Soul and Stone – R&B/Soul artist Allen Stone and his unique path to fame in the music industry
R&B/Soul singer Allen Stone has turned down big bucks from record labels to seek more appreciative audiences.
“The vision that I have is finding the people that will follow me places,” Stone said. “We got a chance to open for the Dave Matthews band at the Gorge for three days in a row and everybody I met was from somewhere different. And it is really, really something special to see people come out for a weekend to go camp in the desert just to experience a concert. And they’ll do it year after year after year. And those are the sort of people I want to have. People who really and truly appreciate what I do live.”
Stone made his own way in the music business. His self-titled album peaked at the number two spot on the R&B/Soul charts on iTunes in 2011. USA Today called Stone a “pitch-perfect powerhouse” and Esquire, CNN, and Billboard have all named Stone as an artist to watch.
“My dad was a minister, so I grew up singing since I was two years old in the church and I really just gained a love of it through that,” Stone said. “I started writing songs when I was about thirteen or fourteen.”
On Sept.18, Stone gave a free concert for U of I students in the SUB ballroom with Bart Budwig, a folk and country singer, opening.
“I loved how Allen Stone split the audience for a dance off in the middle of the concert. You could feel the energy in the room. Like he said, everyone was there to have a good time and that’s what we did,” sophomore Shelby Donald said.
Stone’s first song he wrote had a much smaller audience.
“I think I was thirteen and I wrote a stupid little love song for a girlfriend at the time,” Stone said. “I think I sang it over the phone to her or something.”
Stone dropped out of college in order to move to Seattle and pursue a career in music.
“Moving to the big city, which was Seattle, was kind of scary,” Stone said. “But I’ve always taken the side that I would rather do something incredible than nothing at all.”
Stone’s inspiration to follow his passions came from his upbringing.
“I grew up watching my father cry on the pulpit and really have a passion for what he did. My mother was an OBGYN and she loved babies. And I saw that in both of my parents,” Stone said.
Stone is donating $.50 of each ticket from his next show to the Keep a Breast Foundation.
“My mom is three years in remission from breast cancer,” Stone said. “When I was 22, she was diagnosed and I moved from Seattle back home to help care for my two younger sisters. I’ve been incredibly blessed over this past year — blessings I don’t deserve, and it almost seems wrong and improper to not take those blessings and not reflect to other things.”
Aleya Ericson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.