Singers Soundoff: Allen Stone

Contact: Josh Page
jpage@shorefire.com
Website: allenstone.com

 

The energy you get from an Allen Stone performance is infectious and steeped in a heavy dose of classic R&B, jazz, funk and soul. The spirited singer-songwriter has released four albums, with his latest being Building Balance (ATO Records). Aside from chart-topping singles and sold out concerts, Stone has made some memorable appearances in recent years on TV via The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Daryl Hall’s Live from Daryl’s House.

Vocal Background
My folks were ministers so we all sang as a family growing up. When you grow up singing in church, you’re singing at least twice a week. Other than that I was just listening to records and trying to mimic what I was hearing.

Early Influences
I was getting into music when I was around 11 or 12. I was picking up my dad’s guitar and kinda learning some songs on it. Weezer and Red Hot Chili Peppers were popular at the time. When I was 15 or 16 I got into hip-hop artists like Common and Q Tip. And then a buddy of mine showed me a bunch of Stevie Wonder albums and I got hooked on it. I started discovering similar artists like Gladys Knight, Donny Hathaway and all the quality stuff.

Warm-up Routine
I do a breathing exercise I learned from my buddy Andrew McMahon when I toured with him. It was made famous by this German guy named Wim Hof. It’s essentially 30 deep breaths through the nose in succession. And on the 30th breath you breathe it all out and hold it for a minute and a half. Do that three times. By the last round it’s pretty amazing how lifted you feel. And then I follow that with a vocal warm-up in the baritone realm. I do another round of breathing and then I do a tenor warm-up. If I’m not up to my neck in other stuff, to do that would be my preferred exercise before a show.

Vocal Support
The most important thing on the road is sleep. Anything under six hours and you’ll be fighting that fatigue. I try to drink a lot of water throughout the day. Throat Coat, with a little lemon and honey, is a wonderful thing for the voice and the cords.

Best Career Advice
When I started out I was kind of a traditionalist and kind of an old soul. I was sort of opposed to using the internet to connect with fans. I had a friend who was in publishing and the music game for a long time. A few years ago he sat me down and said, “Al, it’s not the focus, it’s not the music, but it’s another dimension to this universe that you’ve created. And if you utilize it really well you can say anything you want, you can express yourself any way you want and it can be a very useful asset.” That really stuck with me. So, play out as much as you can, play in front of as many real people as you can and get good on the internet. •

 

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