Angie Stone is one of those seasoned artists who knows what she wants. She’s been in the game for over 35 years and six solo albums, but don’t call her a veteran, honey! She’s still on top of the charts and taking names. Having worked with everyone who’s anyone, including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys (to name a few), her talents don’t stop at just music, she’s also branched out into film, television, and theater.
Now with new label home Shanachie Entertainment and TopNotch Music, the soulstress is primed to drop her new album Dream, the premiere single being “2 Bad Habits,” the follow-up to her 2012 LP Rich Girl.
In our recent talk with Stone, she revealed that the past few years have been dicey for her, and Dream almost didn’t come to pass. She also talked to us about how the relationship status between her and her daughter after a very public fight earlier this year. We touched on many other topics, including the state of hip-hop (as she was a member of one of the first all-lady rap groups The Sequence), and community unity.
Dream will arrive sometime in November. Purchase “2 Bad Habits” on iTunes above and peep our insightful interview with Ms. Stone below.
Tell us about your forthcoming album Dream.
The name Dream is an odd name for me, because it’s very simple and I’m usually a little more creative than that, but it came because [music exec/producer] Walter [Millsap III] had a dream where I had given up all my dreams, and he had a dream to do another project with me, and I didn’t see it as clearly as he did. So I trusted him and said ‘just do what you will and we’ll see how it comes out.’ And to my surprise, it’s an amazing project.
How does it compare to your previous albums?
I think every one of my albums has a different comparison. I was in a whole other space with Rich Girl. I was in a very depressed state with Dream and wasn’t something I was looking forward to doing whereas I really put a lot of heart and soul into the work with Rich Girl.
Your single “2 Bad Habits” touches on the inner weaknesses we all have, especially when it comes to being addicted to certain people in our lives. What are some of your real life bad habits?
If I tell you all my bad habits I’ll be hurting myself (laughs). Yeah, I would like to think some of my bad habits are someone else’s good fortune. One of the things sis I’m too trusting, too giving. I go to the extreme, and I give others a chance to take advantage of my kindness and I think that’s a very bad habit.
You swapped lives with Laila Ali on Celebrity Wife Swap, which premiered earlier this year. On the show, you vowed to change eating habits after witnessing Ali’s healthy lifestyle. Is that one of your bad habits that you’re working on?
Well, I always eat healthy, you can’t believe everything you see on TV. One thing’s for certain; my diabetes is hereditary. I’m probably one of the healthiest eaters in my family. I’ve never been a junk food binger. However, I will say that when I do cook, I don’t cook as unhealthy as television made me look (laughs). But I can have my moments where I go over the top. One thing, I love yams. I know I shouldn’t eat yams, but every three months I might eat yams. So it all depends on who you are, and how you look at and believe whatever TV says. I’m a firm believer now that the world lives under a cloud and the cloud being controlled by others who have the ability to mind-screw us, and that’s what I think happens in the real world. If you believed everything you heard, you would believe I really knocked my daughter’s teeth out, and I didn’t do that either, but television is cruel and sometimes the media can be insensitive and go overboard. They’ll do anything for a story these days.
Yes, I was going to ask you about that. How’s the relationship between you and your daughter now?
Great, me and my daughter rare in a very good place; she’s doing her thing, I’m doing mine, and we’re getting there.
You were a part of the first female rap group The Sequence. How do you feel about today’s hip-hop?
I think hip-hop is evolving. I can’t say anting bad about it cause when we were doing it, the barriers of language were so different. Back then, we would never curse, we would never get away with the things they get away with now. The state of hip-hop music in my opinion is that it’s evolving into something a lot more risqué, but it is what it is. As we continue to live, life causes us to face a lot of things that I don’t think we prepared to deal with properly. When we look at some of the black killings with regards to these young men that are being hurt by police brutality, one would say we’ve digressed and gone back to the 60s. It’s just now we’ve been so far removed from it, and so reliant on the dream the Martin Luther King Jr. set forth that we forgot about everything, the core value about what his sacrifice was for, and now we find ourselves back in that place. But I’m not sure we’re able to do what they did in the 60s, and that’s come together.
Maybe through the music, more artists will become more socially aware and address those issues through the music.
Let’s pray that that happens.
How did your contribution singing "Love TKO" on Teddy Pendergrass’ posthumous Duets, Love and Soul album come about?
Yeah, they approached me with it and I’ll have to tell you, that the result was very disheartening for me because whoever the mix engineer was blew the vocals into the wrong track, and to me it was completely out of key. And actually, I had a big fallout with the label for allowing it to go out that way. And they pulled it back I think, and here we are right now trying to figure out where we go from here.
As a veteran in the industry, what advice do you have for new and aspiring artists?
Never let the word “veteran” stop you from being who you are. As a veteran, I’m still very relevant, and I’m proof that music and sound and voices are timeless. I think when we put limitations on ourselves, we, as a black community are the only race of people that do that, so my advice is to block your ears from the bull. I’m living proof that you don’t have to adhere to what is being said or trying to milk us by thinking we’re too old to do anything. When you talk rock n roll, The Rolling Stones are older than time, but no one in the genre gives a sh*t cause they still The Rolling Stones no matter what. So you cannot devalue who you are cause you think you’re in a race against the clock. A lot of these artists are killing themselves trying to get to a famous spot cause they think they have a time clock that limits them. You can’t believe everything you hear.