We’re quite fond of our January You Oughta Know artist, and it appears that the feeling is mutual. After Allen Stone included his visit to VH1 headquarters in the official video for current single “Sleep”–we’re blushing!–we’re more than tickled to be pulling back the curtain on his exclusive acoustic performance from within the cozy walls of YOK Live.
The weather may be dreary, but things are heating up here at VH1, thanks to the voice of January’s You Oughta Know artist, Allen Stone. The deeply soulful singer-songwriter brings a unique spin to everything from accessories to his blonde-haired, blue-eyed stamp on the rhythm & blues, capitalizing on the crave for funky, retro sound that has been so kind to acts like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Bruno Mars in recent years.
Having honed his performance skills before church pews in small town Washington, Stone has experience winning over crowds and is comfortable taking time to preach to the unconverted. Inspired by—and often compared to—Stevie Wonder, now he’s giving the likes of Miguel and JT a run for their money in the panty-dropping department thanks to his ability to blissfully distract us from everyday stresses with a rich timbre. His is also a warm and inviting sound that welcomes us in a cozy embrace, and encourages to stay put all winter long.
Ace VH1 photographer Lauren Weissler followed Stone throughout his whirlwind day here in New York City just before the holidays, which included which included a festive stop by Big Morning Buzz Live and some quality catch-up time with his cell phone. Check it out below.
This month we will shine the You Oughta Know spotlight on Allen Stone, an emergent soul singer-songwriter from Washington state who has forgone sleep in an effort to earn your attention. Or at least so he sings in “Sleep,” and given his recent grind — complete with stops at Leno and VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live, as well as that new music video he cut — we’re inclined to believe him.
This morning Stone dropped by The Ellen Show for a mid-morning howling of his aforementioned hustlers anthem. In her introduction, Ellen accurately likened him to Stevie Wonder and to Amy Winehouse, and we might add that he showed up in a Whitney Houston tee that looked rather well loved, which may explain some of his gospel tendencies. There weren’t any stars up in the early hour, but that didn’t seem to stop him from aiming high with his performance. And as always, he nailed it.
Evidently, January’s You Oughta Know spotlight artist Allen Stone has already made himself right at home in VH1 headquarters! You see, today mtvU has premiered the new on-the-road video for his “Sleep” and it begins with footage of the funky troubadour cruising, guitar in hand and his trademark fedora atop his head, up a set of escalators that looked awfully familiar to us because we take them to work everyday. Very cool, because — Allen, feel free to drop by and play us a little diddy or whatever whenever, you know?
Really, though, this is a nice example of a video that’s perfectly set to a song and its star. Stone is a star hard at work on the come-up, and “Sleep” is more or less a song about his kindhearted hustle; or, as he puts it: “trying to change the world with his guitar/ And I know it’s a long shot, but it’s working so far/ So I spend my nights shooting at the stars.” The video gives us a glimpse at what all this “shooting at the stars” business is about, cutting together actual footage of him on the road, in dressing rooms, performing, signing autographs and — oh hey! — hanging out at VH1/MTV headquarters. Catch a quick glimpse of him dosed off in the van at around the :50 mark, but otherwise you’ll see that he really means it when he says he “never gets sleep.”
Video Premiere: Allen Stone, “Sleep” [MTVBuzzworthy]
Allen Stone really means it when he says he spends his nights howling at the moon. Last night the up-and-coming soul star and our January You Oughta Know artist hit the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he gave his fellow late night howlers a show that was sure not to put them to “Sleep.”
The 25-year-old Washington native took the stage with his signature blonde curls tucked under a fedora, and with three backup singers and a backing band that counted an organist among its members. They were super concise, and Stone sort of bounces around the stage seemingly possessed by the jaunty and inspiring Allen Stone single. His father’s church that he began his career singing in is dwarfed by the Leno stage, and we suspect this guy will soon be playing even bigger, so apparently all those nights spent shooting at the stars have paid off. If Stone sleeps until noon today like he says he does in the song, he’s well earned the extra hours.
Allen Stone — “Sleep” 12/11 Leno [AudioPerv]