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Angie Stone gets real: ‘They better call me for ‘Empire’



Angie Stone is one of the most respected soul singers of her generation. With a litany of hits like “No More Rain In This Cloud” and “Brotha,” the diva has established herself as a singer and songwriter capable of tremendous range and depth. She’s readying her latest project, Dream, for release this November and she spoke to rolling out about how at peace she feels with her place in music while also admitting that she needed a new kind of collaborative energy this time around.

“Angie Stone is right where she needs to be — on the radio,” she says emphatically. “I think so many people take for granted that they only get one shot. God is not done with me yet. I think this is an awesome album and I think for the first time, I’m with the right people at the right time in my life. And this album dictates that. Again, reinventing yourself and coming back every time with a home run is a blessing and it’s great that God has made it possible for me to do that.

“When I say the right team, I don’t just mean the production. I think my songs have always been on point,” she adds. “But I think the people in a position to work together, from the management to the production team, all of the players are in high places. As opposed to me having a no-frills team. I call them a ‘no frills’ team because I’m the kind of person that always wants to give someone else a shot. I take the underdog and make them top dogs and they forget about me. You have one of my managers — Breyon Prescott — who’s now VP at Epic Records. I’m probably the biggest artist he’s ever managed, I helped him get Jamie Foxx. And voila, he’s now moved into a top position. When they become top dogs, it’s easy to forget about how you got started. Not to say he’s doing that, but I’m just making an example. I have the right team at the right time, I finally have some players who don’t need me but know that I need them. As a result, they are offering whatever legacy they have created.”

The tracks on Dream are a combination of Stone’s ongoing devotion to classic soul sounds but presented in a thoroughly contemporary setting. Working with Walter Millsap III of Conjunction Entertainment, the South Carolina native was able to push herself into a new musical space while also marveling at how well the new aesthetics fit.

“It’s almost like I’m in a well and somebody threw me a rope rather than let me drown,” she explains. “And that’s because somebody did that for them. Walter Millsap, the brainchild behind Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna. He doesn’t need an Angie Stone. But it does his soul good to have an Angie Stone, because she’s the one that everybody screwed over and forgot about. Now it’s not about how well you sing or how well you do what you do; it’s who you know. I’m in a good position because I know the right people.”

There is no slowing down Angie Stone. She’s clearly reinvigorated by her new project and her ambition has shown no signs of flagging. Tracks like “Dollar Bill” and “2 Bad Habits” are among the most inspired tunes she’s ever recorded. Also, she has other goals within her reach. Stone was recently profiled for BET/Centric’s series “Being” and she has her eyes set on another kind of TV show.

“They better call me for ‘Empire’!” she says with a laugh. “They better call me! If they don’t, I’m going to get it myself. I just made my assistant directorial debut on an indie film and I’m really excited about that. They need to come on with it. I ain’t tootin’ my horn. But it’s crazy — when you work this hard, I can show you better than I can tell you. Gonna come from left field and kick ‘em in the shin!”