Watch: R&B legend Angie Stone gives advice on how to navigate the music industry
Written by B87FM on July 1, 2023
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R&B legend and actress Angie Stone has a new album out called “Love Language.” theGrio’s Eboni K. Williams talked to the singer about making the new album, working in television and film, and navigating the industry as a Black woman.
The following is a transcript of their conversation.
Toure [00:00:16] That’s Angie Stone’s “Wish I Didn’t Miss You” from her second album, “Mahogany Soul.” From “Black Brother” to “No More Rain,” Angie makes music you can feel in your bones. Here’s more of Eboni’s interview where Angie talks about her new album, “Love Language.”
Eboni K. Williams [00:00:33]: Not only, again, do you sing beautifully, you write beautifully, but you have also expanded beyond just that. You’ve been on Broadway, you’ve been in television and film. Where did the acting chops come from?
Angie Stone [00:00:48]: Well, I think when you’re a kid like myself, being an only child, you have the imagination of many things. I think that because I wasn’t certain just what I wanted to do, I decided that once I got into the entertainment field, I would master all of it because I never knew when I had to switch lanes, and switching lanes is what I do.
It’s my secret to me staying relevant. A lot of people want to know, ‘well Angie, how come, you know, you can do this and do that?’ It’s because I have the ability to walk away, do something else, think about what I want to come back with, and then just bring it.
Williams [00:01:28]: So Angie, I want to ask you a question that’s a little more, I don’t know — it just is unconventional. I just got back from seeing the Milli Vanilli documentary at Tribeca Film Festival, right, and there was a time in the industry where if you didn’t have a certain esthetic, a certain “commercial look” they used to call it, which was really just code for a “white look” or a “white acceptable, palatable look,” it would undermine the success of your career despite your musical gifts.
I want you to speak about if you had any experience with that and how important it was for the culture and the industry to see a beautiful, melanated Black woman with curves go still to the top of the charts?
Stone [00:02:13]: Well, I think it’s safe to ask me that because I’ve been down that road of up and down, the yo-yo syndrome, being overweight at times, and now you see me at my actual size. One of the things I can say is Adele cracked the gate open, and then Lizzo came and let it be known that.
The world is always talking about genders and who’s this and who’s that. The prejudice is in people in general because of music and because of the ability to do great music. It shouldn’t matter on how you look as long as you’re bringing the goods, but there is a very prejudiced nature in how one is accepted, perceived, and how they’re promoted.
I think that I’ve had my share of ups and downs, but to God be the glory, I don’t mean nothing shake me. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do because I’m a winner and can’t nobody stop me.
Williams [00:03:17]: No, no. The gifts will never be contained. So we love to see it, Miss Stone. Now you’ve got new music. Tell us about the new album.
Stone [00:03:26]: My new album is entitled “Love Language.” I almost didn’t do this album, but now it’s like one of my most favorite pieces of work. I’m in love with this album because for the longest time I stopped chasing what was hot and just did me. I wanted to do the thing that makes Angie stand out, and that’s just being who I am.
Singing about things I feel and being very, very transparent. One of the things that make me who I am is the transparency. So the album, I absolutely love it with Musiq Soulchild called “The Gym.” That’s off the chain. I worked with Teak Tyler, Xavier and Candice, and Walter Millsap. These people have shaped and carved out a masterpiece for this project. “Love language” is off the chain.
Williams [00:04:28]: Amazing. So before we let you go, Angie Stone, this industry has changed a great deal since you made your debut with Black Diamond. When you talk to young artists, especially young women, Angie, what advice do you give them for how to navigate this particular industry?
Stone [00:04:46]: Well, I would say to young women — and not just young women, young men as well — if you can dream, I’m a dreamer, if you can touch it, believe in it. You can achieve it. I just believe that you mustn’t follow anybody’s lead.
You have to create your own path and your own journey, because I believe that, you know, you are the next big thing and a lot of people will support you as long as they see that you are an individual, independent artist that’s striving to do something great. Both my kids are in music and people say, “well, you just didn’t put them on.”
It would be too easy if I just gave it to them. They have to work for it, learn the value and appreciate it. So I would advise any artist up-and-coming, value what you do. Appreciate it. Work hard and then you won’t squander it.
Toure [00:05:40]: The video for the song “Love the Feeling” from Angie’s new studio album “Love Language” is out now. Thank you, Angie Stone, for stopping by and talking to theGrio.
Check out the full clip above and tune into “theGrio with Eboni K. Williams” at 6 p.m. ET every weeknight on theGrio cable channel.
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