Joss Stone (born Jocelyn Eve Stoker on 11 April 1987) is an English soul and R&B singer-songwriter and actress. Stone emerged to fame in late 2003 with her multi-platinum debut album, The Soul Sessions, which made the 2004 Mercury Prize shortlist. Her second album, the also-multi-platinum Mind, Body & Soul, topped the UK Albums Chart for one week and spawned the top ten hit "You Had Me", Stone's most successful single on the UK Singles Chart to date. Both album and single each received one nomination at the 2005 Grammy Awards, while Stone herself was nominated for Best New Artist. Stone's latest album, Introducing Joss Stone, released in March 2007, has achieved gold status by the RIAA.
Throughout her career, Stone has sold over ten million albums worldwide, and has won two BRIT Awards and one Grammy Award. She also made her acting debut in late 2006 with the fantasy adventure film Eragon, as the witch Angela, and she will make her television debut portraying Anne of Cleves in the Showtime series The Tudors in 2009.
Stone grew up listening to a wide variety of music including 1960s and 1970s American R&B and soul music performed by such artists as Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin; as a result, she developed a soulful style of singing like her idols. "My first CD that I owned was Aretha Franklin: Greatest Hits. And I saw the advert on TV and it was just like little clips of her songs. I had no idea who she was—I was only like 10 so. I said, 'Oh yeah, that looks really good', so I wrote it down and I said to my mum, 'Can I have that for Christmas?' So she told my friend Dennis, who always gets me good music anyway, and he got that for me. So that was one of my first albums that I loved. In 2001, at the age of fourteen, she auditioned for the BBC Television talent show Star for a Night in London singing Franklin's 1968 "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and Whitney Houston's 1998 "It's Not Right but It's Okay", eventually winning. She told MTV News: "I kind of clicked into soul music more than anything else because of the vocals. You've got to have good vocals to sing soul music and I always liked it ever since I was little."
The album consists of little-known soul tracks by Wright, Franklin, Laura Lee, Bettye Swann, and others. Released in late 2003, it reached the top five on the UK Albums Chart as well as the top forty of the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. The lead single, "Fell in Love with a Boy", a reworking of The White Stripes' 2001 "Fell in Love with a Girl", reached the top twenty of the UK Singles Chart, as did the second single, a cover version of Sugar Billy's 1974 song "Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin' on Me)". The album eventually went triple platinum by the BPI in mid-April 2005 and gold by the RIAA in late March 2004.
At the 2005 BRIT Awards, Stone was nominated for British Breakthrough Act, and won British Female Solo Artist and British Urban Act, entering the Guinness World Records as the youngest BRIT Award solo winner at age seventeen. She performed "Angels" with Robbie Williams during the ceremony, which took place on 9 February 2005. She also received a nomination for Best UK Act of the Year at the 2005 MOBO Awards as well as three nominations for the 2005 Grammy Awards—Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "You Had Me", and Best Pop Vocal Album for Mind, Body & Soul—, where she sang barefoot onstage with rock performer Melissa Etheridge, in tribute to blues-rock singer Janis Joplin. Their performance of "Cry Baby/Piece of My Heart" was released as a single and, through the aid of strong digital download sales, became Stone's first single to enter the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, when it debuted and peaked at number thirty-two.
Stone began work on her third studio album, Introducing Joss Stone, at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, in May 2006. Released on 12 March 2007, it involves production by Raphael Saadiq and collaborations with Lauryn Hill, Common, and Joi. Virgin Records describes the album as "an electrifying mix of warm vintage soul, '70s-style R&B, Motown girl-group harmonies, and hip-hop grooves". Stone herself describes it as "truly me. That's why I'm calling it Introducing Joss Stone. These are my words, and this is who I am as an artist." She also revealed on The Tavis Smiley Show that her break-up with Beau Dozier was a source of inspiration while writing Introducing Joss Stone.
The album debuted and peaked at number twelve on the UK Albums Chart, not managing to match the success of Stone's two previous albums. It nevertheless debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 selling 118,000 copies in its first week, becoming the highest debut for a British solo female artist on the U.S. chart, surpassing the record previously held by Amy Winehouse with Back to Black (which in turn would later be outdone by Leona Lewis, whose album Spirit debuted at number one the week of 26 April 2008). Stone was nominated for the MOBO Award for Best UK Female in September 2007, but lost out to Winehouse.
"Tell Me 'bout It", the album's lead single, debuted and peaked at number twenty-eight on the UK Singles Chart—where it stayed for three weeks only—, and peaked at number eighty-three on the U.S Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now", a collaboration with rapper Common, failed to chart inside the UK top seventy-five, but made the top sixty-five of the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "Baby Baby Baby" was released digitally in December 2007 and physically in January 2008 as the third single.
In support of the album, Stone embarked on a North American tour which began on 27 April at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut, and ended on 13 June at the Filene Center in Vienna, Virginia, visiting sixteen cities in total including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Vancouver, Chicago, Toronto, New York, and Boston. Two months later, she went on a North American late-summer tour which kicked off on 27 August at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California, and ended on 29 September at the Crossroads in Kansas City, Missouri, covering twelve cities—this time including Mexico City.
At the 2007 Grammy Awards, Stone shared the award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for her collaboration with Sly & the Family Stone, John Legend, and Van Hunt on "Family Affair".
Known for her barefoot performances and neo-hippie fashions, Stone changed her style to a harder-edged, purple-haired look to promote Introducing Joss Stone.
On 21 April 2008, Starpulse reported that Stone is going to launch a legal battle in a bid to leave EMI and free her of her current three-album deal with the record label. She says, "I'm not happy at all with EMI. I've spoken to my lawyers and am seeing what my options are. The industry is in a state and EMI are in a state, so I would rather work on other things.
Stone performed a medley of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" with funk legend James Brown on BBC One's chat show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 1 July 2005, and sang a duet with Rob Thomas on a cover of Stevie Nicks's 1981 song "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" at Fashion Rocks 2005 on 8 September 2005. On 5 February 2006, Stone joined Stevie Wonder, India.Arie, and John Legend during the Super Bowl XL pre-game ceremonies to perform a medley of Wonder's hits. Three days later, on 8 February, on the night of the 2006 Grammy Awards, she helped perform a medley of Sly & the Family Stone's hits alongside Legend, Ciara, Maroon 5, will.i.am, Robert Randolph, Steven Tyler, and Joe Perry.
Stone collaborated with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and blues singer-guitarist Jonny Lang on a cover of U2's 1988 song "When Love Comes to Town" for Hancock's 2005 album Possibilities. That same year, Stone was featured along with Sean Paul on Santana's "Cry Baby Cry", and worked with Patti LaBelle on a remake of the latter's 1985 song "Stir It Up" for the soundtrack to the Disney animated motion picture Chicken Little. "I first heard her before I had seen her, and I said, 'Where is that black girl from?' She sounded like a black girl! No, no, not a girl—a black woman", LaBelle said of Stone. She also collaborated with Lemar in 2006 on his third studio album, The Truth About Love, on the track "Anniversary".
On 28 June 2007, Stone asked Queen guitarist Brian May to perform "Under Pressure" with her at the Concert for Diana, held at Wembley Stadium, London, on 1 July 2007. Although May had initially accepted, he eventually declined as he realised how different the arrangement was from the original, stating that "he was not going to be able to do it justice". Stone went on to perform the song solo as well as her hit "You Had Me" and a cover of Sam & Dave's 1968 "Ain't That a Lot of Love" with Tom Jones.
Stone covered Nat King Cole's 1965 classic "L-O-V-E" for the latest advertising campaign for Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle fragrance. The Joe Wright-directed short film, entitled Coco Mademoiselle, stars Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley as fashion legend Coco Chanel. Also, for the Christmas season, Stone recorded the song "All I Want for Christmas", written and produced by Emmy Award-nominated songwriter Dan Mackenzie, during her European tour in November 2007. Both songs were made available on iTunes, the former on 18 September 2007 and the latter on 18 December 2007.
In 2007, Stone collaborated with Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo on a cover of The Rolling Stones' 1969 song "Gimme Shelter" for Kidjo's album Djin Djin, and made a cameo appearance in Mexican singer Aleks Syntek's music video "Historias de Danzón y de Arrabal". The following year, Stone appeared on Randy Jackson's compilation album Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1 with the song "Just Walk on By", which contains a sample from Dionne Warwick's 1964 song "Walk on By". The song was originally supposed to feature Three 6 Mafia in addition to Stone, but the rap group did not make the cut for unknown reasons. Stone performed live with country singer LeAnn Rimes on CMT's Crossroads on 7 December 2007.
In March 2008, Stone signed up for the role of a lesbian named Stephanie in the upcoming British romantic comedy Snappers. "I just wanted to challenge myself. There are things in the film that are going to really push the boundaries, and that excites me! I can also confirm there will be a long lingering French kiss, but it won't be with a male!", Stone said. In addition to acting, she will produce the film's soundtrack. The film, which will also star Chloe Howman, Caroline Quentin, and Bruce Jones, will premiere at the English Riviera Comedy Film Festival in September 2008. Stone will reportedly make her television debut portraying Henry VIII's fourth wife Anne of Cleves in the forthcoming third season of Showtime's series The Tudors.
In March 2005, Stone was named the spokesperson for Gap, replacing actress Sarah Jessica Parker. She appeared in a television advert for the megastore singing a cover of Ray Charles's 1958 song "Night Time Is the Right Time" (retitled "The Right Time"). "All those bum shots? They're not mine", The Sun quoted her as saying. "They're other girls. That's not my bum, I promise. Stone also appeared in one of Gap's Fall 2005 "Favorites" commercials, singing The Beach Boys' 1966 song "God Only Knows". By that time, rumours circulated about her being dropped from the campaign because she was living with then-twenty-five-year-old songwriter and producer Beau Dozier (son of Motown producer and composer Lamont Dozier) in Los Angeles while she was only seventeen. However, Gap later denied the rumours, stating that they were very happy with Stone and telling BBC Radio 1 that the claims were "absolute tosh" and "a complete fabrication".
Stone caused minor controversy at the 2007 BRIT Awards ceremony on 14 February 2007 while presenting the award for British Male Solo Artist (won by James Morrison). Speaking with what press reports described as an American accent, she gave a speech about Robbie Williams, who had been the target of earlier jokes made by host Russell Brand. Williams had been reported as going into rehabilitation that same week. As her speech continued, she made remarks about Brand, implying that he was heading for rehabilitation himself (while singing a passage of Amy Winehouse's hit "Rehab"). In response to the British media's reaction, Stone said, "At the end of the day, I don't give a fuck if people have a problem with my accent. That's all I can say about it. The words I say do not change. If the way that it sounds is skewwhiff and you don't like it, don't listen. I'm not being a cruel person by sounding a different way. And I can't help it. I've been [in America working] since I was, like, 14. All I'm doing is working. I do my job, and I go home.
In March 2007, Stone joined the Campaign for Little Britain, which is petitioning New York City—known for its ethnic enclaves such as Little Italy, Spanish Harlem, and Chinatown—to formally recognize Little Britain as a new neighbourhood in Manhattan. "Britain is a wicked place full of culture and great people", she said, adding: "We can all blend and become one, then the world will be a happier place in the great scheme of things.
In mid-December 2007, Stone was named the new Flake girl to star in a series of television adverts for the Cadbury Schweppes product in the spring of 2008. According to the company, she is the first non-model to take the role.
Stone joined Band Aid 20 on 14 November 2004 in benefit of Sudan's troubled Darfur region. The group, consisting of such luminaries as Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin and U2 lead singer Bono, re-recorded the 1984 song "Do They Know It's Christmas?", written by Band Aid organisers Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Stone, born two years after the release of the original single, was not initially aware of who Bob Geldof was. The media gleefully reported that she repeatedly referred to him as Bob Gandalf. Despite some criticism, the single became the UK's biggest-selling single of 2004 as well as the 2004 Christmas number-one single.
On 11 April 2005, Stone performed "Spoiled", Rufus' 1974 song "Tell Me Something Good" with John Legend, Otis Redding's 1966 song "Try a Little Tenderness" with Donna Summer, and 1977's "Hot Legs" with Rod Stewart at "Save the Music: A Concert to Benefit the VH1 Save the Music Foundation", in benefit of VH1's Save the Music Foundation. Three months later, on 2 July 2005, Stone performed "Super Duper Love", "I Had a Dream", and "Some Kind of Wonderful" at the Live 8 concert at Hyde Park, London.
Stone was named the World's Best Celebrity Dog Owner of 2005 in an online poll conducted by readers of The New York Dog Magazine and The Hollywood Dog Magazine. She owns two female dogs: Missy (named for rapper Missy Elliott), a Rottweiler, and Dusty (named for Dusty Springfield, one of her major influences), a Poodle. That same year, she was voted the World's Sexiest Vegetarian by peta2, alongside Chris Martin. Stone, a vegetarian since birth—having been brought up as one by her parents—, was photographed by Justin Borucki posing with a chicken in an advert for PETA in March 2007, whose tagline states, "I am Joss Stone and I am a vegetarian". She was also one of the entertainers appearing in PETA's 2007 documentary film Your Mommy Kills Animals.
Among other musicians such as Rod Steward, Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, Dionne Warwick, and Plácido Domingo, Stone was photographed by Canadian singer-guitarist and photographer Bryan Adams for Phonak's Hear the World initiative, whose main goal is to raise global awareness for the topic of hearing and hearing loss. "Being able to hear means that you can enjoy all the sounds of the world", she said.
Following the release of "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now" in mid-2007, Stone and Common turned the single's music video into a Product Red, reverting 100% of the gains from copies of the video purchased from iTunes to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Stone is the first Product Red artist to do so.
On 7 July 2007, Stone performed at the South African leg of the Live Earth concerts at the Coca Cola Dome in Johannesburg, to promote awareness of global warming. She sang the Introducing Joss Stone tracks "Girl They Won't Believe It", "Headturner", "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now", "Music", and "Tell Me 'bout It", as well as Mind, Body & Soul's "Right to Be Wrong" and "Gimme Shelter", the latter with Angélique Kidjo.
In order to raise the awareness of AIDS, Annie Lennox joined forces with twenty-three female acts (including Stone) and recorded the song "Sing", which was released on World AIDS Day on 1 December 2007, when Lennox performed at one of Nelson Mandella's 46664 concerts at Johannesburg's Ellis Park Stadium. The song appears on Lennox's fourth studio album, Songs of Mass Destruction.
In support of the LGBT community, Stone performed at the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on 26 April 2008. She also performed "Right to Be Wrong" at the LA PRIDE 2008—produced by Christopher Street West, a non-profit organization—in West Hollywood, California, on 7 June 2008.
|2004||"Fell in Love with a Boy"||The Soul Sessions|
|"Super Duper Love"|
|"You Had Me"||Mind, Body & Soul|
|"Right to Be Wrong"|
|"Don't Cha Wanna Ride"|
|2007||"Tell Me 'bout It"||Introducing Joss Stone|
|"Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now" (featuring Common)|
|"Baby Baby Baby"|
|2005||American Dreams||Singer at the Lair||"Starting Over" (episode 13, season 3)|
|2009||The Tudors||Anne of Cleves||(season 3)|