Allen Stone, a Man with a Message and a Voice
April 11, 2013
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Up-and-coming soul singer Allen Stone, who has earned praise from the likes of USA Today and The New York Times, is busy on a worldwide tour but will soon find his way to Whitman for a show in the Reid Ballroom. The Pioneer caught up with him on the phone to get to know him before his performance on April 11 at 8 p.m.
The Pioneer: How did you get started with music?
Allen: I started singing in my dad’s church and picked up a guitar soon after that.
Pio: How did singing in church influence you as an artist?
Allen: It taught me to feel music. It showed me the passion of live music and the energy it can create.
Pio: What music did you listen to growing up?
Allen: I started with Christian music when I was young, then Cake and Dave Matthews Band when I was 10 or 11. Then I got into Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and soul music, and it’s been soul music ever since.
Pio: The R&B/soul genre has gotten pretty diverse today; how do you see yourself fitting into it?
Allen: I don’t really care about genres. There’s a lot about my music that doesn’t fit into genres, but I’m used to not fitting in. I’m a white kid from the wilderness of eastern Washington who makes music that black people usually make.
Pio: So without the crutch of using genres, how would you describe your music?
Allen: I would say to just go listen to it, define it yourself. Music is made by individuals, not corporations, so it can’t be defined by genre.
Pio: You’ve been on a few late night shows and have played at some big festivals. What do you think has been your breakout moment?
Allen: I haven’t had that moment yet. I’ve had some cool opportunities that have led to other cool opportunities, but I haven’t broken out and become a worldwide household name.
Pio: Is that your goal, to become a worldwide household name?
Allen: Yeah, I wouldn’t be talking to you about genres if I didn’t want to be a household name. I feel that I have a good perspective on life and I want to share that. R&B right now is all about sex and partying, and I want to make it mean something like Marvin Gaye did with “What’s Going On.” I don’t do it to have people throw flowers at my feet, but when I’m dead I want to have left a legacy. I want to bring music to the place it belongs. There’s so much terrible music these days. Your voice is a gift, and I think if you aren’t using it to uplift culture, then it should be ripped from your throat.
Pio: Do you ever get tired of people who talk about how your appearance doesn’t match up with your voice?
Allen: I think it’s a little bit racist, to be honest. Racism towards Caucasians in this country seems to be okay for some reason. A lot of people have described my music as “blue-eyed soul,” which I don’t get. I’m making music, and my eye color and skin color shouldn’t have anything to do with it.
Pio: What do you have planned next?
Allen: A bunch of touring for the rest of this year, and after that I’ll hop in the studio and work on my next album.