Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1096

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BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Feature

Stone Paxton: Leaving No Stone Unturned

Stone Paxton interview @bluesandsoul.com
Stone Paxton interview @bluesandsoul.com Stone Paxton interview @bluesandsoul.com Stone Paxton interview @bluesandsoul.com Stone Paxton interview @bluesandsoul.com

With thirty years in the record industry behind him multi-award-winning recording artist, label boss, songwriter and record producer Stone Paxton reveals all about his career in music, discovering a 21st-century R&B icon, his latest album and the projects he is now working on.

Raised in Illinois Paxton, like so many recording artists, began to take an interest in music from a very early age and this exposure was to lead him into forging a career in something he loved.

“I started playing drums at the age of seven. I lived with my aunt and I used to meet with my mother at the weekend. My mom was an evangelist so I'd play drums and sing in church. In school, I'd be doing Bach and Beethoven and numbers in Jazz band orchestras. In church, I'd be doing the Gospel and at home, I was listening to the Blues”.

Both his mother and his aunt pushed him to focus and be single-minded when it came to striving for musical goals. Such determination and a degree of ingenuity were to prove to be priceless when it came to getting a foot in the door in the music industry. That first stride into the business came when he attended a concert by an up-and-coming New Kids On The Block, at a time when male vocal bands were all the rage.

“I gave their road manager – Peter Work - a demo and told him I had a group when in reality I didn't. It was all me singing on that demo. He was the Vice-President of Dick Scott Entertainment. He went back to New York and called me asking if they could see pictures of the group! I had to scramble up and put together pictures of this group I told him I had so I threw some friends together. A group right there, out of the blue. That was the beginning of my music industry quest. I've been really driven since I was a kid and because of that, there's been many incredible things that have happened.

Success didn't come overnight and there were setbacks along the way which would have deterred many without his determination from pursuing a career in the business. His group TRE – an acronym for The Real Entertainment which was pronounced 'tray' – broke up before they completed the first album they were working on. Peter Work continued to work with Paxton to try and develop a solo career while getting him involved in projects with other artists. Events beyond the control of either of them proved to be the ultimate stumbling block, however.

“Peter had talked about bringing me to L.A. to work with Snap and sing on some other artists' records and then start on my own solo album projects. Then the Rodney King riots started, I heard no more from Peter and everything came to a standstill, everything was pretty messed up, and labels didn't want to invest any money at that time. From that point, I had to figure out what I was going to do with my career. I had been making music all my life and during that process, I'd left the group, I'd had a couple of record deals with independent labels who had cut full albums on me and they never got released. After I'd not heard from Peter and realising these independent deals were not working I was at a landmark transition in my life”.

Paxton had already realised that it would be all too easy to become a victim of the industry and fall by the wayside so he had already made steps that would ensure that a career in music would continue regardless of any obstacles that stood in his way.

“God didn't put me in that position if it wasn't meant to be. Things happen when other people are in control of your career, having to deal with managers, so what I promised myself was that I was going to learn as much as I could about the business. When I would get an opportunity to make my own moves and be in control I would not allow the things that had happened to me to happen again. I started my own independent label (Prodigee Records) back in 1995. I put together groups and help them out. I'd cut the records, write and produce for them and put their albums out. My independent releases were selling so well in the stores regionally that I started to get offers from all kinds of cool distributors. I got a distribution deal with Big Wheel, a big distributor in the United States at the time, and then got this huge deal with The Orchard who became partners in crime with Sony. I'm still with that company, I've been with them since 1997, it's been beautiful. In 1997 I was the first producer to put out a tribute to Tupac – he was a friend of mine.

One of the acts he put together in the early days of Prodigee was an R&B group called Envy who went on to open shows for Mya and Destiny's Child. Corey Clark was one of the members and he later went on to become infamous in the U.S. when he was controversially disqualified from the second season of the TV show American Idol at the semi-final stage. However, a much bigger name of the future was also a member of the group.

Single Feel The Groove (extended version) and album In The Key Of...Love are out on Prodigee Records.

Also vinyl: A. “Feel The Groove” and AA. “I Don’t Think She’s Gone (UK club mix/T-Groove Remix)” are available on 7” from Six Nine Records

To read more from Duncan Payne's exclusive interview with multi-award-winning singer/songwriter/producer and label boss Stone Paxton, including, find out the "bigger name" mentioned in the interview, who went on to become a world-renowned r&b superstar and was initially discovered by Stone. Also, Paxton tells us who were the huge names that he wrote songs for over the years, the launch of his label and we get the lowdown on his recent album release “In The Key Of...Love” and single A. “Feel The Groove” and AA. “I Don’t Think She’s Gone, all in the current issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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ESSENTIAL LINKS:

TWITTER: StonePaxton

INSTAGRAM instagram/stonepaxton

FACEBOOK facebook.com/stonepaxton

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Words DUNCAN PAYNE

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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