Angela Laverne Brown, 30 January 1961, Columbia, South Carolina, USA. This gospel-trained soul singer endured a difficult childhood before moving to New York in her late teens. Reinventing herself as Angie B. she joined the mid-80s prototype female rap trio Sequence, a group who were too far ahead of their time to break into the male-dominated hip-hop market. Subsequent gigs included a spell as saxophone player and backing vocalist with Lenny Kravitz, lead vocalist with soul trio Vertical Hold, and moderate success as a songwriter for Mary J. Blige and SWV. She also sang backing vocals for her ex-boyfriend, leading urban R&B singer DAngelo, but for all her efforts was forced to endure mundane day jobs to feed her young family. Stones big break came when she was signed to Arista Records as a solo artist. She began work on her debut album with the help of Kravitz and DAngelo as co-producers. Black Diamond, released in September 1999, was a classic soul record, reminiscent of both old school singer Gladys Knight and contemporary neo-soul artists Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. Stand-out tracks included the Knight-sampling No More Rain (In This Cloud), Everyday, a mellow duet with DAngelo, and Bone 2 Pic (Wit U), featuring Ali Shaheed Muhammad (ex-A Tribe Called Quest).
Stone then followed Arista boss Clive Davis to his new venture, J Records. Her debut for the label, Mahogany Soul, appeared in late 2001. The album stayed true to the neo-soul formula of her debut albeit with less stand-out tracks, although the slow-burning Wish I Didnt Miss You and the Musiq Soulchild duet The Ingredients Of Love were the match of anything on Black Diamond. Stones second album for J was released in summer 2004. Stone Love featured an incongruous cameo from rapper Snoop Dogg but was otherwise another solid collection.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.