Stephanie Mills is a legendary singer who has made waves on the R&B charts as well as on the stage. By 11, Mills was a professional–setting records for winning the Apollo six times over–which led her to her first Broadway role in Maggie Flynn.
Mills’ star still shines bright, as she has a new project coming out–some 40 plus years after she started her career on that Broadway stage. Longevity is a challenge that masks itself from the masses and only reveals itself to talents like Mills–who are timeless.
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In an interview with Huffington Post, Mills opens up about Erykah Badu going nude in a video, Brian McKnight, Jay-Z, Nelly and Nas as well as hoping to work with Lil’ Wayne one day. It’s definitely one of the most interesting interviews I’ve read! Check out some of the highlights below.
If you had to pick any three vocalists (past or present) to form a group, who would they be, and why?
It would be me, Chaka [Khan], Anita [Baker] and Mary [J Blige]. I think that our voices would lend to each other — we’re different. And it would be fun. I always imagined in my head that we would sing a Destiny’s Child song, their song, “Girl.” And I’m a fan of Chaka’s and a fan of Anita’s and a fan of Mary’s. We get along, we like each other and I think we could really do something cute together.
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.
What are your thoughts on veteran artists appealing to a younger audience? We recently saw Brian McKnight take a stab at it with a sexually explicit song.
I found that song disrespectful. I just don’t think you have to go that far to get attention. And I think sometimes the older artists — because he is older now — the older artists are so starved for attention that they’ll just about do anything. And I come from the school of when they taught you how to sit and do interviews and taught you how to walk into a room. There was so much training during the time that I came through that we would never think of doing anything like that. So I think it took away from all of the classiness and the great stuff that he has done before.
It’s just like when Erykah Badu took off all of her clothes. I was like, “It’s just so unnecessary to do that!” I love Erykah Badu, but I think sometimes they want to do the shock value thing, but I don’t think it always works for black artists the way that it works for white artists.
Do you have a tentative date on releasing any of the material from your forthcoming project?
I would say before the year is out that I should at least have a single out. We’re working doing some different things and we keep going back and forth with what we actually want to do. But I would hope at least by the fall that I should have something new out, hopefully.
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