“Introducing Joss Stone” seems like an odd title for the third outing by an artist who has sold 7.5 million albums worldwide. But the 19-year-old British R&B singer feels like the 14-track set, which comes out this week on Virgin, really does mark a new beginning for her.
“People get confused by it — understandably,” Stone says with a laugh. “They’re like, ‘Hang on, were we hearing, like, a fake Joss before?’ And I’m like, ‘No, no, no … You just weren’t hearing my vision. It was somebody else’s vision that I just happened to be singing on.’ So when I say, ‘Introducing Joss Stone,’ it’s like, ‘Finally, now they’ve given me the chance to actually create a piece of art, to create an album that has a start, a middle and a finish.'”
2004’s “Mind Body & Soul” topped the charts in Stone’s homeland and peaked at No. 11 on The Billboard 200, selling 1.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But, she says, it felt rushed and, in hindsight, “I don’t even think it’s a good album. I think it’s a CD with a bunch of songs on it.”
So early in 2006, she began writing songs, including the Jackson 5-influenced “Baby Baby Baby” and “In the Arms of My Baby,” both of which made the final cut of the new disc. Stone estimates she penned about 60 songs, recording 20 with producer Raphael Saadiq in the Bahamas and finishing at Electric Lady Studios in New York. Rapper Common and the Fugees’ notoriously reclusive Lauryn Hill each appear on a track. Saadiq “gets me on a level I don’t think anybody else does,” Stone says of the former Tony! Toni! Tone! leader. “I’ve never had anybody care that much about what I think. Not so far.”