Interview: Joss Stone

Interview with Joss Stone

Joss Stone

Introduction

It’s been almost a decade since Joss Stone was first named the “next big thing”, and with the release of The Soul Sessions Vol. 2 she’s now added a powerful comeback to her versatile resumé. We caught up with her to find out more about the making of the new album, her mum’s club in England and her connection to the Spice Girls.

Questions and answers

So, your new album The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2 is out. How much have you grown as an artist since The Soul Sessions?

Massively, I was 15 when we started recording the Soul Sessions, I was a kid and still learning. I’m an adult now, my voice is stronger and so are my opinions, so the process of recording it certainly changed.

Have you come full circle or is it a new beginning?

Neither, The Soul Sessions and two are definitely different albums but based on the same premise and the new beginning started with LP1 when I broke away from EMI, so I see it more as a continuation.

What made you choose and cover these songs?

Steve Greenberg is like the encyclopedia of forgotten soul classics. He sent over most of the songs that we then took into the studio and I made them my own.

And you chose the Broken BellsHigh Road as the first single. We like.

Thanks, so do I.

You could have reinvented yourself by jumping on the bandwagon and releasing a dance track. It seems to be the trend with soul/ R&B artists these days.

I’m not up for reinventing myself, I am who I am and if people like that and like my music then they will listen. If they don’t, they won’t.

How long did it take to record?

Most of the recording was done with a few weeks in Nashville and it was amazing fun. How could it not be, such awesome musicians working together? It was a really collaborative and inspiring process.

More fun than recording with SuperHeavy?

Recording with SuperHeavy was great fun, though it wasn’t as concentrated. We did a bit here, a bit there due to our busy schedules.

If we were to follow you, would we be surprised by a day in the life of Joss Stone?

Probably, and you might be a bit disappointed because you won’t get to see an awful lot of partying or dramatic behaviour. I spend plenty of my time walking my dogs in Devon, spending time with friends and family or in the studio writing and recording.

You’re in your mid-20s and already have a greatest hits album on your resumé. Is that intimidating?

It does feel like I’ve been in the business forever but I suppose I have in a way, it’s more than a third of my life so far. I haven’t really thought that much about the Greatest Hits though, it was released after I left EMI so I haven’t really had much involvement in it.

Say you’re in a car and you listen to one of your songs on radio. What do you do?

Turn over because I’ve heard them all so many times!

How would you feel if Rihanna covered one of your songs?

It would be great. She’s a very different artist to me and I’m sure she would change it and make it her own, just like I’ve done with The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2.

It’s been quite a British invasion this year in the US, with releases from The Wanted, One Direction, Ellie Goulding. Do you feel part of that?

Not really, I feel like I invaded a while back. Being back in the US is more like visiting old friends.

What was the best gig you ever played?

Wow, that’s a tough question. I really like playing small gigs to be honest, I sometimes play in my mum’s club in Exeter, Mama Stones, and that’s always great because you can see everyone in the audience and it has an intimate vibe.

What do you gain from live performances?

Performing live is great fun, and at the same time I get so nervous so I guess it keeps me on my toes. It’s also a good way of finding out how people are reacting to new music.

What should fans expect on stage?

I have an awesome band full of really talented musicians so first and foremost expect some great music. I definitely interact with the crowd, too. It’s more fun for them and me that way.

Are there any artists in particular that you have been inspired by lately?

I have been working with a band recently called Yes Sir Boss, they have a really unique sound. It’s kind of ska punk with a bit of a reggae vibe and its definitely the sort of music you can’t help but get up and dance to. I am also loving Birdy at the moment. I first heard about her when my next door neighbor came in saying I had to listen to her friend’s daughter and since then she’s released some stuff and it’s just brilliant.

As for my all-time heroes, it sounds obvious but you can never go wrong with the soul greats like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle, and that’s just to name a few.

What are your favorite albums from the past year?

Yes Sir Boss's Desperation State EP is brilliant and Birdy's album is called Birdy so that’s an easy one to remember. Other than them then I would recommend Jamie Hartman’s new album, III. He is such a talented songwriter and it is definitely worth a listen or three - pun definitely intended.

What you wouldn’t want us to find in your music library?

If I told you then there would be no point in you finding it…

What was the first album you bought?

The first album I owned was a present and it was Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits, the first one I bought was World’s Greatest Dance Album Ever Volume 6, I went halves with my sister because there was a Spice Girls track on it.

If you could choose any artist to work with, who would it be?

I will pretty much work with anyone because I just love creating music.