HAVING STARTED her career in her teens, neo-soul singer, Angie Stone, has witnessed the monumental changes within the music industry first-hand, and now fears for its future.
"I love music. I live for music," says Stone.
"But what we've done is made such a commercial massive mess of the whole music industry."
Stone adds: "The actual core that music stands for and represents has been compromised, and now we're at a place where you don't love to do it as much as you live to do it. You have to do it to live these days."
A native of Columbia, South Carolina, the mother of two began singing gospel music as a child at the First Nazareth Baptist Church.
Her father, a member of a local gospel quartet, would take his only child to see performances by gospel artistes, including the Singing Angels and the Gospel Keynotes.
The 52-year-old, whose first claim to fame was joining '80s hip hop trio, The Sequence, at 16 years old, feels artistes now face too many restrictions.
She says: "It was exciting and fun before. Now, it's more of a job, and there are so many reins put on the industry as a whole as to what is acceptable and what is not."
"I think the music industry is in a state of emergency."
After The Sequence separated, Stone re-emerged in the '90s as the lead vocalist for RandB trio, Vertical Hold.
The group scored with the smooth urban dance track Seems You're Much Too Busy, a top-40 hit during the summer of 1993 that led to her solo career.
During this time, Stone, who already had a daughter from a previous marriage, started to date fellow neo-soul artist, D'Angelo. The soul couple had a son, Michael, during their four-year relationship.
With the release of her 1999 solo debut, Stone became one of neo-soul's leading lights, providing sharp insight into romantic relationships with her smoky yet up-front voice.