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For video of Allen Stone performing “Unaware” Click Here!
What isn’t immediately evident, though, is the depth of Stone’s immense vocal talent. His rich, soulful voice filled the room as he played a three song set. The first of these songs was a slower and more contemplative version of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.” His second and third songs, “Contact High” and “Unaware”, are both from Stone’s 2011 self-titled album. Both show off Stone’s songwriting abilities and penchant for social commentary. As he sings, Stone exudes an undeniable authenticity that makes his music memorable.
Stone was first introduced to music as a young child by his father, who was a minister. “Even though I don’t identify with the church or hold to those traditions anymore, it still had an immense impact on the man I am today,” Stone says. Growing up, he was greatly influenced by soul music, especially 70s R&B, and names Marvin Gaye as one of his biggest inspirations.
Stone’s music reached a national stage in 2011 when he appeared on Conan after the music booker had seen a YouTube video of Stone playing his song “Unaware” in his mother’s living room. “Technology is a catch-22,” he says. “A lot of bad crud has risen to the top, but a ton of really good stuff has as well. It allows a lot of people who aren’t musicians seem like musicians and people who aren’t singers seem like singers. But I also think it allows artists like me to more easily connect with fans and get exposure that wouldn’t have ordinarily been possible.”
These days, Stone has been spending his time touring the country extensively, playing both small venues and large festivals, like Soul’d Out and Life is Good. “We’re about a month in, and we still like each other,” Stone says with a smile. He says that he’s had both wonderful and horrible experiences over the course of the tour so far,“But any time I get to sing through a mike with my guys, it’s an enjoyable experience.”
Looking towards the future, Stone doesn’t want to slow down anytime soon. “I want to conquer the world with soul music,” he says. “I want to be the biggest white soul singer I can be. But realistically though, I just want to still be able to sing when I’m 50 and have people still give a s**t about me.”