Singer, songwriter, actress and keyboardist Angie Stone first gained prominence as a member of the all-female rap trio The Sequence, who produced the 1979 hit “Funk You Up.” Several years later, she resurfaced as the lead singer for the R&B group Vertical Hold, which released the urban dance hit “Seems You're Much Too Busy” (1993) and the albums “A Matter of Time” (1993) and “Head First” (1995). Stone began a solo career in 1999 when she released the gold album “Black Diamond,” which produced the award winning single “No More Rain (In This Cloud).” It was followed by “Mahogany Soul” in 2001, “Stone Love” in 2004 and “The Art of Love & War” in 2007. The greatest hits “Stone Hits: The Very Best of Angie Stone” hit the music stores in 2005. Her new album, “Unexpected,” is set to be released in February 2010. Stone has also written songs for a number of artists such as D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Erykah Badu and Alex Bugnon, and has been featured in other artists' albums like Guru's “Streetsoul,” Styles P's solo debut “A Gangster and a Gentleman” and Dionne Warwick's “My Friends & Me,” to name a few.
Stone received Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards for “Black Diamond” and an Edison Award for “Stone Love.” She received two Black Reel nominations for the song “Bring Your Heart,” which was included in the “Brown Sugar” soundtrack, and a BET J Virtual nomination for “The Art of Love & War.” Stone also collected Grammy nominations for “More Than a Woman” (2002, duet), “U-Haul” (2004) and “Baby” (featuring Betty Wright, 2007).
As an actress, Stone has appeared in the TV series “Girlfriends” (2002) and “Lincoln Heights” (2008) and in the movies “The Hot Chick” (2002), “The Fighting Temptations” (2003) and “School Gyrls” (2009). She will also have roles in the upcoming films “Pastor Brown” (2010) and “Caught on Tape.”
Stone has two children. Her daughter, Diamond, provided backup vocals for her 2007 song “Baby.”
Angela Laverne Brown
Childhood and Family:
Angela Laverne Brown, who would later be popular as Angie Stone, was born on December 18, 1961, in Columbia, South Carolina. An only child, she often accompanied her father to watch performances of gospel artists such as the Gospel Keynotes and the Singing Angels. At a very young age, she began singing gospel music in church. In high school, Angie added sports and poetry to her endeavors. She was an excellent basketball player in high school and by the time she graduated, had been offered college basketball scholarships. However, she was focused on music.
In 1983, Angie married Rodney Stone (Lil' Rodney Cee). She gave birth to the couple's first child, daughter Diamond, in 1984. Angie and her husband are now separated, but in 1998, she delivered a son named Michael, who was fathered by singer D'Angelo. She is now engaged to airline auditor Ashanti. He has two children of his own.
No More Rain
Originally using the stage name Angie B., Angie Stone joined forces with Cheryl Cook and Gwendolyn Chisolm in the 1980s to form the female hip hop/funk trio The Sequence. Noted for mixing traditional singing with rapping, they soon signed a deal with Joe and Sylvia Robinson's Sugar Hill Records and launched the singles “Funk You Up,” “I Don't Need Your Love (Part One),” and “Funky Sound (Tear the Roof Off).” “Funk You Up” peaked at No. 15 on the U.S. Top Black Singles chart.
Stone next teamed up with Willie Bruno II and David Bright to start the neo-soul trio Vertical Hold in the early 1990s. The group produced hit singles such as “Seems You're Much Too Busy,” “Crash Course To Heartbreak” and “Prayin'” and the albums “A Matter of Time” (1993) and “Head First” (1995) before they disbanded.
Separately, Stone wrote the song “Baby Cries (Ay Yah)” (1987) for Jill Jones' “G-Spot” single. She also began her work with the rap group Mantronix, with whom she co-wrote seven of the eleven tracks of the group's fifth and final album “The Incredible Sound Machine” (1991). She also played the saxophone for Lenny Kravitz's band and provided background vocals on Kravitz's single “Heaven Help” (1993) and the 1998 album “5.”
After the breakup of Vertical Hold, Stone joined Kravitz's cousin Gerry Devaux in 1996 and together with Charlie Mole they founded Devox. They recorded one album titled “Devox Featuring Angie B. Stone” on Toshiba EMI, but it was only released in Japan. Throughout the 1990s, Stone wrote songs for such artists as Debelah (“We Had a Good Thing Goin'”), D'Angelo (“Jonz in My Bonz”), Maysa (“Let It Go”) and Solo (“Crazy Bout U”).
On September 28, 1999, Stone made her solo debut with the release of “Black Diamond” under Arista Records. Executive produced by Gerry DeVeaux, the album rose to No. 1 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers, No. 9 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, No. 46 on the Billboard 200 and also charted in the U.K., Norway and the Netherlands. The song “No More Rain (In This Cloud),” which she co-wrote, peaked at No. 9 on U.S. R&B charts and brought the singer a 2000 Soul Train Lady of Soul Award in the category of Best R&B/Soul Single. She also won an additional Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist. “Black Diamond” eventually received gold certification from RIAA.
In 2000, Stone collaborated with Guru on the single “Keep Your Worries,” which was included in “Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3: Streetsoul.” Also that year, she co-wrote the tracks “Playa Playa,” “Send It On,” “Greatdayndamornin' Booty” and “Africa” for D'Angelo's album “Voodoo” (2000). She also lent her writing talents for Alex Bugnon's “Won't Be a Fool” and Terry Ellis' “Call on Me,” which was used as the soundtrack of Gina Prince-Bythewood's “Disappearing Acts” (2000).
Stone released her second studio album, “Mahogany Soul,” in the U.S. on October 16, 2001, under J. Records. Producing singles like “Brotha” (# 13 on the U.S. R&B), “Wish I Didn't Miss You” (# 1 on the U.S. Dance charts) and “Bottles & Cans” (# 18 on the U.S. Dance charts), the album rose to No. 4 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 22 on the Billboard 200. The dance hit “Wish I Didn't Miss You” also enjoyed significant success in Australia. “Mahogany Soul” was eventually certified gold by RIAA.
Following “Mahogany Soul,” Stone branched out to acting. She made her debut as Darla Mason in an episode of “Girlfriends” called “Blinded by the Lights” (2002). She then appeared on the big screen with a small role in the comedy “The Hot Chick” (2002), which was directed by Tom Brady. It was followed by a bit part in Jonathan Lynn's “The Fighting Temptations” (2003), opposite Cuba Gooding Jr., Chloe Bailey, Demetress Long, Lourdes Benedicto and Lou Myers. In April 2003, Stone made her Broadway debut when she was recruited to replace BJ Crosby in the role of Big Mama Morton in the musical “Chicago.”
In the meantime, Stone kept up with her music career by writing songs for Raphael Saadiq, Shabazz, and Erykah Badu, among other artists, and made featured performances in Blue's “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours,” Josh Groban's “The Prayer” and Styles P's “Black Magic,” to name a few. She also wrote “Jam For The Ladies” for John Stockwell's “Blue Crush” soundtrack and wrote, produced and performed “Bring Your Heart” on the soundtrack of “Brown Sugar” (2002). She picked up Black Reel nominations for Best Film Song and Best Song for her work in the latter. The South Carolina native gained additional recognition when the minor R&B hit from “Mahogany Soul,” “More Than a Woman,” a duet she sang with Joe, and was nominated for a 2003 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Previously, Stone performed the song with Calvin Richardson.
After nearly a three years’ absence, Stone released her third studio album, “Stone Love,” in the United Kingdom on June 28, 2004, on Arista Records and the United Sates on July 6, 2004, on J Records. It debuted at No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and sold 53,000 copies in the opening week. The album spawned hits with the songs “I Wanna Thank Ya” (featuring Snoop Dogg) “Stay for a While” (featuring Anthony Hamilton) and “U-Haul,” which brought Stone a 2005 Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Still in 2004, she collaborated with Toshi and Kool & the Gang on the songs “Hold Me Down” and “Jones vs. Jones,” respectively, and wrote “Tired of the Game” for Roy Tyler & New Directions.
In June 2005, Stone released “Stone Hits: The Very Best of Angie Stone,” her first greatest hits album. The album peaked at No. 50 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and the single “I Wasn't Kidding” hit No. 17 on the U.S. Dance chart. Stone spent 2006 guest starring on other artists' albums, including Omar's “Sing (If You Want It) and Dionne Warwick's “My Friends & Me.” She returned to her recording studio for her fourth album, “The Art of Love & War,” which was released in the U.S. on October 16, 2007, by Stax Records. The single “Baby,” featuring Betty Wright, brought her a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. She was also nominated for a 2008 BET J Virtual Award for Album of the Year for her work on “The Art of Love & War.”
Stone resumed her acting career in 2008 when she landed the recurring role of Octavia in the series “Lincoln Heights.” She then took on the supporting role of Headmaster Jones in the film “School Gyrls” (2009), which was directed by Nick Cannon.
Stone has completed filming “Pastor Brown,” directed by Rockmond Dunbar and written by Rhonda Baraka. The film is scheduled to be released in 2010. She will also play Diane in the upcoming musical film “Caught on Tape,” along side Vivica A. Fox and Cedric the Entertainer.
Stone is expected to launch her fifth studio album, “Unexpected,” on February 16, 2010, on Stax Records.
Edison Award: “Stone Love,” 2004
Soul Train: Lady of Soul Award, Best R&B/Soul Single, Solo, “No More Rain (In This Cloud),” 2000
Soul Train: Lady of Soul Award, Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist, Solo, 2000