Tone Stith Talks R & B, Billboard Red Carpet, Favorite Memory With Chris Brown, Latest EP ‘P.O.V’ and More
Tone Stith is the definition of a vocalist, someone who spends their waking hours in the lab perfecting their craft.
And if you’ve had the rare opportunity to see him perform live, you already know what type of time he’s on: captivating melodies, catchy hooks, an undeniable falsetto, and of course, good vibes at all times.
In describing himself, the singer, songwriter, and producer states, “Just know that I am next up when it comes to this R&B music.”
While many may assume Tone Stith’s music is about loving on your partner, he actually took his fans on a whirlwind with the release of “Girls Like You.” The single not only topped the Billboard charts, but it reminded audiences all around the world that girls can break hearts too. “Girls Like You” was inspired by Tone’s previous relationship where his girl ended up cheating on him, revealing how she ruined girls for him moving forward.
Following “Girls Like You,” Tone Stith delivers his newest single titled “I Need You” — both singles from his new EP P.O.V. out September 8th.
The Fox Magazine spoke with Tone Stith via Zoom, who was in high spirits in Los Angeles. Read below as we discuss his current favorite artists, his parents being his biggest inspiration, his new singles, love for cars, favorite memory with Chris Brown, and more!
Who is killing the R&B game right now?
Oh man, hats off to the women. The women of R&B are really going crazy right now. SZA’s going crazy right now. Victoria Monet , Summer Walker. I’m forgetting more people, but there’s a lot of women going crazy. Alex Isley, I’m a fan of hers. People I’m like y’all are holding it down, so I’m very glad. Then with the guys, myself. You got TA Thomas is out here. Of course, Lucky Daye. My boy PHABO. You got a bunch of people really about to bring that male R&B back, so I’m excited to be a part of that.
The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, who or what inspires you the most?
I always say Michael Jackson and Prince when it comes to music, but I really gotta say my parents. They inspire me musically because they’re the ones that really introduced me to it. I’m so glad that they introduced me to a whole variety of music and not just one sound. That made me so diverse in my understanding and the way I make music, the way I sing in my artistry. So I gotta say my parents are my biggest inspiration.
How proud are they of you?
Oh my God, they’re super proud. They always ask, “What’s next? What’s going on? What you doing?” When I’m doing something big like awards and carpets, they hurry up and post it on their Instagram. They’re super proud. [laughs]
How was the Billboard red carpet?
It was great. It was amazing. I seen Victoria Monet, Mario, Armani White, Maeta. A lot of people in the industry, but it was good to see everybody out and active.
Definitely want to talk about “Girls Like You.” Is this inspired by a true story?
It’s a true story. You know me, I’m writing from true experiences. Especially this time around with this project. For me, it’s very important to really tell my truth and be more vulnerable now, so my fans to really get to know another side of me and know me a little deeper. But this story is about a certain ex that cheated on me and really messed it up for everybody else. After that, it was like damn. It was the one person I was really giving my all in the relationship. It happened. I’m like wow, I didn’t think it would be me. [laughs] It messed it up for a lot of other situations in the future because now you carry that worry. Oh my god, what if this person does this to me? What if…? So it’s a true story.
Do you know how she feels about the record?
I don’t know, but I know when she hears the record (if she hasn’t yet), she’s going to know that it’s definitely about her. [laughs] She’s going to know.
Is it ever okay to cheat?
Nah, it’s never okay to cheat. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve been cheated on and I also have done the cheating before. I’m not perfect, but I will own up to my mistakes. It’s never okay. The right thing would be communication and letting your partner know, this is how I’m feeling. I don’t want to hurt you, I’d rather break it off now and let me do my thing because I’m not ready to settle down. Versus cheating and being disloyal, try to have two things all the time. So I don’t condone it. [laughs]
When you put out the song, did you have girls hitting you like, damn you okay?
Oh absolutely, they was checking in. I seen my fans in the comments like, “Who would ever cheat on Tone?” Everytime I went Live: “it’s alright Tone, I wouldn’t do that to you!” [laughs] But I appreciate the support from them.
Do women or men cheat more?
Ooh, that’s a hard one. Because in today’s age, we live in a toxic, toxic environment. For a while, men were definitely at the forefront of “oh, men are always cheating and always doing wrong.” And it was true. But women also adapted to the games that we would play as men, and sort of started running that game on us. [laughs] “Oh okay, y’all want to play that game? We can play it too.” And they’re really better at it. Men are pretty bad at trying to cover up and backtrack. When women cheat, women know how to move. I don’t know, it’s pretty even these days.
What is the inspiration behind “I Need You?”
So back to my parents. When I was younger, my parents were split when I was born up until the time I was about 12 or 13. I got to see the dynamic of my mom and my dad, and them being single. At a certain point, my dad really being like “you know what, no. This is my person.” Really going in and bringing their relationship together and taking those steps to make a family for me.
I got to experience love firsthand. A lot of people don’t get that. A lot of people, their experience of parents being separated is always separated. I had that unique situation, watching my parents really put their differences aside and make it work. I made this song pretty much in the image of my dad, like a younger version of him. Really even for myself, taking the time to realize that there is a certain person in my life that I needed. The song is dedicated to them, for sure. It definitely stems from their relationship, and I was inspired by their relationship to make that song.
Do you believe in soulmates?
Absolutely. Definitely believe in soulmates, that’s a real thing.
What can we expect from P.O.V.?
I’m very excited. This is my first project storytelling. It’s almost like a 36-hour window of what a relationship goes through, or what the relationships in my life have gone through. I just put them all together in that window of time. But it starts off telling the story from really meeting that soulmate, and maybe being with somebody else and not being ready to commit to that soulmate — but knowing that this is the right person.
It goes through the journey of what a relationship consists of. That’s being the good guy, being the bad guy. Making right wrong decisions. At the end, taking accountability for it. It’s really my point of view on love. Like I said earlier, it’s a very toxic world of music that we live in right now, so I want to be on the other side of it. Really telling this younger generation: it’s okay to love somebody.
You don’t have to give up if it doesn’t work out right away. you gotta stick it out and make it work.
Do you have any features or is it just you?
No features as of right now. But we do have artists that have heard the project like “bro, let me be on this verse! Let me do a verse.” So after we release the project, we’ll go circle back and release remixes with different artists on it. It gives it another life.
What is the normal day in the life of Tone Stith?
A normal day for me, really depends on how I’m feeling. Some days, it’s driving down to the beach. To PCH. I love being near water. I can swim, so I love being near water. I like the sound of water, being able to go there and reflect on life. Good things, bad things. Clear my mind, catch up. I’m always catching up with family members when I have the day off. Calling people out the blue like “what’s up? How are you?” Because I’m always busy, so make sure I’m checking in on my people. I’ma go back home, either make more music or I’ma be on the video games. Just when I got some downtime.
What do you play?
I play Call of Duty for sure, and 2K. I also do Forza, I got the driver simulator. I’m in that too.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Ooh, I’d be in the car business. I love cars, I got it tattooed on my hands. I love building them. I love everything about automobiles man, so I would be in the car business. Probably owning my own custom dealership, something like that. Trying to get to that Jay Leno garage status. [laughs]
What is your tattoo of?
I got a Porsche on this hand, it’s the outline of a Porsche. Then I got an outline of a BMW over here, it’s the model of the car. Yeah, I’m into it like that. [laughs]
Do you have multiple cars?
I do have multiple cars. I wouldn’t say it’s the best investment, but I’m okay with that.
How many cars we talking?
Right now, four. A calm four. A little project car. The other one is my little race car. I got my daily driver out here, then another car back home in New Jersey.
Do you have a favorite one?
Yes, I do have a favorite car, which needs to be rebuilt. It’s a project car so it’s in the process of being rebuilt, but it’s the one I got tattooed on me right now. It’s a BMW E30. It’s a 1990 3 series, but my mine is a drop top. It was already done up, wheels and everything like that. So that’s my favorite, but I am thinking about buying a Porsche soon. So might just end up myself in the Porsche family.
Do you drive your own car or you have a driver?
Oh no, I drive my own car. Listen, I feel like a racecar driver. I’m in tune when I’m behind the wheel. I’m responsible, I’ma make sure that I’m behind that wheel. [laughs]
You’ve worked with Chris Brown a bunch. Do you have a favorite memory of you guys in the studio?
One of my favorite memories of working with Chris, he had randomly hit me up one night and they told me to pull up. That was the night where I played him “Do I Ever.” I’m like “Bro, you wanna get on it?” He was basically like, “Are you kidding me? Is that even a question bro?” That was really dope because at that moment, wow. I really got a relationship with somebody like Chris. The respect is mutual. He always shows me the utmost respect, as so do I. That was the greatest memory because that song came out a few years later and it’s one of my biggest songs.
As a singer, what do you do to take care of your voice or your body?
Honestly, I was going through something for a month and I had lost my voice out of nowhere. Really scary, so I’ve been on this new regimen of really taking care of my vocals. Eating the right things. Making sure I’m warming up every day, breathing right and singing properly. I’m self-taught when it comes to singing, so I never really necessarily learned the right way to sing.
But now I’m really entering that journey where yo, what’s the correct way? How do I maintain my voice? Obviously it’s the instrument, so it’s really important. But also you gotta stay in shape, and shape because tour life is rough. Tour life is rough. But as long as you stay in shape, if you eat the right things and you do the proper vocal hygiene things, it’s all good.
Who do you listen to when you work out?
That’s difficult. Because it can be days where I might be listening to James Taylor one day working out, then I might be listening to Kanye the next. [laughs] I bounce back and forth through so many different genres. It might be Usher one day. Some old school, some Temptations. Anything really. Whatever that’s oh, this is a vibe. I’ma put it on, I don’t care if it’s slow or fast.
Do you make love to your own music?
Mmm. There have been a few times that that has happened, but not really. To me, it’s a little weird, because it feels like I’m supposed to perform at the same time. [laughs] Nah man, what are we doing? I like the old school playlists. Some throwback Marvin Gaye, some Jodeci. Something like that.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
Listen man, it’s the era of Tone Stith. I’ve been saying Big Tone a lot, not the little one. I’m just excited. I’m very in tune with my artistry now. I’m ready for people to take this next step with me. I know I’ve been out for a while as an artist, but now it’s really coming together where it’s starting to make sense. I found my pocket. This project coming out, I got no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be the catapult to the next level of stardom. For the fans that are with me, y’all already know what’s about to go down. For the new fans: hello, welcome. Welcome to the show.
Connect With Tone Stith!