Artist Spotlight: Gypsy Stokes
Dubbed “Akon’s secret weapon,” Gypsy Stokes has just released his sexy first single “On The Low” from his upcoming debut album, scheduled to be released this summer on the Konvict Muzik imprint.
The Grammy nominated writer/singer/producer (who also plays piano and drums) was born and raised in Memphis and is currently located in Atlanta. Signed to Konvict in 2007, Gypsy has worked behind the scenes with numerous artists including India.Arie, Kat Deluna, R. City and of course Akon.
“When you look at me, it never crosses your mind that I’m a singer. You think that I’m a rapper or something,” the self-proclaimed street veteran says. “People try to put me in a box.”
We spoke with Gypsy exclusively about his industry background, lessons learned from his mentor Akon, his new movement “Alternative Street Soul” and more.
Your story is the classic music industry fairytale—no overnight success, rather years spent grinding till someone significant (in your case, Akon) recognizes your talent and signs you to his label as a future star. Did you always want solo success or were you happy playing a background role?
“I was actually content on playing the background role because I found joy in playing instruments as well as writing and producing records. I didn’t think that it was going to happen the way it did, but I’m grateful it did.”
What important lessons have you learned from Akon so far?
“Patience and the importance of international success. Akon knows what he’s doing. It’s all about timing and he’s looking at the long term vs. the short term.”
You call your music “Alternative Street Soul.” Is this just another attempt to create a new sub-genre, or do you genuinely feel you’ve created a new sound?
“It’s not about creating a new sound. I enjoy a variety of different music and I actually incorporated a lotta different elements on my album (soul/R&B, hip-hop, pop, electro, etc) which in itself has translated into alternative yet, I’m non-stop street and soulful vocally. So people usually have a problem putting my sound into a specific category, so we came up with ‘Alternative Street Soul.’ It’s a ‘gumbo’ of music.”
Your debut album tentatively drops this summer. Will it follow in the same sexy, electro/R&B vein as your debut single “On The Low”?
“Absolutely. As well as some edgy joints, baby making music…everything.”
Let’s move to fashion. You’re from Memphis – what brands are popular there?
“To be honest, there isn’t much of a difference in brands from the South. I grew up in Memphis but live in Atlanta now so fashion is pretty much the same in Atlanta as you’d expect in New York or LA.”
Describe your perfect outfit for a nice spring day?
“Well, I’m a jeans, t-shirt, classic sneaker kinda dude. So, I keep it simple. I might throw on a v-neck but it’s always simple, you heard me.”
What fashion trends do you hope will die out for the fellas this year?
“Skinny jeans. You can see niggas calf muscles and shit…LOL.”
What kind of outfit should a lady wear to catch your attention?
“My favorite color is red so I love a tight red dress with heels to match. You feel me?”
Listen to “On The Low”:
Follow Gypsy Stokes on Twitter: twitter.com/gypsystokes