Stan Sono spent his early years in the Ukraine, where he lived with his parents until he was 6 years old. It wasn’t until the artist’s family found a new home in the States, when he was introduced to English, but Stan quickly realized music was his pathway to picking up the language.
As a teenager, Stan feverishly listened to albums like Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP, which helped him pursue his own passion for singing, rapping and producing. As he developed a unique vocal style, along with a buttery flow for his raps, Sono began to link with other youngsters making music for today’s generation of hip-hop listeners.
Chicago artists like G Herbo, Lucki Eck$, and Save Money’s Sterling Hayes are just a few of the names who have clocked studio hours with young creative firecracker in recent years. He is also 1/2 of duo Goodbye Tomorrow, a production/rap collective with a sound that can match any big name producer out today.
For his VIBE debut, Stan releases the first single from his forthcoming solo EP. “Need It” was produced by Stan and Eddie Supanova, and leads the way for his upcoming EP Infautatued EP — which fans can pre-order on iTunes now.
VIBE: No shade, but how often do you receive Justin Timberlake comparisons, and what is your usual response to it?
Stan: Honestly I haven’t gotten it as much as you would think, not yet. It’s been here and there. I been getting more Tiller than Timberlake which I think is raw cause Tiller got the juice right now, so I’ll take that any day. I’m gonna show them more of my swag once this EP drops though, and then they will know Stan Sono when they hear it.
How would you describe your vocal texture, an how do you classify yourself as a vocalist?
My boy Maks G used to say I sound like a “majestic whale.” He would say I have an angelic voice that’s comforting and soothing. I’d have to say my vocal textures vary and have a lot of range. I like to mix it up. I record myself 99% of the time and mix my vocals up until the final mix when E. Dan goes in. But I’m really big on vocal production and vibes and just an overall sound — that’s regal and grand.
Is auto-tune a major part of your artistry, or can you do without it?
If that’s a kind way of asking “can you sing”… Yes, I can sing and do without auto-tune. But auto-tune is such a dope tool. Possibly the coolest tool of the last few decades for musicians which is why you see it so prominently in dance music and now hip-hop, r&b, pop — even country music. I love auto-tune, you never know what to expect with it and, creatively, it’s super fun and I’m always trying it to push the sounds when it comes to how I use it.
Where do you see “Need It” going as a single? Do you think this could be your breakout hit?
That’s a great question. Funny you ask that because I was just thinking how “Need It” was originally supposed to be the first single. Eddie Supanova and I began working on that record in 2014. I’ve always been told my music and production is ahead of its time. Like it forces you to listen it all the way through the end. The last minute and a half is my favorite. I believe my team would agree when I say I have more “breakout hit” material coming sooner than you know.
What kind of production style do you feel goes best with your musical delivery? What kind of sound do you think allows you to be heard at your best?
Anything with emotion. If it makes me feel something, then I belong on it. My delivery is not bound to any style. I make hip-hop beats and rap music all day with my homie Preme for our group Goodbye Tomorrow. I sing on there and do backgrounds. I’ll get on anything that’s original and has a good feeling. A lot of my homies produce and sometimes it might be stuff that’s so jam packed with music that I can’t see myself filling it in. Sometimes it’s the minimal stuff. Eddie Supanova got my vibe down and my homie Gene Karma. They will send me loops or like minimal vibes, those are the best, then I go in and it’s over.
From a business stand point, how has working with Will enhanced your career?
From any stand point, working with Will has been life changing. Will is an incredible person, everyone loves him and you can easily see why. He knows his sh*t and he really cares about people and relationships. He’s not a suit. He’s a blessing. I know millions of people would kill to be in this position I’m in, so I do not take it for granted at all. I look up to Will and the empire he’s built and definitely will continue to work to show him I got it every day.
Is there one artist you would ever consider as your “spirit animal”?
The-Dream. We are both virgos. I feel like we are cut from the same cloth. His album Love/Hate changed my life. The way he creates music, his style, his writing, his concepts — I really think he is one of the GOATs of our generation.
What collaboration would make you say “damn, I made it?”
Right now the easy answer would be if I got a Drake verse it would be over with instantly! If we are talking actual collaborations like not e-mailing a verse, I’d have to say Eminem because I grew up listening to Em and had actual dreams of being in the studio with Em. I had a dream once that Dre and Em scooped me up in a helicopter to go to this raw ass studio in L.A.
If your song “Need It” could be a painting, describe how it would look visually in the best way you can?
It would have to be something in the painting that instantly strikes you in it, so you have to look, but it may take you a few glances around to really understand the whole piece. It would be full of color, striking whites, blues, pinks, a lot of detail and have different meanings depending on who is looking at it and the environment they are in. Sensual. Moody. Dark.