Erica Stone, the epitome of a small town girl in Southwestern Missouri who grows up to be a wife and a stay at home mom, with dreams of someday making music. That someday would involve years of twists and turns which nearly swallowed Erica Stone whole.
The winding road began when the young mother of a one year old found an article on the internet about war torn Sierra Leone. A picture of a girl not much younger than her son brought Erica to her knees, thus igniting a passion for Africa and a calling to adopt the face in the picture.
Music City also came calling around the same time for Erica and her husband. Early 2008, music showcases and meetings with industry executives seemed promising for Erica and her then musical duo partner, and just as the duo was about to get signed to a major label, the doors closed. The music dreams dimmed and took a side seat as the politics and roller coasters of Music Row had nothing on the daily struggle simply to survive in Sierra Leone. The long winded court battles and continuous denial to bring their future daughter to US soil meant constant trips to West Africa where Erica saw firsthand the brutality and treatment refugees were receiving.
Close to five years later, their son Jordan, legally had a sister. Four more adopted siblings soon followed, leaving Erica to tuck away her music for the next several years and focus on her growing family and mission. Erica and her husband opened an orphanage and an adoption agency to rescue the hundreds of children being beaten, traded, trafficked, separated, and displaced from their families. In the midst of the firestorm, they lost their precious daughter, Adama, due to negligence and corruption within the Sierra Leone borders.
And without music and writing as her therapy, Erica felt like she was losing the core of who she was. But sometimes, it takes losing yourself to find yourself. Nearly a decade after she gave up her undeveloped dream for a destined reality, Erica is now sharing her story with the world, as an artist, author, and advocate.
Her new album, Antidote, features her current singles, “Lies” and “Glass House.” The video for “Glass House” spotlights real stories from people who messaged her, willing to share their setbacks and insecurities in front of a camera. The collaborators on this project are those in her tight circle that worked with her nine years ago and stuck with her, when others strayed.
“I’m in a different position than I was the first time,” Erica says. “I don’t think I knew who I was. But today, I feel confident in my story and the mess of what I am and who I am. There’s no façade--no putting on the best show in somebody’s office,” referring to a time when producers advised her not to talk about Africa in front of execs, for fear of losing her career.
But the fear has taken a backseat to the power she has found within. Always a storyteller first, she chronicles her hardships in her new book, Gray—A Story of Loss. Which made a record setting debut for Amazon Books as the #1 place holder in many categories. The memoir, released March 22, recounts the raw and heartbreaking journey of her daughter’s life and death in Sierra Leone as it tells of the dark side of adoption that is all too often kept silent. But it also showcases the strength and faith that has gotten her through and saved so many lives in the process.
The small town, naïve girl who trekked into the unknowns of Africa is now a courageous advocate for children who can’t fight for themselves. The once aspiring and vulnerable artist is now a confident voice with a compassion that stretches beyond politics. She prefers to let the lyrics and melodies speak for themselves in order to find the song that stays
And when it comes to the future, Erica is learning to trust the process and surrender the outcome.
“You’re either going to get me or you’re not, “ she gently states. “And that’s okay either way.”