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Artist Q+A: Joss Stone

Joss Stone in white dress with blue stage light beaming behind her


Double BRIT Award and GRAMMY-winning artist Joss Stone is among the most iconic soul singers of the modern era. A gifted vocalist and songwriter, she recorded her critically acclaimed debut album, The Soul Sessions, at 16. She will captivate with her gritty, soulful voice and mesmerize with her interpretations of timeless classics. She delivers a performance that fuses soul, R&B and blues in a way that leaves you breathless. Don't miss out on your chance to see Joss Stone on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 7:30 PM. Get your tickets today!

CCA Staff: How did you discover your passion for music and who were your early influences?

Joss Stone: It’s hard to answer because it’s like trying to remember how you started breathing. I always loved big, strong, female voices. My parents used to play Whitney Houston and Melissa Etheridge and Anita Baker when I was really really young and also the male soul voices were around like Solomon Burke and James Brown. It  was a good music diet we were on in our house. 

Your professional career has spanned over two decades, since you were a teenager. What do you see as the most significant challenges facing musicians in the industry today and how have you navigated them in your career?

JS: Social media I think has been a big challenge for me because it wasn’t around so much when I was starting out, I just sang my songs did a few photo shoots and radio interviews where I didn’t have to put any makeup on and a lot of the success was word-of-mouth, it was magical time really, it felt very organic. Now it’s a different job, much more involved, much more constant. But the positives are that the people listening to your music get to know who you are, the mystery is gone, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe now it’s more honest, it’s more human than it was in the rock ‘n’ roll days. But then on the other side of the coin, we have a huge amount of Photoshop going on which is the opposite of honest so I don’t really know what I’m talking about. But it certainly is different. 

Could you please tell us a bit about your songwriting and creative process?

JS: It really depends who I’m writing with. At the moment I’m writing music for what I hope to be a disco soul record, my co-writer for many years Jonathan Shorten is making tracks in England and sending them to me over here in Tennessee. So I wake up in the morning do some hard-core Mumming whilst my hubby goes to the gym and gets his piece of sanity for the day. I make breakfast and lunch and dinner, clean the house and the babies and get them ready for the day, then hit tag on Cody’s arm and head to the studio across the garden and write my little heart out. Melody first is usually my way then the lyrics turn up.. it’s fun!

You have collaborated with many outstanding artists on several live and recorded projects. Who was your favorite to work with and how did you adjust your creative process (if at all) to collaborate with this artist?

JS: So hard to say who’s the favorite, I really loved working with Damien Marley because he was just such a beautiful energy to be around and extremely talented. It was also really nice to dive into a different style of music. That was just before the total world tour and I think it really whet my appetite to sing within different genres and sounds. Singing on stage with James Brown was a pinch me kind of moment. I didn’t know him that well but I definitely knew his voice since I was a baby so it was amazing to be able to become part of a sound he was part of, even if only just one moment. I have many stories of grateful moments, these are just two. 

If you could record an album with any other artist, no matter when he or she lived, who would it be and why?

JS: Ooohhhhh such a great dream … I would love to do that with Otis Redding. Maybe when I get upstairs I can ask him!

What can audience members expect from your 20 Years of Soul performance? Are there any surprises in store that you can allude to? (i.e. a reappearance of certain Masked Singer costume?!?)

JS: We have tried to create a show that gives a little piece from all of the 20 years. Hard to do but I think we have managed a good little snap shot of life within the show. It’s really a special one. I have never had to think about a show like this. I normally just get up there and sing songs i am feeling at the time, but this had to really say thank you to everyone that has come with me through it, with the hope that they can come away feeling like they heard at least one of their favorite songs that took them back to their own moments in these last 20 years. Music is magic like that. 

Could you give us a glimpse into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re excited about?

JS: I’m working on something with Raphael Saadiq. I am very excited about it cos I made one of my favorite albums with him so I can only hope this is as good as that - or better. It’s gonna be fun no matter what. 

If we were to open your favorite music streaming app, which artists would we find on your most played list this year?

JS: Tarrus Riley . Damien Marley . Stephen Wilson jr. Nao . Aretha Franklin , Anne Sexton . Tom Misch. 

We have saved perhaps the hardest question for last. If you HAD to choose any career field other than music, what would it be and why?

JS: I always wanted to be a midwife. Helping women in the hardest and most beautiful moment of their life has to be the most purposeful beautiful and some time terrifying job. Must be nice to be so important. All power to these amazing people!

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