Seattle’s resident soul man, Allen Stone, is gearing up his third full length album, Radius, set for release on May 26th. In preparation and celebration for his highly anticipated record, Allen is playing a whopping five shows consecutively in Seattle as a part of the “Evolution of an Artist” series. RCA will be representing on his last night at The Paramount, but in the mean time, I had the pleasure of chatting and catching up with Allen!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with Rain City Ambience!
Allen: Yeah, thanks for your time!
Congrats on your upcoming record, Radius, Allen! I’ve had your 15 second teasers on loop!
A: Bless you man, I’m very flattered!
Could you tell us a little bit about the process of creating this record? Were there any major differences from your first two?
A: Obviously, producer was different, location was different, you know I’ve probably played close to 2,000 shows since I did my last record. You’re working, and evolving, and you change you know – the way you approach singing, the way you approach writing, it all changes. So I don’t know if I approached it differently, but I am different, if you know what I mean.
The “Evolution of an Artist” series is such a cool concept. What are you looking forward to most about it?
A: Just looking forward to play in small rooms again. The smaller rooms are some of my favorite to play in, you feel like you touch every single person in the room. When you play the festivals and the big rooms, it’s not as easy to connect to the individual. In those big rooms, it’s more of just like a sea of people, and I really like being able to connect with individuals and making a connection. And when it’s smaller rooms, you’re connecting with people who really want to be there and are concentrated.
I’ve been to so many of your live shows-
A: Ah, thank you so much!
Yeah, of course! And they are famous for being a super high-energy fun time, and I’m such a fan of your live arrangements. Any plans to ever do a live album?
A: Yeah, oh yeah for sure. I mean I’d just like to get in that realm where the only records I put out are live records. Live music to me is the only music that matters to me, there’s so much manipulation that can go on in the studio these days that is so much more concealed and less authentic than a live show. I just love performing and I love that live element, I appreciate you coming to the shows, it makes me happy!
You have cited Stevie Wonder as one of your prominent musical influences. Do you have any others? Any non-musical influences?
A: You know, I’ve grown an enormous appreciation for actors. I love the message of acting, the strength that it must take to grab a character and really make it work for a production. Daniel Day Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix, I love the way those guys approach art and just delve into the acting process and becoming the character that they are portraying. I really like that, I’ve been really into movies for the past couple years of my life.
Any dream collaborators?
A: This guy out of London named James Blake that I really love. I love Janelle Monae, she’s incredible. Man, I’m just so into music, I’d really just pick up a guitar and sing with anybody. To me, collaboration is the heart of music. You know, the whole solo singer/songwriter singing on a stage, that’s beautiful. But the music that I really enjoy, the reason why I got so into music is the collaborative energy that it takes to make it possible. Singing in my dad’s church growing up, it was like “man everybody’s singing this is great, we’re so unified.” So for me I’d collaborate with anyone. But yeah, dream collaborations, I’ve got a couple. Stevie Wonder obviously, I would love to write a song with the boss, you know!
Favorite place to grab a bite in Seattle?
A: My friend owns a sushi restaurant on 2nd and Blanchard called the Wasabi Bistro, I love eating down there. There’s a ramen place in Wallingford, I don’t even know what it’s called, it just says “4649” on the door so we just call it that, but it’s killer ramen. I’ve got an Asian flair, I love Asian food.
Do you have a hair routine to keep those locks looking so great?
A: Haha, no! That’s so funny, I get that question a lot. But no, I literally don’t put shampoo in my hair. I condition it maybe once a week, I don’t really have a product or anything except maybe hotel conditioner, haha.
Love your laid back outfits, what/who influences your style?
A: Nah man, I just go for comfortable. Fashion is another form of art, it’s an expression of yourself and I always like expressing my mood and my feelings. It’s definitely evolved, I used to like let’s see how many crazy colors I can get on my body, and that’s dissipated a little bit over the past couple of years. I’m sort of in a plain color, earth tones, blacks, and blues phase. You know it’s definitely evolving like the individual who is putting the clothes on.
Must have item on your rider?
A: If I’m on the road, we always put socks and undies on the riders, haha. A fresh pack undies, you know, open the pack, that’s the best. And I gotta have the hummus, I love me some hummus!
What was the last song you listened to?
A: ”It Ain’t Easy” by D’Angelo. Which is like the best record of the year, I’m obsessed with it.
Thanks so much for your time, Allen! We are all so excited for you and your upcoming album!
A: Thank you guys for the support, see you at the show!