Allen Stone on the Magic of Live Music, Recording In Sweden and Staying Humble
Atypicality goes one of the two ways in the music industry: Either you're left of center enough to fail or left of center enough to resonate with listeners. In the case of Allen Stone, the latter rang true. For the 26-year-old Northwest soul-leaning sensation, picking an alternative path was the only way he was ever going to make it, and finding national success while still unsigned allowed him to develop a modus operandi that kept the creative control in his corner regardless of his label situation. Now that he's landed on Capitol Records, however, he's happy to have the backing but still executes the executive decisions about his music.
"[On] the last record a lot of major labels wanted to get on board and I held them off because I didn't feel like it was the right time for me to jump," Stone says. "Nowadays, good music rises to the top more than ever. Obviously, there's big machines that get behind you and make that rise and ascension quicker, but it's a better time now than ever to be an artist. Getting word out now about your art is increasingly easier than it's even been."
Word spread about Stone's music like a wildfire, landing him slots on The Ellen Show and Conan O'Brian early on in his career. Maybe it's the youth that he seems to unwittingly inject into his sound or maybe it's the old-soul vibe to his lyricism, but there's something timeless and relative about his sound. Stone works hard to make sure there's no disparity between his studio material and his stage presence -- nothing less could be expected for a guy often labeled as one of those rare "pitch perfect" musicians. That live sound sentiment extends to Stone's personal philosophy on consuming music as well.
"I won't support an artist until I see them live, and I won't listen to their records before I see them live because if they can't compel me live, they don't deserve a chance to compel me on a record," he says. "That's why the majority of the content I've ever uploaded is all live because that's the only thing that matters anymore -- real live music. You can go in and make Lindsay Lohan sound like a singer and that girl is not a singer. You can do anything in the studio nowadays."
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