Interview: Angie Stone
The Wrap Up’s Ra’ed Poetical recently caught up with the modern day queen of soul Angie Stone straight after her one-off show at the o2. The pair discussed her highly-anticipated album ‘Rich Girl’, how she felt about Amy Winehouse being a huge fan of hers and why soul music will never die...
TWU: Welcome back Angie! We’re glad to have you here. You have a new single called ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ - what’s the concept behind the track?
Angie Stone: ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ is a positive, inspirational song that says no matter what it is; whether you’re up against challenges or trying to get your dreams and aspirations met, you should do what whatever you have to do shy of killing yourself or someone else.
TWU: Your new album, ‘Rich Girl’ is due in September. What is behind the name?
Angie Stone: There’s a song on it called ‘Rich Girl’ and the hook goes, “If I had a dollar for every time you lied, I would be a rich girl.” I think people’s perception of a rich girl is literal, but metaphorically I embrace it as being rich in love, spirit, joy and religion. So it’s not about money.
TWU: Another track on the new album is a track called ‘Sisters Together’ featuring R&B singer Tweet. Would you say this is signalling her comeback?
Angie Stone: It was a song I started working on with Y’anna Crawley and I invited Tweet to be a part of it. We all wrote our own verses and I structured the song, the music and the concept - my daughters are also on the song… I think Tweet is doing her own album. I don’t think she ever went away, in my opinion she’s one of the best soul artists around.
TWU: Throughout your career you’ve always been uplifting and positive with your messages. How do you feel about being a role model for young women?
Angie Stone: It feels great to be a role model and I'm very careful with the things I do. I'm not perfect, I do make a lot of mistakes, but I try my best. God says to whom much is given to, much is required. I'm expected to do what’s right; I want to leave a legacy of positivity behind.
TWU: We love that. As a legend in the game, what are your current thoughts on the current state of R&B and soul?
Angie Stone: My opinion really floats back and forth because with changing times, music will change from where it is now. I'm just grateful that soul music is here to stay. The reason I say that is because they always say it is dead; they said it was dead when Aretha Franklin put out ‘Respect’ and when Marvin Gaye came out with ‘What’s Going On’ – generations later we’re still listening to Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. Now there is Mary J Blige, Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Tweet and Gladys Knight; we are still around. It proves to me that real soul music never dies.
TWU: Are there any UK artists that you listen to?
Angie Stone: I love Omar, I love Carl McIntosh and I absolutely loved Soul II Soul. One of my favourite unsung heroes is Mica Paris; I think she is an amazing artist. I think Estelle is good and so is Adele. I think all of them are good, but I think there’s so many here that are waiting for their breakout moment. I really want to start up a record label here in the UK, since I got signed here. I would like to champion some of the artists that never get heard.
TWU: Speaking of the UK, we recently marked the one year anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death. She was a fan of yours; how did that impact you?
Angie Stone: It’s so crazy, because I have a song on my album that I would call my 'Amy Winehouse song' because she has inspired me and she was a huge Angie Stone fan. I never got to meet her face-to-face, but I would have loved to collaborate with her because she was just amazing. I did the song ‘I Just Can’t Take It In’ when I was in the studio and I thought “Wow, this is something Amy Winehouse would do” and I couldn’t wait for her to hear it. Of course, when I heard she had died I was just devastated. I was devastated because I loved her, but even more so because I had actually worked on something with the embodiment of her spirit before she left and she didn’t get to hear it.
TWU: Finally, you’ve given us so many gifts throughout your career. What can we expect this year from Angie Stone?
Angie Stone: ‘Rich Girl’ is to be expected this year. I did 17 songs for the album; some of them are not on it any more. I poured my heart and soul into the project because when I left J Records, people may have thought that I had thrown the towel in. But I went over to Stax and I debuted with a number one album. It is my first breakaway from J Records! I did a one album deal with Stax and here I am on my next leg of records with another label, already championing a song that is heading for number one. I would say that there’s still so much more to come from me.
For more on Angie, follow her on Twitter.
Words by Ra’ed Poetical (@MrPoetical)