Joss Stone: First Thought, Best Thought The young British soul singer's new album, LP1, finds Stone in control of her sound for the first time: writing her own songs and running her own record label.

Joss Stone: First Thought, Best Thought

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GUY RAZ, host: Time for music now. Today, a woman who already sounded like a veteran soul singer at the age of 13. She's now 24, and Joss Stone actually is a veteran of the music business. She's been called her generation's Janis Joplin.


JOSS STONE: (Singing) Yeah. Somehow I'd like to get to know him. Somebody told me that I shouldn't claim him. Somebody told me that I should let him go. But they really don't know 'cause sometimes I really wanna kill him. I'd die if I wasn't with him. Somebody told me that I should let him go, oh.

RAZ: Joss Stone rocketed to stardom in the U.K. after winning a BBC singing contest called "Star for a Night." Soon after, she released her first album of cover songs. Today, though, Joss Stone writes her own music, she owns her own label, and you're listening to the track "Somehow," from her first release on that label. It's a record called, appropriately enough, "LP1." And Joss Stone joins me from our New York studios. Welcome to the program. Good to have you.

STONE: Oh, thank you for having me.

RAZ: This record was recorded in Nashville in six days...

STONE: Yeah.

RAZ: ...with a band, I'd read, that you have never met before, other than your producer Dave Stewart.

STONE: Yeah.

RAZ: He used to be with Eurythmics. People know who he is. How did that all come together?

STONE: Well, Dave just called me one day. I was actually in Spain, living in my van. I was helping my friend...

RAZ: Your van, by the way, is named Janis.

STONE: Yes. Yes. She is named Janis.


STONE: The good old van, I love Janis - both of them. I was down there for about a month and a half, and then Dave called me and was like, Joss, I've got a really fun idea. There's this band I worked with on my last record. They're free like, in a couple days, for a week. You want to come to Nashville and jam for a week? And I said, yeah. OK. So a couple days from then I got on a plane, went to Nashville. Six days later, I came home. And we'd made an album by then, which is kind of cool.


RAZ: A lot of people in your position will be uncomfortable with that kind of arrangement, but you actually seem inspired by it.

STONE: Oh, I loved it. I loved it. It's great because if you give yourself too much time, you're kind of over-obsessed about the music.


STONE: (Singing) If I was just a little bit stronger, baby. Coulda made it last a little bit longer maybe. Coulda made it on my own. I should have just let you go. I should have been a little bit stronger, baby.

If you cut demo, then cut the record, then do the backing vocals, then change something in the bass, then go to a mixing studio - and God, by then you're just bored of it. So you might as well just mic everybody up, make a little tune and then play, and then make up the rest. You'll figure out the ending when you get to it.


STONE: (Singing) ...harder, should have been a little bit rougher, should have been a little bit stronger, should have run a little bit faster away from you, baby. Away from you. Oh, I may be on my own, now the feeling's gone. It's all gone.

RAZ: There is actually a song where you certainly gave your studio musicians a break. That song is called "Landlord." It's just you and an acoustic guitar. Let's hear some of that for a moment.


STONE: (Singing) I wanna kiss you all over. Oh, yes, I do. Oh, yes. I do. And here it is, baby. Here's the proof. Now that it's on, my love is so strong. No one can move me the way that you have. Don't want your rent money, baby, under my door. I don't wanna be your landlord anymore.

RAZ: All of the songs on this record, I believe you co-wrote or wrote, which is a - really, a first for you. You were doing a lot of covers earlier in your career. And I'm wondering where you kind of draw these stories from. Are they sort of composites of people you know or you, or...

STONE: Well, they're pretty true to life. I mean, that one, especially, is pretty specific. This guy that was living in my house and paying me rent, he's really cute and lovely. And I kind of fell in love with him. And now we're together, right? And I was talking to Dave about that and he like, took a sentence from what I saying. He was like, let's write a song about it. It's really simple. It's, I don't want to be your landlord anymore. I actually just want to be your lover and your inspiration and your muse, and all this lovely stuff.


STONE: (Singing) I don't want to be your landlord anymore, no.

RAZ: So you are, presumably, no longer his landlord.

STONE: I am no longer his landlord.

RAZ: OK. So you don't have to worry about fixing things if they get broke, or anything.

STONE: No, I don't. Exactly. He fixes them for me, anyway.

RAZ: He does - I got you, all right.

STONE: Which is lovely.

RAZ: Yeah. It's a pain being a landlord.

STONE: Yeah. I know. It is. I hate being a landlord. I'm never doing that ever again. I couldn't even remember to collect the rent. It was very funny.

RAZ: I'm speaking with singer Joss Stone. Her new record is called "LP1." Your producer on this new record, Dave Stewart, formerly of the Eurythmics, he's also working with you on another big project, which is a group called SuperHeavy. And I want to hear some of the results of that right there.

STONE: Oh, my God. That was so much fun.


STONE: (Singing) If I only was a fool, I'll be loving...

DAMIAN MARLEY: (Singing) Well, that's your own opinion and you're entitled to it. I'll be lost in oblivion if we don't continue through it.

MICK JAGGER: (Singing) There's nothing wrong with you, I can't fix.

RAZ: This is a track called "Miracle Worker." We are hearing your voice, of course. We heard the voice of Damian Marley, who has been on this program, one of Bob Marley's sons; and then, of course, one other obscure guy, named Mick Jagger. What a weird collection of different approaches.

STONE: I know.

RAZ: How did that all come together?

STONE: It was another call from Dave. He's so funny. You know what, he may as well be asking me to go down to the pub for a pint. It's so funny. He'll call me up; he'll be like, oh, Joss. Yeah, we were just sitting here having a chat, had this idea. Mick and I are going to make a band. Do you want to be in our band?


STONE: I'm like, OK. Yes, I want to be in your band, you mental case. Of course, I do. Yeah.

RAZ: You were discovered in your early teens on one of those TV talent shows. Now, of course, you've got "American Idol," "British Idol," "X Factor," all these different shows. "The Voice," another one, is in the U.S.

STONE: Oh, I like "The Voice."

RAZ: That's a good one, isn't it?

STONE: Yeah.

RAZ: I like it, too. When you watch it now and you see a young star sort of plucked from obscurity, what do you think? What do you think that person needs to know?

STONE: Well, sometimes I worry. Sometimes, I watch; I go, oh, God. Be careful. I watch those shows, and I know that when you sign up to do those shows, you kind of sign up for lots of other things as well. Maybe it's better that they don't win, and then they can be like free, and then have some person come along that really loves what they do and - I don't know. It's a funny old world, those shows.

But yeah, I would say the same thing that I say to pretty much anybody that's singing, show or not: Just don't forget why you began. Are you singing because you want to sing, or are you singing because you want to be famous? Are you singing because you want to pay your bills? And if you can have that in the front of your mind every day for the next 20 years, you'll be good.


STONE: (Singing) No more delay, no more competing for a happy ever after. Today, we play on one team. Yes, there's one team for all. Everybody walk hand in hand, get hold up your length, push together, yeah. Now, everybody...

RAZ: That's singer Joss Stone. Her new record is called "LP1." It's released on her own Stone'd Records label. If you want to hear a few tracks, they're at our website, Joss, great to talk to you. Thank you so much.

STONE: Oh, lovely talking to you, too. Thank you.


STONE: (Singing) What happened to this morning when I woke up and the world was bruised? See, everybody's taking care of themselves, not looking out of the widest window. Somehow everybody's taking care of themselves but...

RAZ: And for Sunday, that's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. Remember, you can hear the best of this program on our podcast. Subscribe or listen at iTunes. It's called WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. You can also find it at We post a new episode every Sunday night. I'll be out for the next few weeks, to spend some time with my kids. This program will be back on the radio next weekend with guest host David Greene. Until then, thanks for listening, and have a great week.

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