Award-winning R&B artist Angie Stone stopped by the District last week to perform at the Park at Fourteenth. Niteside caught up with the singing sensation and chatted with her about soul music, celebrity fit club, and protecting her image.
Many have referred to you as the Queen of Neo Soul since you came onto the scene -- do you still agree with that?
No, I don't. I'm an advocate for soul music and I'm a seasoned artist. However, there's only one queen and that's Ms. Aretha Franklin.
You've put out a few projects in the last few years, but they haven't received a lot of radio play. Why do you think that is?
The state of the industry has made us all so fickle that we're categorized by radio. It's really a sign of the times we're in. The same kind of music is being played, and if one big radio station says something is hot, then that's the only thing that gets played. It's a domino effect. I've put out some incredible songs that got no airplay at all and it's unfortunate.
As someone who's been featured in a few films and primetime shows, what do you prefer, acting or singing?
I really like them both. I started out acting in plays when I was younger, so it has always been a passion of mine. However, the one that's worked out the best for me has been singing. I've had such a successful 30-year run. They're both rewarding passions.
Speaking of TV, you were a castmember on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club." Would you do another reality show?
No, I would not a show of that nature. A lot of these shows are so jaded and so centered in drama. If it were something of that level of competition where you're disrespecting others or putting them down, no, I wouldn't participate.
You've spoken out about living with diabetes and knowing the early signs. Do you think you're doing better dealing with it?
Yes, I do. Living with diabetes is tough, but you just have to trust God. Black women are especially subjective to the disease so we have to pay attention and have a frame of mind that you'll live better. I could have avoided being a diabetic, but unfortunately I just didn't have the information back then like we do now. There are so many avenues to learn so there's really no excuse not to take care of you.
In today's 24-hour news cycle, how do you continue to stay relevant without getting in trouble?
I'd tell rising artists to look at the position that God has put you in. Look at it from [the position] that He gave you this gift and he can take it away form you. One hit record is not a lifetime of hit records. As an artist, you're not always going to run into positive media and I know for sure that I'm not perfect. But anything I've ever done has been done from the most diligent space from my heart and my soul. Any time I step out of line, I backslide and that's never good. If you want to have longevity, you have to have self-respect. I know that what is for me is for me.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want my children to be proud that I represented them like a lady at all times.
[This interview was conducted prior to Angie Stone's arrest in Georgia Sunday morning. Her rep told TMZ that Stone had a prior speeding ticket that went unpaid due to a move, and Stone had been unaware that her license was suspended as a result. TMZ reports:
"We're told Angie has since paid the ticket -- and is currently in the process of tying up any other legal loose ends."]