Published on February 2nd, 2017 | by Jae Monique0
Interview with “All Eyez On Me” Stefon Washington
Stefon is the former Disney actor, singer, songwriter, producer is playing Puff Daddy in the new Tupac biopic, All Eyez On Me.
All Eyez on Me, originally titled Tupac, is an upcoming biographical drama film about Tupac Shakur, directed by Benny Boom and written by Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft. The film stars Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Tupac and co-stars Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Jamie Hector and Annie Ilonzeh, and Stefon Washington. The highly anticipated film is scheduled to be released in theaters throughout the United States on Friday, June 16, 2017, on what would have been Tupac Shakur’s 46th birthday.
The Hype Magazine had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Stefon Washington as he shared how he landed the role as Puff in All Eyez On Me and his music career.
The Hype Magazine: How long have you been doing music?
Stefon Washington: I really didn’t have a choice, I was kind of born into it. Everybody in my family sings and plays instruments. It’s like a big Jackson 5 type of family. I kind of been doing music from the second I got out the womb to be honest with you…It’s kind of like you get put against a situation where it’s like this is really what you know how do. It’s kind of like when people play football where they don’t get drafted and they really keep pushing. That’s really what they know how to do the best. It’s all I’ve been doing ever since I was born. I been in front of an instrument or in the church or behind somebody’s microphone.
The Hype Magazine: Do you ever get nervous when you’re about to do a performance?
Washington: Before every show, I’m honestly stressed out before every show. I don’t know what it is, but literally every show I’m a wreck because I’m just trying to make sure everything is going perfectly where it’s like ok, ‘what time is our sound check? Is the wardrobe right?’ It’s just the whole wide spectrum of the show because it has to go right. So, I’m not really thinking about nervousness, I’m thinking about the weather. I hope it doesn’t rain because you want to make sure people come out and everything else to make sure it goes right. I’m thinking about my background singers–making sure my background singers didn’t get drunk or something. It’s a whole lot. I don’t really get nervous more than I get stressed. It takes me disappearing for a little bit like I just stop talking to people for the last couple of hours before I get on stage. I just disappear to try to get myself back into calm mode. I’m calm most of the time. I explode when I get on stage, not before.
The Hype Magazine: How did you get involved with Tupac’s biopic All Eyez On Me? And how did you get the role of Puff Daddy?
Washington: I actually showed up as an extra for a different scene and somebody thought that I looked like young Puff. Somebody thought I looked more like young Puff than the guy that they had in the makeup chair at the time. Puff didn’t do any scenes yet so the timing was just so perfect that by the time they figured out I kind of looked like him, they started asking me questions and told me to sit upstairs. The next thing you know, I’m standing beside the guy across from the executive producer L.T. Hutton, and they’re like ‘Is this the Puff you got?’ ‘Doesn’t this guy look a lot like little Puff?’ They kind of just started talking and then 45 minutes later, I’m trying on Puff clothes, going back and forth with ole boy, and I think I left with the role. It got to the point where Benny Boom was like ‘Be on set in 10 minutes for rehearsal.’
The Hype Magazine: How did you feel when you got the role?
Washington: It was cool. I was a little nervous at the beginning because it was like ‘Yall just threw me into a movie’ like for real. It was nerve wrecking at the beginning until I talked to Big. He was just pretty much talking to me. He actually spent time with Puff when he was doing Notorious. He was able to give me Puff’s mannerisms and what Puff would do in certain situations so it made doing certain scenes really easy because he was able to really talk to me. Plus, it helped a lot because no one called me by my name. I forgot my name was Stefon. I wasn’t Stefon at all, I was Puff. They didn’t call me nothing else but Puff…It wasn’t just me though, everybody was like that to the point where Big was Big and Pac was Pac. Nobody called Pac Demetrius, especially when this dude walking around really looking like this man.
The Hype Magazine: Since Demetrius looked so much like Tupac, did it feel surreal working alongside him?
Washington: It was weird because a lot of people don’t know how much people were really in their roles. Like I was there with a scene where all of us were together. Between breaks, we didn’t chill with each other. Bad Boys chilled with Bad Boys, Death Row chilled with Death Row. It wasn’t on purpose, we just subconsciously did it.
The Hype Magazine: Were you shocked when you got the role?
Washington: I was shocked when it was over. It was like, you didn’t have time to be shocked. It’s time to work. When it was over, that’s when I’m like calling my mom like ‘Yo, so something just happened.’
The Hype Magazine: Tell me about your transition from working with Disney to working with Yung Joc?
Washington: Disney is, in a good way, controlling. With Disney, you have a wall around you to make sure you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do when it comes to how you’re working, where you’re going, all types of stuff like that. Everybody says when you leave Disney, everybody gets bad. Disney just didn’t let you see how they was to begin with. Now that they’re not with Disney no more, they no longer have the wall, so you get to see how they are. Nobody really backlashed after Disney, it’s just how they was from the beginning. Everybody is different. Some people are a little wilder than others. Hillary Duff wasn’t wild at all and she came from Disney. I was always wild. Dealing with Joc, that was kind of easy. It’s a little different because I’m the only singer amongst rappers.
The Hype Magazine: What’s it like working with Yung Joc? Did you always want to work with him?
Washington: I had a lot of connects to him at one point. He became like my brother pretty fast like on some real family type stuff. I met him through Nelly. I was with Nelly at this concert that he had and backstage there was T.I.P. and Jermaine Dupri. Snoop was the host and then at the end of the show, Joc was just over there so I just walked up to Joc and said ‘what’s good.’ I knew we had a mutual friend because I started working with Teddy Riley and I produced a record for Ray Lavender that Joc got on. So, I was able to walk up and talk about that record. He was like ‘you’re the producer, I was looking for you the whole time. I was trying to see who made the record.’ We got cool. We just started partying, going out, and he was really looking out for me because I didn’t have a lot of people in Atlanta. It was cool because Joc is super respected here. When Joc took me under his wing and started taking me places just off face time, people started connecting the dots and was like ‘oh, he’s in that movie and that’s Joc’s new artist”, even though I wasn’t Joc’s artist yet. One night Joc was like ‘why don’t you just let me manage you?’ At the end of the day, somebody who is been in the industry, whose been through all the BS and back, I kind of trusted that judgement better.
The Hype Magazine: Tell me about your new single “Goosebumps” feat. Yung Joc.
Washington: It’s sexy. I just dropped a video for “No Emotions” not too long ago. It had a dope late 90s vibe to it and “Goosebumps” is not necessarily playing off of it, but it’s not far from it. It’s a slow record and it gives you R&B. I’m an R&B artist and I think it’s time us artists to start claiming our positions in this industry. We’re able to do stuff that rappers can’t do, but we’re dumbing down our material to do what they can do to try to stay alive. I’m not doing that anymore. “Goosebumps” is a nice middle ground from that where it’s sexy, it’s real sexy. Joc got on the record and really hit his old Yung Joc flow that everybody really missed.
The Hype Magazine: You’re an actor and an artist. Which is your preference? Music or acting?
Washington: I can honestly say both because music is something I do just like breathing. Acting is cool because I get to escape and be someone I’m not. I get to be a completely different person. That’s why I value acting. I just joined to be part of this web television series called City of War and I’m going to be pretty gangster in that show. It’s an escape. This show is like a nice vibe of Power and Boyz in the Hood. It’s like a middle ground of that.
The Hype Magazine: What sets you apart from other artists in your genre?
Washington: Other artists in my genre don’t produce their own records. I do everything by myself. I produce, I song write, I engineer. Whatever we got to do. I’m a one-man band. They joke in Atlanta. They’re like ‘You’re the R&B Kanye West.’
The Hype Magazine: Which artists were you inspired by?
Washington: It’s a few different ones. When it comes to how he transcends things and tells you where the music needs to go and you go, I’d say Puff on that. When it comes to my stage show, I’d say Bobby all day and when it comes to the sex appeal of where I get the blueprint, I go with Usher. Those are like my three.
The Hype Magazine: Where can everyone follow you on social media?
Washington: Stefon4u for everything and that’s literally for every social media you’re looking for me on.Tweet