It’s been more than a year since the world was glued to their TVs for P. Diddy’s “Making The Band.” The group, which was named Da Band, was put together with Dylan, Chopper, Fred, Babs, Ness and the only singer, Sara Stokes — who all had aspirations of being solo artists, but were under contract with Bad Boy Records as a group.
After the season finale revealed that Diddy would dismantle Da Band, leaving some of the members in limbo, viewers wondered where the members would end up. Well, a year later, Sara Stokes is still going strong and is preparing her debut solo album to the world.
Working with A-class producers in Disco D, Rockwilder, and Ty Fyffe, among others, Sara is ready to show her full range, and prove to fans that she can really blow. Her first single is set to be the Disco D produced “Make The First Move,” which should be released very soon to the public.
BallerStatus checked in the singer to see how the whole MTV experience affected her, what she’s been up to, and things she has coming in the near future.
Ballerstatus.com: It’s been a minute since you were on “Making The Band,” so what has Sara Stokes been up to?
Sara Stokes: I have been doing a lot of things. I’m working on my solo album right now, and I’m about to drop the first single called “Make The First Move,” which should be coming out shortly. I’ve worked on a couple movies: one was “The Resurrection: JR Richards Story,” I co-starred in that. Just keeping busy really, and definitely enjoying the family life.
Ballerstatus.com: Yea, on the show, there was a lot of conflict with you being away from your husband and children. How has that changed now, as far as your career goes?
Sara Stokes: Well, you always have to make a sacrifice [in the music business]. I mean, it was hard for me, but I was never away from them like [I was on “Making The Band”] — being away for months at a time. I was having withdraws the first time [laughs]. But I knew I was doing a good thing, trying to make it being a singer. [The kids] understand that mommy was out there working, trying to be a superstar. Now being back home, it’s real, real good. I ain’t even gonna lie [laughs]. All that time away, I’m trying to make up for it by taking them to Disney World… we doing all kinds of stuff.
Ballerstatus.com: From being on the show, you got a lot of exposure nationwide. How has that affected your career thus far?
Sara Stokes: Oh, it’s crazy! I didn’t even know that many people watched “Making The Band.” People will see me and be like “Oh my God, Sara Stokes, Sara Stokes,” and I would just be like “Woah!” Everywhere I go, I get recognized, but that’s a good thing. I’m glad MTV hooked it up for us.
Ballerstatus.com: Looking back, at the end of the show, Da Band was dismantled, and you guys went your separate ways. Do you have any regrets from anything you did while on MTV?
Sara Stokes: No, to tell you the truth, I don’t really have any regrets. Everything I did, my steps were ordered by the Lord, so whatever happened, happened. I can’t turn back time, but I liked the way they displayed me on the show. I was always just there to try to make it, and that’s the way I was. I would have kept doing it, but everything comes to an end sometimes.
Ballerstatus.com: Ok, you are working on your new album. You’ve also working with producer Disco D — who did 50 Cent’s “Ski Mask Way” — how was it working with him, and how many tracks has he done for your album?
Sara Stokes: We working Disco like crazy. For one: he’s a good person, so we get along chemistry-wise, and basically he just knew my style. I heard a couple of tracks, and I was like “Oh my God, that’s it!” Matter of fact, “Make The First Move,” which is my first single, is Disco D’s track. We got about four or five songs we’ve done together, and we’re might pick some of those to go on the album. But working with him is crazy. One time I remember him telling me to come out the booth and he said “This is the club track, so you have to really act like you’re in the club.” He was like “Just start dancing, go to town,” so I was dancing and everything, and I really felt like I was in the club. So he’s got that kind of energy and gets you into the track. It’s not even real work, its fun to me.
Ballerstatus.com: Who else have you worked with for your debut?
Sara Stokes: I’ve worked with Ty Fyffe, and a lot of different people. Rockwilder and a couple more. These people really know my style, you know?
Ballerstatus.com: Are there any plans to do any collabos on the album?
Sara Stokes: Well, right now I’m looking for Justin Timberlake to do a collabo with me. There is a lot of people. Mariah Carey; I’m hoping to do some stuff with her, and hopefully that will come through. Other than that, I don’t have any collabs at the moment.
Ballerstatus.com: As far as your label situation, are you signed right now, or you shopping a deal? What’s up with that?
Sara Stokes: I’m shopping for deal right now. If nobody bites, hey, I’m putting it out independently. I ain’t waiting on nobody. I got enough exposure to do that, so why not take advantage of it?
Ballerstatus.com: As far as the rest of Da Band, are you still in contact with any of them?
Sara Stokes: Oh yea, that’s like my family. I’ll never stop talking to them because that’s where it all began. You gotta remember where you came from. I talked to Chopper the other day, and he wanted me to do some stuff for him on his album — that’s coming out pretty soon. Talked to Babs, but haven’t talked to Fred lately. Other than that I talk to everyone; they are great.
Ballerstatus.com: With your music, you never really got to showcase your talent fully with Da Band. So with your debut solo album, what kind of stuff do you want people to see that Sara Stokes can do on this new album?
Sara Stokes: They are gonna hear that it’s gonna be crazy. For one, my style is more pop R&B, which is a mixture of classical, rock music in it… I like all styles of music, so I’m not gonna stick to just one. Why not, just do it all? The balance I have is crazy — straight tear jerkers. I’m talking that I’m belching off some notes. I got something on the album for everybody, so you will see my range, and see that Sara can really sing.
Ballerstatus.com: I also hear that you were in the studio with Royce Da 5’9″?
Sara Stokes: Yep! I did some stuff for his album. I got the single coming out, so… It’s a real nice song, really nice. I think it will go far.
Ballerstatus.com: Ok, what other type of things do you got going on right now besides music?
Sara Stokes: The acting thing, I’m definitely gonna keep pursuing it. I love being in front of the camera, remembering lines, getting into the art — I love playing characters; love being other people. I’m gonna do my own make-up line, which I’m gonna call SAS for Sara Anne Stokes. It’s gonna be real nice for anyone to wear: Black people, Puerto Ricans, whoever. We’re working on another realit show too, “Life After The Band.” It’s gonna be funny because my family everyday something new happens. There’s not a dull moment in my family. If they were to pick this up, I think people would be like, “Oh my God! These people are crazy!”
Ballerstatus.com: Ok, you mentioned earlier that you are in an upcoming movie. Tell me about that.
Sara Stokes: Yes, “The Resurrection: JR Richards Story.” It’s basically about a baseball player who had a stroke on the mound, and ended his career. I play his wife in the movie. It’s a true story.
Ballerstatus.com: So do you play a predominant role throughout the movie?
Sara Stokes: Yea, the whole movie. I basically have the co-starring role beside David Ramsey; he’s a pretty well-known actor.
Ballerstatus.com: Do you have any other roles you are looking for?
Sara Stokes: I’m definitely looking. I just tried out Ice Cube’s new sitcom he’s putting out for “Barbershop,” and I got good feedback so far, so that should happen in the near future.
Ballerstatus.com: What were you doing before you were on MTV, and how does it feel to go from there to where you are now?
Sara Stokes: Well, I was coming out with my album. Right before “Making The Band,” I was recording in Atlanta, and my husband was like “Why don’t you come try out in Detroit for ‘Making The Band’? Puff’s supposed to be there,” so I was like “Ok.” I wasn’t really trying to go because I wasn’t trying to try out for no band really, but I was like “Let me go see, you never know.” So I went down there, and ended up making it. But before that, I was always singing since I was 5 years old.