Angie Stone: The soul star on Trayvon Martin, the meaning of Rich Girl, and why she'd make the perfect Gladys Knight on film

 

You've sung about the challenges facing young black men in America. As a mother, how did you react to the Trayvon Martin case?

Oh, I didn't do well with it at all. I have a son, so it just changed everything, those few days. Even at 16 or 15 or 14, they're still our babies. They're still young, they're still very impressionable and they've got to find their way, yet can be so misunderstood. As a mum, I couldn't imagine my son having to come up against that kind of stuff: being killed because of something so simple.

Did it affect your view of the US?

We've lived through a lot – the march and Martin Luther King and so many other things. Even though we've had change to some degree, we still look for things to be a lot different to how they are. It reminds us we still have so far to go.

You've said that you felt some people misinterpreted the message of Rich Girl, your last studio album...

Rich Girl, from a spiritual point of view, for me is about being rich in life, rich in love, rich in all the things that come for free. Everything else that comes with a price, you've got to work for. But the richest things are things you're born with – and those are the things that I live for.

What do you make of all the Nike and Coke tie-ins that mark a lot of modern hip-hop?

Consumerist messages and all of the endorsements are great for the artists themselves. But if we get so consumed with just that, and don't get beyond it, then the only people who are benefiting are the creatives of Pepsi, the creatives of Coke, the creatives of all these things that we're trying to sell.

You've posted a YouTube tribute to Gladys Knight and people on Twitter are calling for you to play her in a biopic. Is she a big hero?

When I was young, I started singing songs that matched my voice. But when I heard "Misty Blue"... [singing] "Oh, it's been such a long, long time"... my voice sounded so much like hers... [singing] "That I just can't get you off my mind... Misty Blue" – it was like bingo, Gladys Knight, that was me.

There are probably young girls in their bedrooms now singing Angie Stone, thinking the same thing. It must be nice to pass that on.

There might be a couple of little girls who say, "Hey, that's the sound of my voice, I like the sound of my voice". It was very natural for me, I would gravitate to these women. Which is why people started saying, "Oh my god, she should play Gladys Knight". And now I've lost the weight, I must look like 25 or 30 years old!

On that note, what's beauty?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – I couldn't say it better. But a beautiful spirit, a beautiful energy – I don't think that anything else is very important. When you have all the qualities that make a person feel beautiful, the outer beauty is just the icing on the cake. If the inside of the cake is not good, the whole cake is bad.

You've been on the scene since the early Eighties. How have you stayed relevant?

By not falling into the trap of being something you're not. I think there's a natural progression that comes with age. But when we grow old, we must remember that times change, things rearrange, money gets funny and things go strange.

Biography

Angie Stone, aged 52, is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter. She has sold over five million albums worldwide, with hits such as “Wish I Didn’t Miss You”. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her son and partner, and returns to the UK later this month for dates in London, Manchester and Brighton

News

literature

News
Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.

television

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss