Joss Stone has been obsessed with soul music since she was a little girl. By the time she was in her early teens she had begun to intuitively hone her now trademark gravelly-but-lustrous vocals by singing along to Aretha’s Franklin’s Greatest Hits. She began pursuing a singing career at thirteen, securing a record deal at 15, and recording her star-making debut album, The Soul Sessions, which was released in 2003. 10 years on from those stunning debut sessions, Joss decided to bring things full circle and revisit where it all began - with her follow up to that multi million selling debut The Soul Sessions Volume 2. A stunning exercise in vocal poise, passion and power, the album was well received globally and charted in the Top 20 both in the UK and in the US, garnering some of the best her reviews for many years. 2014 will see her complete work on her seventh studio album and start out on her most ambitious project to date – the Total World Tour.
The Total World Tour kicked off in April 2014 with gigs already completed in Morocco, Dubai, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Australia and New Zealand amongst others, and sees Joss embarking her most ambitious project to date – her aim is to play a concert in every country on the planet. In each country Joss aims to collaborate with local homegrown musicians, playing indigenous music as well as her own songs. Joss will also work with a variety of good causes and learn about important humanitarian and environmental issues throughout the trip. (The Lesotho visit saw an amazing collaboration with HRH Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale). Each gigs may vary in size along the way- from a stadium concert in Sydney to an acoustic jamming session on one of Burma’s unknown beaches. The second leg of the tour starts in July 2014 with a show in Lebanon, and goes on to take in 13 European countries from Spain, France and Germany to Croatia, Czech Republic and Hungary.
Following her critically acclaimed arrival on the music scene in 2003 (which preceded the plethora of soul-inspired female artists that came along in her wake) things took off for Joss in an enormous way. Her second record, 2004’s Mind Body & Soul capitalized on The Soul Sessions’ commercial momentum and critical adoration and earned Stone three Grammy nominations, including one for Best New Artist. It also spawned a self-penned UK Top 10 single, “You Had Me”, and earned her Two Brit Awards that same year. Her third album, 2007’s Introducing Joss Stone, was a more independent, less packaged effort, on which Joss further showcased her songwriting abilities, and revealed the singer had truly been embraced by the American audience when it crashed into the US charts at No.2, marking the highest debut ever for a female British solo artist on the Billboard charts. With over 12 million album sales to date and a wealth of experience under her belt, including recent collaborations on record with the likes of Dave Stewart and Mick Jagger (some of her most recent musical adventures), 2012 seemed the right time to return to the Soul Sessions template.
In her short young life and already long career, Joss has performed onstage with the likes of James Brown, Gladys Knight, Solomon Burke, Blondie, Smokey Robinson and Melissa Etheridge among many others. She’s contributed to albums by Jeff Beck and Ringo Starr, played the Super Bowl pre-game show, performed on the Grammy’s, - and indeed won a Grammy herself! In her twenty-five years she’s participated in more moments of absolute musical wonder than most people can hope for in an entire lifetime. And she’s approached it all with a sense of independence and joie de vivre. Stone has always been a bit of a rebel, whether she’s dancing barefoot onstage or dyeing her hair various colors or speaking out on issues she’s passionate about, part of what her fans love about her is that she’s a free-spirit, following her own instincts at all times.
The past few years have seen further albums: 2009’s ‘Color Me Free’ and 2011 saw two releases – Joss’ own debut album release on her label Stone’d Records, ‘LP1’, (written and recorded with Dave Stewart) and a collaboration project, ‘Superheavy’, with Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, Damien Marley and AR Rahman, and latterly Soul Sessions 2.
Despite some of the dramas that have followed or beset Stone in her short life so far, it is her approach to music - intuitive and freeform – merged with the backdrop of nearly a decade of hard-earned experience in the industry – that characterises the Stone mindset. If she wants to do something badly enough she gets it done, no matter what the obstacles – but only if she’s having fun along the way.
And the upcoming Total World Tour should be certainly be fun, as well as challenging and - rather like her life and career so far – one hell of a ride! As Stone herself puts it “My mission is to explore and understand the universal language of music in every country on the planet. The tour will be tiring and tough and I know at times very emotional but it will be a truly amazing journey and of discovery and one hell of a ride.”
Joss Stone’s Total World Tour continues with its second leg in July 2014. Stone is currently completing work on her 7th studio album.