Joss Stone (born Jocelyn Eve Stoker;
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 equally 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 47th Grammy Awards in 2005, while
Stone herself was nominated for Grammy Award for Best New Artist, and in
an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2004 was ranked fifth as a
predicted breakthrough act of 2004. She became the youngest British female
singer to top the UK Albums Chart in history to have her first album at
number one. Stone's third album, Introducing Joss Stone, released in March
2007, achieved gold record status by the RIAA and yielded the second-ever
highest debut for a British female solo artist on the chart on Billboard
200. Stone released her fourth album, Colour Me Free, on 20 October 2009.
Throughout her career, Stone has sold over 10 million albums worldwide
records; altogether, she has sold more albums than any other female
British soul singer 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 film acting debut in late
2006 with the fantasy adventure film Eragon, and 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 near Cullompton 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, of Irish descent, 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 version 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.She Also Appeared On and Won Steps To The Stars (A Tv Programme
Hosted By H & Claire). 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
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
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
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
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 20 October 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
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
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
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
In 2010, Stone appeared on Ringo Starr's album, "Y Not" on the song "Who's
Your Daddy" in which she sang and co-wrote with the ex-Beatle.
Stone made her film debut in the fantasy adventure film Eragon (based on
the 2003 novel of the same name by Christopher Paolini), directed by
Stefen Fangmeier and released on 15 December 2006, playing the witch
Angela. Of the experience, Stone said, "I was like, 'Why do you want me?
I'm a singer, for Christ's sake.' I don't know why [Fangmeier] wanted me,
but he did. I'm always getting approached for films—maybe they see me
onstage and see the way I get all emotional. But I was like, 'Hey, let's
do it.' I never really take anything seriously until I have to, and acting
is fun. I never thought I'd do it, but hey, why not, man?"
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 made her television debut portraying Henry VIII's fourth wife Anne
of Cleves in the current third season of Showtime's series The Tudors, and
will reprise the role in the show's final season in 2010.
Stone began dating Beau Dozier—with whom she co-wrote the song "Spoiled"—,
son of Motown producer Lamont Dozier (from the Holland-Dozier-Holland
fame), in 2004. She moved from her native England into Dozier's villa in
the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Encino the following year. The two split
up in November 2005.
Stone was the youngest woman on the 2006 Sunday Times Rich List — an
annual list of the UK's wealthiest people—with £6 million, and was also
ranked number seventy-eight on Maxim's 2007 Hot 100.