Apparently, Joss Stone went through a bad breakup. A horrible breakup. So bad, several of her songs on her upcoming third album are devoted to either the breakup, dealing with breakup, or moving on. One is even called “I Wish I Never Met You.” The message couldn’t be clearer.
Stone previewed material from her upcoming album – “Introducing Joss Stone,” due out March 20 – on Saturday night at the Docks in Toronto. It was a last-minute “surprise” gig, having been announced quietly just 24 hours before, and the half-filled venue was proof of that. Stone performed, barefoot of course, in front of an eight-piece band and three backup singers.
The concert was the first time an audience has heard the new material, and was held just days before similar preview performances in New York and Los Angeles – both concerts are sold out.
She’s 19 now, turning 20 in April, and more than three years have passed since I interviewed her before she released her debut album. The Joss Stone I spoke with in 2003 is not the same Joss Stone who performed on Saturday.
First of all, she looks much different. She died her hair a dark, pulsating shade of red and looks like a woman, not a 16-year-old girl.
She was confident. She wasn’t immersed in hype. The hype proved to be true and the hype is long gone. She’s a three-time Grammy nominated artist and she knows it. She owned the stage. She wasn’t afraid to dance. She wasn’t afraid to swear.
And this is her music now, the reason for the album title. Her debut album was a collection of cover songs, the sophomore release was largely written by other people, but this album was written by her and produced by Raphael Saadiq, who she hand picked (and who played guitar in her band on Saturday). The sound is not very different than her previous albums (the same combination of soul and R&B with a little more of an urban feel), though it’s tough to tell what the album will sound like exactly, having only heard the material live. The recorded versions, fully produced, may have a much different sound that the live versions.
One standout song is dedicated to music, she explained. She told the audience how music saved her life and expressed how she might get so emotional while performing it that it would be best to ignore her if she loses her composure. The recorded track will have an appearance from Lauryn Hill.
Perhaps it’s a blessing, but Stone isn’t yet associated with a hit. She has released a few singles over the past few years, but none were smash hits and it wasn’t obvious yesterday if she has any massive hits on the album. The only thing that remained obvious was that her booming voice is second to none.
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