There was a time when Mint Condition was racking up hits and dominating radio, but after more than two decades as the lead vocalist for the R&B band, Stokley Williams has decided to step out as a solo artist. He has just dropped his debut solo album Introducing Stokley.Stokley called in a few friends for the project, such as Grammy winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper and London-based singing diva Estelle. The album’s groove laden lead single “Level.”
It’s not that Stokley hasn’t performed outside of Mint Condition. He has much success outside of the group. In 2011, he was featured on Kelly Price’s hit “Not My Daddy,” which earned him his first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance.
Still, Stokley says there is much more for fans to discover on Introducing Stokley. Here’s what he told New York Trend NYC.
Q: Please tell us about the inspiration behind your new single “Level.”
A: It’s about how hard it is to find someone that speaks your same language. Someone who looks at the world through the same lens that you do. And when you find them you just hopefully spend the rest your days celebrating, & in real life that means the good and the bad.
Q: What are some of the first thoughts that come to mind when you look back at your career with Mint Condition?
A: First of all, just using the word career is something everybody aspires to have and we’ve had which seems like three lifetimes full of blessings, and it continues. We’ve had such a rich soil in which to grow, which makes the career rich and illustrious and I am so gratified and proud of the part that I play.
Q: You have great guest appearances. Can you tell me what it was like teaming up with Robert Glasper, and Estelle.
A: Well, I’ve been doing what I’m doing with the fellas for quite some time and want to artistically say something in a different way, just spread wings just like I think anybody would do when they’ve done one thing most of their life.
Q: Will you continue working with Mint Condition?
A: We all are embarking on different interests at this point but yes, I’m sure there will be some production things and what not. However, as for this moment I’m 100% focusing on building what I’m doing. I have a few different genres of projects I’m working on simultaneously and that will take time and space.
Q: You also produce, do you enjoy producing as much as singing?
A: I love producing. I get to paint in a different way. It allows me to see through the lens of whatever artist I’m working with and implement my sensibilities in there. I graduated from the University of Mint so I’m more than qualified.
Q: What do you want listeners to come away with from your new album?
A: I want them to come away inspired. I would like to be a refuge for them when life gets a little rough but they need a little inspiration, or a little push or just simply provide the soundtrack to their everyday lives. I would like for them to come away realizing that this is a piece of art for their every occasion potentially.
Q: What is it about making music that keeps you in this business?
A: The simple fact that it’s my passion and the people who resonate with my sonic paintings and/or performances.