If you're going to be a British blue-eyed soul singer, you have to fit the part. Jocelyn Stoker is no name for a superstar, but Joss Stone... now that's got celebrity written all over it. And when you have a voice that two London producers dubbed “the greatest singer they'd ever heard from their country," the sky's the limit.
Joss landed a deal at the age of 15. Having been flown to New York to audition for S-Curve Records, Joss sang three classic soul tunes and was signed on the spot. Her debut effort, The Soul Sessions, dropped a year later and cracked the Billboard Top 40 as well as the UK top five.
With that solid mojo, Stone went to work on original material for her sophomore set, 2004's Mind, Body & Soul. When it debuted at the top of the UK album charts, Joss became the youngest female artist ever to do so – kicking Avril Lavigne out of the honor. It also peaked at number 11 in the U.S., even going so far as platinum in America.
Having earned estimable acclaim, Joss joined the 2004 Band Aid 20 reworking of “Do They Know It's Christmas?” with U2's Bono, Coldplay's Chris Martin, and others.
The following year was filled with a flood of accolades. Two BRIT Awards (British Female Solo Artist and British Urban Act) and three Grammy Award nominations (Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "You Had Me", and Best Pop Vocal Album) were among the honors. Oh, and she was also anointed – alongside Martin – as the World's Sexiest Vegetarian and – without Martin – as a Gap spokesperson, both in 2005.
More high-profile collaborations included Melissa Etheridge, John Legend, Donna Summer, Rod Stewart, James Brown, Herbie Hancock, Jonny Lang, Santana, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, and India.Arie. And that was all in a two-year period.
Raphael Saadiq helmed her third album, 's Introducing Joss Stone, while Lauryn Hill, Common, and Joi made cameo appearances. It came in at number two on the Billboard 200, besting Amy Winehouse and her Back to Black to set a record for highest debut by a British female.
Stone supported the album with tours and an appearance on the South Africa segment of the Live Earth global broadcast. As usual, sidling up next to legendary artists became routine for the young soul phenom. Add Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck, Ringo Starr, Dave Stewart, Mick Jagger, Damian Marley, and Ricky Martin to the list.
In 2009, the Color Me Free! album marked a different musical vibe for Stone, one she describes as “very, very raw.” The project came during a heated, drawn-out battle between the artist and her record label.
The next year, she really was free, at least of EMI Records. Forming her own Stone'd Records, Joss teamed up with Surfdog as her distribution/marketing partner for LP1 in mid-2011. The collection was produced and written with Dave Stewart of Eurhythmics fame.