Stephanie Mills suggests older artists’ thirst for attention can cause them to make bad choices, like when Brian McKnight decided to sing sexually explicit lyrics.
“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,” Stephanie told the Huffington Post.
The “Home” singer described Brian’s raunchy track as “disrespectful” and believes he did himself a disservice.
“I think it took away from all of the classiness and the great stuff that he has done before,” she said, before clumping Erykah Badu in that category of older artists gone wild.
“When Erykah Badu took off all 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.”
While she feels some go left in their pursuit to stay relevant, Stephanie said she’s able to hold on to her fan base by keeping it real and consistent.
“I try to sing my songs exactly the same way that I record them,” said Stephanie, who vocally prepares for tours by singing other artists’ songs.
“I vocalize to Aretha [Franklin],” she said. “I would always sing either Diana Ross, Whitney Houston or Barbra Streisand. I would sing other people’s songs that I was really a fan of when I wanted to get ready for my shows.”
Stephanie is also a fan of Mary J. Blige, Anita Baker and Chaka Khan, the three women she’d most like to sing with if she ever formed a group.
“I think that our voices would lend to each other—we’re different, and it would be fun,” she said. “We get along. We like each other and I think we could really do something cute together."
Although she’d most like to form a group with the aforementioned divas, when it comes to collaborations, Stephanie’s mind is on Young Money.
“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,” she said.
—Tracy L. Scott
Do you agree with Stephanie? That older artists rely on shocking behavior to stay relevant? Does it work? Would you like to see a Mary J., Chaka, Anita and Stephanie group? Leave your comments below.