@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
11 May 2008
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South Carolina native, Angie Stone began singing at First Nazareth
Baptist Church as a child, and attended local gospel performances
by her father’s quartet and by the Singing Angels and the
Gospel Keynotes. She had a well grounded if uneventful childhood,
enjoyed sports and was offered several basketball scholarships upon
graduation. Her love of poetry was the only indication of the songwriter
she would someday become.
Stone saved every penny she could from a variety of go-nowhere
jobs to record some demos, and at age sixteen formed the rap trio,
The Sequence, with Gwendolyn Chisholm and Cheryl Cook…step
one on Angie’s climb to the top. Their hits for Sugarhill
Records, “Funk You Up,” “Funky Sound,” and
“I Don’t Need Your Love,” showcased Angie’s
vocal chops to the world beyond her Carolina home, and by the mid
‘80s she had worked with Mantronix and Lenny Kravitz and formed
the neo-soul trio Vertical Hold, who signed with A&M Records.
The Vertical Hold CD included the singles “Seems You’re
Much Too Busy,” and “ASAP,” and Stone had climbed
another rung on the music business ladder.
By the mid-‘90s Stone was working with Lenny’s cousin
Gerry Deveaux in Devox, recording one album, Devox Featuring Angie
B. Stone, released by Toshiba/EMI in Japan, AND she met her new
recording mentor, Clive Davis.
In 1999 Angie Stone released her much-heralded debut solo album,
Black Diamond, on Arista Records. For the hard-working singer/musician
it felt like she was nearing the top rung of the ladder.
The word on Stone’s Arista launch was that she was a modern
day-Aretha Franklin providing an exuberant return to classic soul
in the tradition of her heroes, Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Marvin
Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. She brought a whole new energy and sensibility
to the material and a whole new spectrum of fans joined the Angie
Stone fan club when they heard her Top 10 R&B hit “No
More Rain (In This Cloud).” “Black Diamond” was
followed by the J Records’ release “Mahogany Soul,”
“Stone Love,” and, a live recording of her greatest
hits, “Stone Hits”: The Very Best of Angie Stone. The
Arista/J Records CDs made Angie Stone a certified-gold CD artist,
a national and international star, and a much-in-demand guest on
the albums of her peers and friends. But Stone remained unfulfilled,
stuck on a plateau. She still had not reached the top of the ladder,
and felt like she was never going to get there. And then last year
(2007) Stone had a bout with congestive heart failure.
Enter Stanback and Stax Records, bringing with him a whole new
creative family for Angie Stone to call her own. The reactivated
Stax imprint, acquired by the Concord Music Group, is committed
to the power and legacy of its forbearers, and poised to be a dynamic
new force in contemporary R&B music. Stax holds a critical place
in American music history as one of the most popular soul music
record labels of all time — second only to Motown in sales
and influence, but first in gritty, raw, Southern-steeped soul music.
As one of the first major signings to the new Stax Records, Angie
Stone has found a home, and is diva-ready.
When Stax Records’ Collin Stanback entered Stone’s life,
she was feeling stalled in her career -- stuck at a plateau. The
opportunity he presented to her to be one of the debut artists on
the newly activated Stax label offered a challenge that she was
more than ready to take on. “The art of love and war”
was released in 2007.
“Collin made me stretch,” Angie Stones smiles.
“Well enough was definitely not good enough. He encouraged
me to go where he knew I could go. And even good enough was not
“I’m happy and I’m blessed. To me, this album
and this opportunity, is a rebirth. Everything in life is a journey,
and “The Art of Love and War” defines this time and
this place in my life.”