All respects to Diddys judgment, but its quite possible he missed one in Sara Stokes. She was one of the fortunate few to make it through the rigors of reality television - as well as surviving the Bad Boy moguls own unique regiment, which included a hike to Brooklyn for cheesecake. While other members of Da Band aligned themselves with Bad Boy or expressed discontent with Diddy, Sara quietly retreated back to Michigan with her family.
Now, the siren has joined forces with Don P of Trillville in hopes of fulfilling her singing aspirations. Musically, shes got the vehicle - and Ps got the industry connections. Will they make moves? Read on and judge for yourself as we connect with Sara and Don P for some real talk.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: What made you sign with Don-P? You know how did yall make that connection?
Sara Stokes: Well, basically my manager cooked it all up. You know how great he is, but I just heard a lot about him already, and I know how fly he is and everything, so Im happy to work with him.
AHHA: Was it the music or business?
Sara: Actually its both. I mean his business is off the chain, and his music is off the chain, so I couldnt go wrong.
AHHA: No doubt. Now, coming from the Diddy situation, whats the difference with this?
Sara: Well, now its just gonna be me, so I gotta really represent and everything, come out there and just wow everybody. I was definitely gonna be getting more money - I aint sharing with five other people.
AHHA: How did you get off the Bad Boy situation contracts? Im sure you didnt go The Lox route.
Sara: Well basically, Puff sent me on my way all nice, and I left on good terms. So it wasnt no love lost or nothing like that. I might work with them one day, you never know. But he released me out of my contract, no problem.
AHHA: Okay, so you kind of played it straight. I know a lot of other cats did a lot of complaining and stuff.
Sara: Im not really a complainer. If you make sure your business is good up front, you cant lose that game.
AHHA: No doubt. I always felt that you were easily one of the best people, if not the most marketable, person for him to really work with. Babs and Ness are cool, so thats no disrespect to them, but I always felt that you had a little bit of more star quality.
Sara: Well thank you for the comment, you know the compliment and everything, I appreciate that. But I just feel like Puff saw something in me, cause he picked me [to be in Da Band].
AHHA: Yeah. So do you keep in touch with anybody from Da Band?
Sara: Oh yeah, I still talk to some of them. I talk to Chopper - matter of fact Im supposed to be doing a movie with them. Im trying to do everything, movies - I want to have my own makeup line, everything.
AHHA: Whats the movie about?
Sara: Its like a Hip-Hop movie and its supposed to have [some big names] in it. Im not really too much about the role right now, but were just now working that out.
AHHA: Did you ever get discouraged going from a deal with Bad Boy to being completely out of out of the limelight?
Sara: Yes, I mean it was kind of hard. I been out for about two years now, I was just really recording and staying busy, making sure I keep on tracks and stuff. But it was kind of disappointing. I felt like I should have been out a long time ago, but God knows when Im supposed to come out. Hes like take your time, enjoy your family and youre gonna be super busy, in a minute.
AHHA: Right, right. Production-wise, who you are you going to be working with? I know you and Don P will be doing some things, but will there be other people?
Sara: Oh yeah, I want to have a lot of hot people on my album. Right now I worked with Disco D, Rockwilder I got a lot of good people, thats when I worked with Ty Fyffe - theres so many people man.
AHHA: You know you were very much regulated when you were in Da Band. What kind of flair will you come out with, or will it be straight R&B, R&B/Hip-Hop - maybe a little more soulful?
Sara: Right, well I want to touch on everything. I have rock in my music - you know the guitar going crazy. Ive got some Hip-Hop beats. Ive got just about anything you can think of in my songs, because nobody knows what nationality I am anyway, so why not put everything in there?
AHHA: Yeah, yeah no doubt.
Sara: I love all music anyway, so but I want to keep it [like that], I want to have those [different] beats too, because you cant hide that.
AHHA: Yeah, absolutely. Do you have a label situation yet?
Sara: Not yet.
AHHA: Oh, okay. How will you generate a buzz? I know a lot of R&B people are using mixtapes now. Any special technique you want to do?
Sara: Well, not really. When I come out I just want it to be right. Thats all I can say about that.
AHHA: Right, right.
Don P: Yeah, we got a couple of labels already lined up. What were gonna do is get her on the hook on a couple of singles for a couple of artists coming out. Get her back on the scene as soon as possible, back singing as soon as possible and its just gonna be crazy. Its just gonna happen. Its almost gonna be like she never left, you know what I mean?
AHHA: You think shell be a part of South movement?
Don-P: Yeah, she gonna be part of course, but you know we dont like to say that. We gonna touch on all areas but definitely, we definitely gonna be taking advantage of what the Souths got going on right now, especially with me in Atlanta. Well get something popping in the club as quick as possible, and its gonna be crazy.
AHHA: Sara, hows your family life? There was a lot of stuff was on TV during Making The Band?
Sara: Whole familys great, kids getting big - they want to start singing and acting and all that stuff too, so you know Im gonna put them in with some Nickelodeon thing or something. Everythings going great, I was glad actually to come home and spend some time with them, because I was gone for months at a time and it is hard as being a parent. But you gotta make it happen, not only for yourself, but for them too. Theyre all for it, theyre like, Mommy live your dream, do it mom. So I got their backing.
AHHA: A lot of new faces like Ciara and Keyshia Cole have popped up in the last couple of years. Where do you see yourself fitting in as you re-emerge?
Sara: Well I know theres definitely a spot out there for me, cause everywhere I go everyones like When are you coming out? Oh my Lord we been missing you Sara! You were great! They showed me a lot of love. I want to be right up there with Christina Milian, the Beyonces. I want to be in that realm. I want to have music that lasts. You know I love Mariah Carey right now, thats my girl, shes been my girl forever. I feel like I want to fit right there.
AHHA: What kind of songs do you have in the chamber right now?
Sara: Well I got this high point, Lay Me Down, that I think is crazy. Every time somebody hears it theyre like, Dang, that song should be out right now. And I got a remix to Juveniles song Rodeo.
AHHA: Any final words, Sara?
Sara: Hey, let my parents and all my people out there know that it will be happening, I havent gone nowhere. Im gonna be right in their face on the radio and TV, everywhere.