Singer creates own ‘vision’ on third CD
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Introducing Joss Stone seems like an odd title for the third outing by an artist who has sold 7.5 million albums worldwide.
But the 19-year-old British R&B singer says the 14-track set, which comes out tomorrow in the United States and Canada, really does mark a new beginning.
“People get confused by it — understandably,” Stone says with a laugh. “They’re like, ‘Hang on, were we hearing, like, a fake Joss before?’ And I’m like, ‘No, no, no ... you just weren’t hearing my vision. It was somebody else’s vision that I just happened to be singing on.’
“So when I say, Introducing Joss Stone, it’s like, ‘Finally, now they’ve given me the chance to actually create a piece of art, to create an album that has a start, a middle and a finish.”’
Stone — who was born Joscelyn Stoker in Dover, Kent — says that her age had much to do with the three-album evolution to this point. Signed by indie label S-Curve Records at 14, Stone debuted with the 2003 covers collection The Soul Sessions, which sold nearly 1 million copies in the United States, hit No. 39 on the Billboard 200 and gave her two U.K. hits, including her languid version of the White Stripes’ Fell In Love With A Boy.
2004’s Mind Body & Soul topped the charts in Stone’s homeland and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, selling 1.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But, she says, it felt rushed and, in hindsight, “I don’t even think it’s a good album. I think it’s a CD with a bunch of songs on it.”
So despite such high-profile gigs as Live 8 and a Grammy Awards salute to Janis Joplin with Melissa Etheridge, Stone felt she still had something to prove with Introducing, her debut for Virgin Records, which absorbed S-Curve. Early in 2006, she began writing songs, including the Jackson 5-influenced Baby Baby Baby and In The Arms Of My Baby, both of which made the final cut. She has already shot a video for Tell Me ‘Bout It.
Stone estimates she wrote about 60 songs, recording 20 with producer Raphael Saadiq in the Bahamas and finishing at Electric Lady Studios in New York. Rapper Common and the Fugees’ reclusive Lauryn Hill each appear on a track.
Promotions and exclusive tracks are being set up with Wal-Mart, Amazon, iTunes and Sound Check. Target will carry a special tour edition of Introducing Joss Stone that allows fans early access to her tour, which begins April 27. She will be a featured artist at Starbucks stores, and she will also do AOL Sessions and Yahoo Live sets.
“This is just music I hope will make people feel — that’s all it is,” Stone says. “I just hope it will make an emotion happen in someone’s body when they hear it, and that’s it. It’s a piece of music — an album that is hopefully good.”