Video: USA TODAY's StudioA debuts with Allen Stone
Posted November 12, 2012
USA TODAY's StudioA,a recurring video series showcasing noteworthy emerging artists, kicks off its inaugural show with soul singer Allen Stone, who stopped by to play a few tunes before his recent concert at Washington's 9:30 Club.Stone is, in a word, surprising. With his curly blond hair, goofy glasses and thrown-together sense of style, Stone, 24, looks more like an indie rocker. And then he opens his mouth, and out comes a voice that goes back to the early days of soul.
"I grew up singing," he says. "My dad was a minister, and I sang at church picnics. Then, when I was about 16, someone gave me Stevie Wonder's Innervisions album. And that was it. I wanted to be a soul singer.
"I dove into Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. "And I really learned how to sing by mimicking them. No one listened to soul music in my town. No one gave voice lessons, so I learned from those records."
When he was 19, he piled his records and acoustic guitar into his Buick LeSabre and moved to Seattle, where he played at coffee shops, anywhere he could. Fast forward to now, and the singer has a full backing band, has appeared on Conan O'Brien's Conan, is set to play Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night, goes on the road with Daryl Hall and Sharon Jones next month (April 11-21), and kicks off his first world tour March 30 in Cape Town, South Africa. In August, he sets out on the road with the Dave Matthews Band for the West Coast portion of the group's tour.
He's achieved all this without the backing of a record label: Both of his albums were self-released.
His growing popularity aside, Stone is just focused on the music. "Any time I get to play live, I'm ecstatic."
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