Joss Stone has started her own label, recorded a new album and is working in the most talked-about supergroup of the year. Not bad for someone who was nearly the victim of a robbery and murder plot earlier this month.
And, for starters, Stone can't say much about the latter. "I would love to tell you about it, but I've been told not to, for obvious reasons," the singer tells Billboard.com. Police in England arrested two men on June 13 near Stone's home in Cullompton, Mid Devon, who had plans to rob and kill her.
Nevertheless, she assures us that, "I'm fine... It's weird. People are interesting in their heads but...now I have a perfect excuse to get three really cute little puppies that are going to grow up to be really big, cuddly dogs who will protect me, so I'm actually excited and I have to send (the accused) a thank-you letter."
Stone's attitude is just as, if not more, positive about "LP1," the Dave Stewart co-produced set which is due out July 26 and marks the first release on her own Stone'd Records imprint, through Surfdog Records. "It's really cool, because I just make music and then I put it out and give it to the world," says Stone, who started Stone'd upon parting ways with EMI/Virgin. "I can just do what I do now, do what's fun, and I won't do what's not fun, which is so nice. There's no man there in a suit telling me that I'm crap" -- which Stone says was the case with 2009's "Colour Me Free!" -- "which is also nice. ('LP1') is about the whole new life that I'm living right now. It's like a celebration of leaving the situation that I was in before and being free now."
Stone says the 10-track "LP1," which she recorded with Stewart and a group of all-star players at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, is an example of the spontaneity she now hopes to pursue with her career.
"I was traveling in Europe in my van with my dogs, and I went to Spain to help clean my friend's boat," she recalls. "Then Dave called me, randomly, and was like, 'Joss, I've got a really fun idea...Why don't we go to Nashville for six days and just play around with this really cool band that I worked with on (his new solo album, 'The Blackbird Diaries'). They're around and available this week, and I thought it would be fun just to go there and...make an album or whatever you want.' So I did. I went there two days later with...one song and we went there and recorded 16 songs and had a really good laugh and a chuckle and played around like little children, and when I came home I had an album. It was really crazy and really fun."
Stone isn't sure yet what will become of the additional songs she recorded during the sessions, and she has some European live dates booked for late July. She hopes to line up more shows to support "LP1," but she's also in set-up mode for the September release of an album by Super Heavy, the Stewart-organized band that also includes Mick Jagger, Academy Award-winning Indian film composer A.R. Rahman and Damian Marley.
"It feels like it was ages ago when we started that," Stone says. "It's quite interesting, because there's all these different dynamics in one room with all of these different people who have different styles and different ideas. It was really fun. I was running around like a little child going, 'This is so fun! I can't believe this!' and they were all looking at me like, 'OK, calm down...' "
Stone says the Super Heavy album has "the weirdest sound...very eclectic. It's like world music, but it's not one style. It's just not normal, but it's a great to listen to." She isn't sure, however, what the group's plans will be once the album comes out.
"I'm waiting for Dave to call me and tell me what to do," Stone says. "I hope there is a tour, but you can imagine how hard it would be to get all of these people in one place at one time with everyone's schedules. Damian's making an album, and I thought I might be doing some acting. God knows what's going to happen, but I would definitely try to make myself available for any tour dates that come up. It would be the experience of a lifetime."