responsible and accountable for the signals we put out there and the lives that we’re responsible for are the young women who look up to us. So I said OK, I quit. I could not go another season and allow them to tear down my character. They asked me to come on because they wanted me to mentor the girls, but as you can see they were being disrespectful to me. The very first day I was on there, Keke got smart with me and called me out my name. I said oh no. She ended up walking out with me, believe it or not.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I’m happy that you left. We do a lot of things in the name of reality Tv for the sake of building ourselves, but we end up tearing ourselves and each other down. There’s so much negativity that comes from it when everyone should be able to capitalize from it, in my mind, and a lot of it seemed shady. A lot of people are glad you walked way because it damages the legacy you built.
Angie Stone: Thank you so much, I appreciate that.
Urban Grandstand Digital: In regards to your new deal, I have to ask this because to me, you're a vet in this business. You are at a level and caliber that at the drop of a dime, you can run this all with the knowledge you have. What do you look for in a label at this stage of your career? Can a typical label do more for Angie Stone that was she could do alone?
Angie Stone: Right now, I’m starting my own label. When you start your label, it takes capital. One of the things I managed to do very weak is spend my money because I take care of 6 people: my mom, my two children, my two grandchildren, and I buried my father, so 5 now. Things have spiraled up and down. You can imagine putting two kids through college, having one in grammar school, and just the finances of all these people. like Fantasia and a lot of the rest, taking care of family is a lot. I have one act that I managed and represent, and I have to pay for their everything right now. So when you talk about what a label can do for me, it’s about capital. What I can do for myself now, they better watch out.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I think you make perfect sense. You need that capital.
Angie Stone: That’s it.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I’m eager for the album to drop. I think it’s so good. Was there any pressure in your process?
Angie Stone: I cut two songs a night (laughing). It made my head spin.
Urban Grandstand Digital: That speaks to your talent and skills, and the things you can do. It’s great because people now get to hear the music. We’ve run 2 Bad Habits on the site for just over a week, and the response is great. The album will do very well. People will surely know about this release.
Angie Stone: Like I said, I thank you all. You know I’m here. I love your spirit and you keep it one hundred.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I appreciate that. You do too though. When we last spoke, we talked about health, and at the time you had recently been diagnosed with diabetes prompting some changes, and I too had recently lost over a hundred pounds. You said some things to me that were so encouraging, and I always remember that. You’re spirit is great too. I appreciate everything. Now in addition to your tour, what else are you doing promotionally?
Angie Stone: I’m doing a play in Columbus, GA with my son and daughter. It’s called spare the rod for a child. We’re getting ready to start working on that. There’s also a lot of possibilities in television.
Urban Grandstand Digital: What's the one thing you want people to get from this album? What should they walk away thinking or feeling?
Angie Stone: That I still got it. I want them to know you can do anything you want when you put your mind to it. nothing can stop you. Age ain’t nothing but a number.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Finally can you plug your website and social Media accounts? It looked like there were multiple accounts floating around.
Angie Stone: Right. What happened was with a new label, they start their own websites and accounts. The old labels don’t want to give up the codes when you leave them. I’ve been exposed to many of those, so we had to start new accounts. So they are all “TheAngieStone” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Thank you so much. The album, as I said is great, and I’m so grateful to you.
Angie Stone: Thank you. Take Care!
Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the video above for 2 Bad Habits. Then take a look at the *Behind The Scenes* view of the video below!