The singer shares advice from Drake & Chris Brown that changed the trajectory of his career

(Courtesy of Jack McKain)

The future of R&B is in good hands with Tone Stith. The crooner recently released his new EP, “P.O.V” (Point of View). With the single “Girls Like You,” Stith gets vulnerable with listeners using his pen to share past relationship experiences through his lyrics. When asked about the inspiration behind “P.O.V.” Stith told the LA Sentinel, “I wanted to focus on how I could speak to someone in a way where it’s almost like a guide helping them through something. “P.O.V” came about when we were in the studio asking questions like, ‘Tone what have you gone through? What were those experiences in life with women? What does that mean to you and how does that make you feel?’ On this project, I go through the different situations I was in and address how I felt.” He went on to share, ““Girls Like You” is about my first real heartbreak. I’m singing about a woman in that song but for women, there could be a man in their lives that put them through the same scenario, so I wanted to make something collectively that people could relate to. When you listen to “P.O.V.” in order, all of those songs are telling a story.”

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The RCA recording artist is no stranger to penning relatable lyrics. When he was still a teenager, Stith’s musical prowess caught the eye of Grammy Award-winning singer, Chris Brown and Stith would go on to co-write Brown’s 2015 hit, “Liquor” from the album, “Royalty”.

Raised in a musical family with a mother who was the lead singer in the choir, a father who’s a drummer as well as a grandfather and aunts who also sang, the New Jersey native began playing the drums at age 3 followed by the piano and guitar. At age 8, while watching a DVD of a Tyler Perry play, Stith’s mother overheard him singing along to a musical number which led her to help her son hone his vocal abilities. Stith would go on to sing and play instruments in the choir under the direction of his mother in addition to writing and producing music in high school and forming a group, SJ3, with two friends.

(Courtesy of Jack McKain)

Stith credits his parents for nurturing his musical gifts from a young age and helping to teach him the business of the music industry. “They created companies to protect us and made sure that we were signed to them before we signed to anyone else. So if anyone needed to get in contact with us or do something business-wise they had to keep them involved. I give my parents their props because not a lot of people’s parents would know how to do that but they made sure I wasn’t taken advantage of.”

With “P.O.V” being his fifth EP, Stith is no stranger to the ebbs and flows of the music industry. With the pandemic seemingly halting the previous momentum he was building with his third and fourth projects, “FWM” and “Still FWM” released in 2021, “P.O.V” has allowed him to not only regain that momentum but reach the next level in his career. In reflecting on how he’s been able to channel those setbacks into his music, Stith shares, “I started journaling this year and getting in tune with some of the things that I want to accomplish in my lifetime. Sometimes you can get away from that being in the industry and being around a lot of people telling you what you have to do and with that being the case for so many years, I lost sight of that younger dream–why I do music and what example I want to set for the next generation.” He added, “I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and just making sure that I’m in alignment with myself because once you’re clear on your vision, now you know what you value. I’m on a journey that I haven’t been on before.”

(Courtesy of Jack McKain)

When asked his thoughts on how up-and-coming artists should go about building awareness for their music, Stith suggests doing covers. When he was a member of a trio, SJ3, it was their cover of Justin Bieber’s “Heartbreaker” that garnered the attention of Bieber as well as music executive Jas Prince which subsequently led Stith to meeting Chris Brown and receiving his first writing credit for “Liquor”. When Stith decided to pursue a solo endeavor, covers continued to work in his favor with his renditions of Bryson Tiller’s song, “Exchange” and H.E.R’s song “Focus” being the catalyst for him to open for both artists’ respective tours.

Even with his extensive experience as a performer, Stith says “P.O.V” is the first project where he “…Truly feels like an artist”. He shared, “[When I was younger], I didn’t really care about being in the spotlight as long as I was writing and producing music because that part fed my soul more. But there were mind-blowing moments talking to Chris Brown that changed things for me.” Stith added, “In a studio session Chris told me, ‘Bro, you’re next, you’re incredible.’ He even put me in his Netflix “Royalty” documentary. He’s played a crucial part in my career by being a big supporter of mine and I’m grateful.”

With the encouragement of era-defining artists like Chris Brown and Drake who advised him to reinvent and redefine himself with every project, Stith says he could finally embrace the fact that his talents aren’t just meant for work behind the scenes. His ability to sing, dance, produce, song-write, and play instruments makes him more of an anomaly than he even realized. “The greats told me I’m a great… And now I finally understand what it all means. I finally understand what it means to be an artist. This is a whole new experience for me and I’m finally tapped in” says Stith with great humility in his tone, pun intended.

With critical acclaim for “P.O.V” as well as being selected as one of the opening acts for Victoria Monet’s, “The Jaguar Tour”, this is definitely Tone Stith season and he’s walking in his greatness.