From soulful sweetheart to sexy siren, Joss Stone is back and ready to show the world just how much she’s changed when her third studio album drops in the states on March 20th. To accompany her new look, Joss has created a new sound…a sound that she says expresses and represents who she truly is as an artist. Her 2003 debut, The Soul Sessions was amazing in that at 16 years old she tackled covers that her contemporaries couldn’t even dream of performing with the same finesse and she left her own signature on each tune garnering her loads of support and acclaim within the industry. Riding the wave of success and praise, the very next year Mind, Body & Soul was released and her first album of original material was met with less stellar reviews. Many, myself included, felt the album was lacking the heart of the debut and that she had played it far too safe making it inferior to The Soul Sessions. Can she redeem herself with this year’s Introducing Joss Stone? Yes. Yes, I think she can.
Miss Stone introduces the world to her new and improved grooves and she’s amped up the appeal and owning her sexuality on the first single, “Tell Me ‘Bout It”, crooning to her man, “I need a little lovin’ at least two times a day/so when I call you boy you better run here right away.” Produced by Raphael Saadiq, the album as a whole is far edgier and more modern than her previous efforts but that’s a very positive step for her I think. She’s more funky-fresh and less soulful songstress here but what chance does an artist have of lasting success if they can’t test the waters reinvent themselves? It’s been working for Madonna for nearly three decades now. Described by her label as "an electrifying mix of warm vintage soul, '70s-style R&B, Motown girl-group harmonies, and hip-hop grooves" there promises to be something for everyone to love. Stone gets by with a little help from her friends here and it thrilled me to no end to find out that Common and Lauryn Hill make guest appearances on "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now" and "Music" respectively.
Despite a little controversy recently at The Brits (see video and interview below) Joss appears to be realizing how to strike the healthy balance between who she is as a person (let’s not forget she is just a 19 year old girl after all) and how she wants to be received as an artist. One of the aspects that I truly enjoy in catching a very young artist from their beginning is being able to watch them evolve and mature over time and Joss brings to mind Jonny Lang for me. They are both without question two very young and extremely talented individuals who blew everyone away right out of the gate. It took a bit but through the years I’ve witnessed Jonny slowly learn to settle in and find his perfect groove and I hope that Joss is on her way to doing the same. In fact…check out Joss finding her perfect groove here:
Joss Stone - “Tell Me ‘Bout It”
Joss Stone’s Appearance on The Brits:
Joss' Interview with Chris Moyles on his BBC Radio show explaining her behavior and accent.