Malta Bend is more than the title of Stevie Stone’s third album on Strange Music, it’s the itty, bitty town that’s responsible for the man himself.
In the album’s title track, Stevie Stone takes us through a journey of this small town that the world would’ve never known had Stevie decided not to explore his roots in musical form. The incredible, moving title track (aided by a stunning hook by multi-talent Tyler Lyon) deserved an interview in its own, so we talked to Stevie and had him break it down.
Take us through this song and what it’s about.
Malta Bend is where I briefly describe, in three or four minutes, my mother’s journey – her growing up, two of my sisters, and me. It’s about my mother all the way up and down. It’s just her life summed up into a tribute to her. It’s a tribute to the town where she grew up, and it’s a tribute to the roots.
When learning about her story, were these stories she would tell you or did you ask a lot of questions about it?
Aw, yeah. I’ve been asking a lot of questions. I would call her and my sister. I know I was probably driving them crazy. I was hitting them up at 2 o’clock in the morning, midnight sometimes, asking questions, doing a lot of research, but definitely asking a lot of questions. Then being able to go down there and see it with her. She taught me a lot of things through being on the grounds and like, “this is what this was” and “this is what this was”. It was dope, man. It was dope.
What does it do to your pride when you hear about those kind of roots?
You embrace it. Like me, I embrace it. “Ambition and Motivation”, I talk about it. Those times right there, you embrace those because those make you strong – they make you stronger. They make you who I am today. Trials and tribulations are always good for the soul. It’s always good for the soul because it builds up a tolerance. You’re going through things, but you’re going to get over that. Sometimes you be like, “When am I going to get over this? How am I going to get over this?” But when you get over it, it’s like, “I did it.” It comes back around and you’re going to know how to handle it. Trial and tribulation for the soul.
You’ve had some great storytelling songs. Has storytelling always been something you’re naturally good at?
Storytelling…yeah. Just like you said, on this album, I just showcased it more. I wanted to showcase a couple songs that didn’t go on the album… there were more storytelling records that didn’t make it on the album. That’s because we kept doing records and these records outweigh those records. But I think that’s me maturing, that’s something that I do. I want to paint a picture. I want to put you in a place. I want you to feel it. That’s something I’m going to continue to do more and more of. Just evolving. I love telling stories, storytelling. “Dollar General”.
You have a talent for little details when it comes to storytelling, which makes a big difference. I guess I wanted to ask what made you, this time around, want to tell so many stories on this album and make it so personal.
It was time. It was time to go there. I want people to know who I am. You can’t listen to albums… I was thinking to myself, I was listening to Rollin’ Stone, great album, first album on Strange – Tech N9ne Presents – wonderful and beautiful album. Then 2 Birds 1 Stone had came out, or Momentum, then 2 Birds 1 Stone. All these songs I’m giving you, I’m giving you me, but it’s just the surface. I need to take you before me. I need to tell you the reason why I am like I am. That’s what Malta Bend is. You hear Malta Bend, you hear Rollin’ Stone. I just take it back: New Kid Comin’. Rollin’ Stone, Momentum, 2 Birds 1 Stone. It’s still scratching the surface. You got bits and pieces, like the “My Remedy”s and the “My Life”s. You got the “808 Bendin”s and the “Dollar General”s. All these bits and pieces of what it is and Malta Bend is just more. It’s just more of it. I’m forming, I’m putting it in perspective and letting you know the reason why I am like I am.
How did you and Tyler Lyon get together to collaborate on this? He sings a great hook.
It was a combination of me and Seven. Me and Tyler knew we wanted to work with each other. We went on the Band of Psychos Tour. From then, I actually showed him the beat and I told him I wanted him to write a hook for the joint. You know, Tyler is like… dog, he is so talented. For real, for real. You don’t find many guys as talented and as humble as him. He blew me away with the type of shit that he did.
Tyler got a lot of soul in him, but he doesn’t get to showcase it a lot. I wanted to tap in on that soul in him. So I was like, “Yo!” So, he came to the joint. He wrote the hook, I wrote the intro and outro, he wrote the hook and I wrote my verses and everything. It was beautiful and he killed it. When you hear the “Malta Bend”, you’ll get goosebumps. My mother heard it and she was in tears.
Anything else you want to say about this track, dude?
“Malta Bend” is deep. I’m pretty sure there’s similar stories out there. I’m pretty sure that someone’s going to be able to relate in some way on something on this album. On this song, I know a lot of people are going to be able to relate to it. I got a lot of friends and people that I know, and I know that don’t know that’s going to be able to relate to this. It’s just about overcoming. Ambition…motivation. I can’t wait until everybody hears it and get feedback. I defintely poured my heart into this and I left it on the floor. I know that this is my best body of music that I’ve made since I’ve been doing this. So that’s a blessing.
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