Grammy Award-winning singer Stephanie Mills opens up on a possible tribute album and why R&B music has lost its class.
Stephanie Mills’ knack for hitting both the theater stage and the recording booth made her one of the most respected vocalists in R&B music. And while you may not be able to catch the pint-sized diva appearing on any of your favorite reality television shows in the near future, she has her eyes set on the coming months with a new album, various shows and a forthcoming children’s book, titled “Little Joseph.”
During an exclusive, candid interview with The Huffington Post, the Brooklyn-bred Grammy Award-winner opened up on an array of topics, including her thoughts on veteran artists starving for attention, recording a tribute album, and the idea of forming a super group with other sisters with voices.
In light of your recent shows, what is it that makes you still connect with fans while not releasing any new material?
I think because I keep it very real with them and I try to sing my songs exactly the same way that I record them. I start singing months ahead of when I’m getting ready to tour. But when I vocalize, I vocalize to Aretha [Franklin]. I don’t vocalize to any of my songs until the last couple of weeks of me getting ready to go out. But I get myself ready vocally by singing all of her songs.
Is that something that you always did throughout your career?
It wasn’t always Aretha, but I would always sing either Diana Ross, Whitney Houston or Barbra Streisand. I would sing other people’s songs that I was really a fan of when I wanted to get ready for my shows, because I’m such a fan of theirs. I listen to all of the women in the industry.
This month celebrates the history of Black Music. In your opinion, how has the art influenced your career?
It has influenced me in every way. Even before coming into the industry I was a big fan of Motown, the Jackson 5, Gladys Knight, the Temptations, Diana Ross and The Supremes. So it has definitely influenced my life just tremendously and still does till this day. I listen to Jay-Z, Nelly, Nas, Ludacris and all the young kids out there. I listen to them and I have mad respect for them.
Would you ever collaborate with any of them?
Oh, I would love to. I don’t know if they would do a collaboration with me, but I would love to. I would love to do a collaboration with Lil’ Wayne. I would have loved to sing on his song, “How To Love.” I wanted to do the remix to that song really bad.