Joss Stone Biography
Throughout her career, Stone has sold over 10 million albums worldwide records; altogether, she has sold more albums than any other female soul british artist during the 2000s. Her first three albums have sold over 2,722,000 copies in the United States, while her first two albums have sold over 2,000,000 copies in United Kingdom. Stone 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 made her television debut portraying Anne of Cleves in the Showtime series The Tudors in 2009.
Stone was born at Buckland Hospital in Dover, Kent, and spent her teenage years in Ashill, a small village in Devon. She is the third of four children born to Richard and Wendy Stoker. Her father owns a fruit and nut import/export business; her mother, who used to manage holiday cottages, worked as Stone's manager until October 2004. Stone made her first public appearance at the Uffculme Comprehensive School—which she attended—in Uffculme, Devon, with a cover of Jackie Wilson's 1957 song "Reet Petite". Stone blames her dyslexia for the fact that she left school at age sixteen with only three GCSE qualifications. "It wasn't that I was stupid. I'm just a little bit dyslexic and I wasn't very academic. I'm more artistic", she says.
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." She would later tell 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."
In 2001, at the age of fourteen, Stone auditioned for the BBC Television talent show Star for a Night in London singing Franklin's 1968 Goffin-King hit "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and Whitney Houston's 1998 "It's Not Right but It's Okay". After passing her audition, she sang Donna Summer's 1979 "On the Radio" for the broadcast, and eventually won the contest. Stone then performed on a charity show, where she drew the attention of the Boilerhouse Boys, composed of London-based producers Andy Dean and Ben Wolfe, who contacted S-Curve Records founder and chief executive officer Steve Greenberg in December 2001 telling him that "they had just heard the greatest singer they'd ever heard from their country." In early 2002, Greenberg flew Stone to New York City for an audition, in which she sang to backing tracks of classic soul songs: Otis Redding's 1968 "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay", Gladys Knight & the Pips' 1973 "Midnight Train to Georgia", and Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"; Greenberg instantly signed her to his label. Since then, she has appeared onstage with artists such as James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Donna Summer, Gladys Knight, Tom Jones, Robbie Williams, Melissa Etheridge, Rob Thomas, Rod Stewart, and Blondie. Stone is well-known for her trademark barefoot performances.
After being signed by S-Curve Records, Stone flew to Miami and Philadelphia to start work on her debut album, The Soul Sessions, released on 16 September 2003. She collaborated with people with solid credentials in the Miami soul scene such as Betty Wright, Benny Latimore, Timmy Thomas, and Little Beaver as well as contemporary acts Angie Stone and The Roots.
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 British Phonographic Industry in mid-April 2005 and gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in late March 2004.
After achieving critical acclaim with The Soul Sessions, Stone recorded her second album—this time with new material—Mind, Body & Soul, released on 28 September 2004. She was quoted to say this was her real debut. "I think my singing is so much better on this album", she says. It proved to be an even bigger success than her previous album, as it debuted at number one in the UK (breaking the record for the youngest female ever to top the UK Albums Chart, a record previously held by Avril Lavigne) and just missed the top ten of the U.S. Billboard 200, after peaking at number eleven. The lead single, "You Had Me", became her biggest hit to date when it rose to number nine in the UK. Follow-up singles "Right to Be Wrong" and "Spoiled" both made the top forty, and "Don't Cha Wanna Ride", the top twenty. "Spoiled" landed just outside the top fifty of U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, peaking at number fifty-four. In early September 2005, Mind, Body & Soul was certified triple platinum by the BPI and platinum by the RIAA.
At the 2005 BRIT Awards, Stone won for British Female Solo Artist and British Urban Act—entering the Guinness World Records as the youngest BRIT Award solo winner at age seventeen—, and was nominated for British Breakthrough Act. 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 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 the week of 2 April 2005.
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 City, 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 John Legend and Van Hunt on their 2005 cover of Sly & the Family Stone's 1971 chart-topper "Family Affair".
On 21 April 2008, Starpulse reported that Stone is going to launch a legal battle in a bid to leave her record label, 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 revealed to Billboard magazine that her fourth studio album was written and recorded in about a week in Devon in early 2008. "I kind of woke up one morning and wanted to make an album", she says. "It's very, very raw. It's a bunch of musicians, writers and myself, and we're just jamming, basically." In promotion of the album, entitled Colour Me Free, Stone played concerts throughout the United Kingdom in February and March. Originally scheduled for release in April 2009, EMI delayed the album's release. According to jossstone.com, Joss is finally set to release Colour Me Free on October 20th 2009. When she appeared on Chelsea Lately, Joss revealed that her record company also fought her about the original cover of her new album, calling it "offensive". It was changed to simple text and no picture of the singer.
In July 2005, Stone lent her voice to the Fantastic Four soundtrack, singing the title song "What Ever Happened to the Heroes", written by Pink, Billy Mann, and Christopher Rojas and produced by Beau Dozier shortly before their break-up in November 2005.
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 film 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 Homer Banks's 1966 "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.
On 29 November 2007, Stone joined Jeff Beck on a duet of The Impressions's 1965 song "People Get Ready" as part of his series of concerts at London's Ronnie Scott's, documented on the DVD Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's.
On 7 December 2007, Stone performed live with LeAnn Rimes on the television show CMT Crossroads, which pairs country artists with artists from other music genres. The repertoire included Stone's "Super Duper Love", "Fell in Love with a Boy", and "Tell Me 'bout It", and Rimes's "Nothin' Better to Do", "Good Friend and a Glass of Wine", and "How Do I Live", as well as the jazz standard "Summertime". Their performance of "Tell Me 'bout It" was announced on 5 February 2008 as one of the first-round nominees for Performance of the Year at the 2008 CMT Music Awards.
Stone contributed to the soundtrack to the 2008 film adaptation of Sex and the City with overdubbed vocals on Al Green's 1972 classic "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", reinvented as a duet.
Stone recorded a new version of the song "Unchained Melody" (first recorded by Todd Duncan in 1955) with French singer Johnny Hallyday on his 2008 album Ça ne finira jamais, on which Stone sings the original English lyrics while Hallyday sings the lyrics to Les Chaussettes Noires' 1962 French-language version "Les enchaînés".
On 26 October 2008, Stone sang the British national anthem, God Save the Queen, before the NFL match between the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints, held at Wembley Stadium, London.
On 7 December 2008, Stone performed The Who's 1965 song "My Generation" on CBS's Kennedy Center Honors TV special at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., honouring Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.
On 27 December 2008, Stone released the song "The Anti-Christmas Carol" and its video on her website as the 2008 Christmas gift. In contrast to most Christmas songs, which state that Christmas is the most delightful time of the year, in "The Anti-Christmas Carol" Stone states that she is happy that Christmas only occurs once a year, because of all the stress she experienced during her family dinner.
Stone performed a duet with Yolanda Adams on Adams's 1991 song "Just a Prayer Away" in honour of film director Tyler Perry at the 2009 BET Honors, held at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. on 17 January.
Stone appeared on American Idol on 26 March 2009 singing a duet with Motown artist Smokey Robinson entitled "You're the One for Me", from his upcoming album Time Flies When You're Having Fun.
In April, 2009, Stone was featured in two songs on Tower of Power's most recent album, "Great American Soul Book." Stone sings on "It Takes Two" and "Your Precious Love" with the legendary R&B, funk, and soul group.
In 2009, Stone, along with Buick Audra, recorded a version of the 1920s gospel children's song "This Little Light of Mine" for the EMI Gospel/Vector Recordings compilation album Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration.