Despite soul singer Allen Stone's extensive touring he has managed to begin work on a new album.
Despite finding himself in the midst of writing a new record, slated for release early-to-mid 2018, Seattle-area soul singer, Allen Stone, can’t help but continue to tour. “I kind of live on the road,” says Stone, while on brief hiatus in Los Angeles. His highway ramblin’ will continue in the Seattle-area when the buttery-voiced singer performs Friday at Woodinville’s Chateau Ste. Michelle.
“I’m a road dog,” explains the Chewelah-born performer, whose YouTube videos range between half-a-million and six million views and has been performing across the globe for the past five years. “I get high on playing for people. I get that real-time excitement. You do the thing on stage and see if people like it or not.”
Stone appears comfortable in his own skin (and blond locks and fuzzy beard). While he doesn’t like to use the word “confidence” to describe himself or his prowess on stage, Stone admits a sense of internal grounding, something he learned from an early age. “I don’t think it’s confidence,” he explains, “I think it’s a comfort through non-care. I know that this is who I am, this is where I come from, this is what I’m like. You can always look back on anything you do and say, ‘Oh, man, what was I thinking there?’ But I tend to not pay attention to that much.”
Stone makes it sound simple, but for him, it is not a facile decision, which is reflected in his recent song “American Privilage.” The song touches on ideas of inequality, stifled voices and demonstrates Stone’s difficulty relating to identity-driven politics. “That type of song is tough,” he says. “That landscape has mine fields all over it. We live in a culture where everyone wants to be upset about something – it’s finally getting a little overwhelming. That song came at a moment when I didn’t know what to sing about anymore.”
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Nevertheless, Stone, much to the glee of his fans, continues to tour and record. Production, the singer emphasizes, is paramount. Dedication and keen effort stay at the center of what he tries to accomplish on a daily basis. “I used to think I was a hard worker,” he says. “But there’s hard work and there’s smart hard work. What I learned is that having the ability to adapt is your best asset.”
This musical malleability has served him well over the years. For someone constantly on the road, constantly working and re-working songs, the ability to switch and move on stage or in the studio is of extreme importance. “I want to practice,” says Stone, who estimates he’s played about 500 shows in the last four or five years. “I want to rehearse. There’s an art form to touring and I don’t think too many artists have it these days.”
One musician, though, who certainly does have “it,” is Stone’s musical hero, Stevie Wonder, whom Stone had the chance to meet and open for in Paris at a 2,000 year-old theater. “Stevie is my favorite singer of all time,” he explains. “It was amazing to see how kind and giving he was still at this age. He took the time for every single human being – he took pictures, talked. It was really beautiful to see.”
And all of these experiences will assuredly influence Stone as he continues to work on the new record, which he envisions as more stripped-down compared to his previous release, “Radius.” Yet, whenever he decides to get off the highway and into the studio, Stone says it’s the songs that truly keep him motivated. “I love it,” he says. “I love singing, I love playing. And, of course, it’s good to be making new music again.”
Allen Stone plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14111 NE 145th Street, Woodinville. $49.50 reserved seating, $35.00 general admission (www.ticketmaster.com).