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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

You can download another sound, a much less annoying one, starting today. It is the new CD from R&B singer Angie Stone. It's called "The Art of Love and War." She had the help of some big names from both the present and the past.

DAY TO DAY music contributor Derek Rath invited Angie Stone to our studio.

(Soundbite of song, "Play With It")

DEREK RATH: One listen to "The Art of Love and War" and you feel there's a ghost in the machine. Echoes of Earth, Wind and Fire ricochet off Philadelphia soul, gospel and Stevie Wonder, all of it filtered to a present-day sensibility. As Angie Stone tells it, that's not an accident.

Ms. ANGIE STONE (Singer): I always have a saying that I'm old enough to know the difference, still young enough to make a difference. And I really believe that I was placed in this industry to be the tie that binds the two worlds.

(Soundbite of song, "Play With It")

Ms. STONE:(Singing) And your song and I will. Yeah. Hey. Play with it 'coz you just might get it. Player, you don't wanna mess with me. Uh. Play with it.

RATH: It helps that Angie Stone is working at Marvin's Room, the studio where Marvin Gay recorded some of his greatest music.

Ms. STONE: When you're working in Marvin Gaye's studio, the actual spirit of Marvin exists. And I can't help but to believe that whatever he was feeling and the things that he loved were actually a part of what I came up with.

(Soundbite of song, "Happy Being Me")

Ms. STONE: The song "Happy Being Me" is reminiscent because it really is an ode to oneself, and I think when Marvin did "What's Happening" and all of those songs, those songs are very personal to him. They were about him.

(Soundbite of song, "Happy Being Me")

RATH: While recording, Angie Stone found herself drawn to a picture of Marvin Gaye in the studio.

Ms. STONE: It sits on the wall behind the microphone. And every time I was having a rough time, I would turn my back to the microphone and turn to that picture. And I would talk and say help me.

RATH: Helping were some real life R&B veterans like James Ingram and the clean up woman, Betty Wright, helping out here on "Baby".

(Soundbite of song, "Baby")

Ms. STONE: With the likes of Betty Wright and James Ingram, I can't go wrong. These are the people that I love, that I grew up listening to.

(Soundbite of song, "Baby")

RATH: James Ingram got involved on the song "My People."

(Soundbite of song, "My People")

RATH: It's an anthem of affirmation, just as relevant to post-Katrina America as it would have it been in the civil rights era.

Ms. STONE: It's so funny because that was least favorite track at one point. And it wasn't until James Ingram came and sat down in the studio and broke down the analogy of what we were doing that I found a new respect. You can hear it in the jubilation of "My People."

(Soundbite of song, "My People")

RATH: For NPR New, this is Derek Rath.

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