The Soul Wunderkind: Interview with Allen Stone

Some trivia: the interviewer is someone who thoroughly enjoys the music of Allen Stone, bought the entire album after 30 seconds of 'Unaware'. It's hard not to be in awe of Allen Stone. At 26 years of age, he sings songs so thoughtful and wise in a way only the wizened jazz and soul greats would. 'Looks can be deceiving' and such is the case for Allen Stone, who wears oversized rug-like ponchos when performing - who would've thought that such a soulful voice could come from a hippie-looking young lad. 

Be prepared to be surprised when he makes his way to town for he Singapore for the Singapore Jazz Festival, that kicks off today! We spoke to the old soul, and very amicable Allen Stone ahead of his show. 

Singapore International Jazz Festival Day 3, Event Plaza at Marina Bay Sands

Watched one of your latest videos, 'Million. That cabin looks real comfy, perfect for sitting quietly, getting inspired and penning down some music... we're in Singapore, we don't get cabin houses here. Tell us more, is that where the magic for the upcoming album gets birthed? 

It is so amazingly quiet and comfortable. I travel a lot and am in large cities most of the time. Getting out to the countryside and slowing down is key to my sanity. When recording this newest record we did a portion of the recording in Chewelah at my cabin and the other portion in Malmo Sweden. The contrast of these two places is very apparent in the recordings. Which I like very much.

How did it feel like being listed in Forbes 30 under 30, do these awards ever faze you? Congrats on that accolade by the way!

It was an honor to be included in that list. The other artists on that list are world class and it’s very humbling and exciting to be even mentioned in the same sentences as them.

Just for kicks, we really love Janelle Monáe (who's also in that list) and hope a collaboration could happen at some point. Any chance of that happening soon and when?

I would be thrilled to collaborate with Janelle. She is literally my favorite performer/artist right now.

You seem to have a social mission to inspire through music. To create music that means something, that stirs up positivity. Where does all that positivity come from? 

It could come from a lot of places but I believe that it stems from the music that inspires me. Songs with substance. I believe music can invigorate change, provoke thought and evoke progression. I like songs that do that.

You toured for a good 3 years, where you were hardly ever home (I remember 15 days at home in 2012 was the figure). Am sure it wasn't easy. Share with us a couple of your toughest moments.  

I’ve actually only had a couple rough moments on the road. Rough moments that were simply a lapse in my perception. The only real rough part of being on the road is being away from my family. I miss my folks and my siblings quite a bit. My brother just recently had a baby and it's been tough seeing that little guy grow up through my cell phone. I wish I could be around more to see him grow up. 

You talk a lot about the experience of live music and the challenge for performers to keep people's attention. What to you are some of the keys for that? 

You need to be authentic to you. Play/sing/perform in real time. Never should there be an instrument on stage that plays itself either. Backing tracks and instruments that play themselves really detract from the purity of live performance in my opinion. Anytime there is a laptop on the stage it’s hard for me to fully get into the performance.

Last two questions and both quick ones! Is this going to be your first time to Singapore and are we going to hear some new material? 

YES and YES!! I am very excited to visit Singapore for the first time and I will be playing new songs that will be featured on my new record.