Angie Stone Biography 1961-
Angela Laverne Brown was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1961. Her father was a member of a local gospel quartet and he inspired his daughter to follow in his footsteps. When Angie wasn’t attending gospel concerts by luminaries like the Gospel Keynotes and the Singing Angels, she was herself singing at the local First Nazareth Baptist Church.
Angie enjoyed singing throughout her childhood, often performing in front of her bedroom mirror. During her high school years, Angie also discovered that she liked writing poetry and playing sports. Basketball was her game, and by the time she graduated, she had been offered several college basketball scholarships.
Music, however, remained Angie’s first love, and she wanted to pursue a career in it. She worked a series of dead-end jobs and saved her money to make her own demos at the local PAW studio. As the ’70s gave way to the ’80s, she teamed up with Gwendolyn Chisolm and Cheryl Cook in starting the rap trio, the Sequence.
Together, the three women came up with innovative ways to blend traditional singing with rapping. Before long, they got themselves a deal with Joe and Sylvia Robinson’s Sugar Hill Records, under which they released singles such as “Funky Sound (Tear the Roof Off),” “I Don’t Need Your Love (Part One)” and “Funk You Up.”
During this period, Angie also wrote the song “Baby Cries” for Jill Jones, a protg of Prince. Wanting to further capitalize on her colossal talent, Angie started working with the rap group Mantronix. After that, she joined Lenny Kravitz, playing the saxophone in his band.
Toward the end of the ’80s, Angie began calling herself Angie B. Stone and started to take a more proactive stance in her career. She joined Willie Bruno II and David Bright to form the neo-soul trio Vertical Hold. In 1988, their first single, “Summertime,” went to No. 82 on the R&B charts.
Other Vertical Hold hits included “Seems You’re Much Too Busy” and “You Can’t Go Wrong,” both of which appeared on their 1993 debut album, A Matter Of Time. The record was well-received by critics and got airplay in both the U.S. and Europe.
Vertical Hold released their second album in 1995. Head First was recorded all over the country and is notable for songs like “Crash Course To Heartbreak” and “Prayin’.” The threesome broke up soon after.
In 1996, Lenny Kravitz reappeared in Angie’s life when his cousin Gerry Devaux took her under his wing for his Devox project. In this capacity, Angie recorded several songs like “Tonight,” “Tell Me” and “Let It Go.” They can all be found on a 1999 CD called Soul Degrees — The Music Of Gerry Devaux.
Angie left Devox with plans to go solo. Arista Records signed her and Devaux wrote, arranged and produced music for her. The result was Black Diamond, which came out in September 1999.
Named after her daughter Diamond, this soul album almost went platinum thanks to the popularity of tracks like “No More Rain (In This Cloud),” “Keeping It Real” and “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).”
“No More Rain” spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on R&B/Urban charts. This feat alone may have been enough to win Angie two Lady Of Soul Awards in 2000. By that time, she was the mother of a young son and a teenage daughter, but Angie still went on the road, performing with the likes of Charlie Wilson, Maurice White and Ron Isley.
In 2001, Angie switched labels to J Records. Her second solo album, Mahogany Soul, was released in the fall of that year. This second solo effort went a lot deeper, lyrically speaking, and Angie put her emotional life on the table. Song titles like “Pissed Off” and “Mad Issues” seem self-explanatory.
After this second release, Angie gave acting a try. She guest-starred in episodes of Moesha and Girlfriends before appearing in the movies The Hot Chick (2002) and The Fighting Temptations (2003), with Beyonce Knowles. In April 2003, Angie merged her singing and acting skills in replacing BJ Crosby in the Broadway musical Chicago.
In the summer of 2004, Angie’s new album Stone Love hit music stores everywhere. The first single, “I Wanna Thank You,” which features Snoop Dogg, is a celebration of summer.
As Angie waits to be crowned the new diva of soul, she shares her life with her children and rapper THC.