‘Best Gig I’ve Ever Had’
Born Joscelyn Eve Stoker in Dover, England, on 11 April 1987, Joss Stone has nothing left to prove professionally. Among her numerous achievements, the breath of fresh air has: performed all over the planet (including six years during the Total World Tour that spanned 200 countries) in beautiful gowns, nose rings, and her bare feet; masterfully took on TV roles from Anne of Cleves (temporarily the queen of England) on Showtime series The Tudors and Sausage, the winning contestant on Series 2 of The Masked Singer UK; paid tribute to James Brown in 2003 and the Who’s Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey in 2008 on Kennedy Center Honors; and been recognized as a music winner by the Grammys, Glamour and Billboard magazines while selling more than 15 million records over the globe.
Asked to look back at her illustrious professional career — that officially started with the release of her debut album The Soul Sessions in 2003 when she was only 16 — and how much impact she’s had, Stone humbly reflects, “I don’t know if I’ve made much impact on music, but I feel good where I am. I hope that people who listen to my music maybe feel inspired if they can. If they’re musicians, that would be really nice. Or comforted. That’s all I really want to achieve. Because that’s what I feel when I listen to my favorite songs. I feel like immediately, I’m not on my own. That’s such an important feeling.”
Though her long list of collaborators extends beyond many styles, borders, and ethnicities, Stone is willing to stretch her limits — going places she hasn’t gone before musically.
While younger artists continue to push the envelope with racy lyrics and raunchy, suggestive music videos, Stone today provides a perfectly good case for acceptance.
“I think it’s a different style,” Stone reasons, without a hint of judgment. “When I was younger, I would think, ‘Oh my God. This is shit.’ But now, I look at it genuinely as a different job. Yes, we’re all making noises, but it’s completely different. It’s like a plumber and electrician. They’re looking after the house but they’re doing completely different jobs. Some artists are there to help young people be angry. Eminem was great for that. Some young people need to be able to be rebels. And they need to be as disgusting as they can be.”
Though she brings up Cardi B during the conversation, Stone hasn’t compiled a wish list of desired collaborators, leaving endless possibilities with, “Anyone that fancies a singsong, give me a call. Because I’m up for it.”
Yet, she proudly proclaims, there’s no professional undertaking — now and perhaps forever — that can rank with her most fulfilling accomplishment to date — bringing daughter Violet into this world. “Honestly, it is the best gig I’ve ever had. Ever. It’s the best. Honestly, you can take every single thing that I’ve done — it doesn’t compare,” Stone gushes. “I love her so much. She is the best. (laughs) She’s totally beautiful. …
“Throughout the pregnancy, I was so happy to be pregnant. My whole life, I’ve wanted a baby. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s actually happening.’ And all the dreams I’ve had about singing and singing with this person, that person, that doesn’t matter. Like, I’m about to have a baby! Then when it’s happening, you’re like, I’m just filled with joy.”
Aware of the possibility of suffering from postpartum depression after listening to other women, she really became fearful when her mother issued this warning: “Guaranteed on day three, you’re gonna have baby blues.”
Thinking, “Oh, no! I don’t want that,” before heading to the delivery room, Stone says she needed a C-section because her baby was breech and also was growth restricted for a while.
“Obviously as a woman, that upset me because I wanted to have a natural birth,” she divulges. “But it was awesome, man. I didn’t feel any pain. I went in and half an hour later, I was holding my baby. Then I was so happy. I was so happy, I was annoying. My partner, poor Cody, was like, ‘What the fuck is wrong with you? Like why are you not tired?’ I was so happy.”
Currently resting a “tired” voice, Stone limits her singing to lullabies for Violet, making one up called “It’s OK to Be Tired” specifically for her.
“It is the sweetest song,” remarks Stone, who also made a voice note of the tune to play in the car if her sweetie starts to cry. “Every time we sing it — it’s not just me, it’s Cody as well; he’ll sing it to her — she just goes straight to sleep, every time. It’s like she wants her song.” Could an LP or EP of lullabies for mums (and maybe dads) be in its infant stages?
About motherhood, Stone adds, “It’s such a wonderful thing. And I know it’s really hard. It’s hard on all of us women in different ways but I’m just really glad to have had a good time. Such a special thing. I want at least 25 children.” (laughs)
As the UK and other countries continue to lift restrictions, an encouraged Stone awaits the day there’s no more COVID. Though she makes jokes about the number, mum’s not the word as she rattles off her not-so-hidden agenda of family affairs: “Well, I would like to have more babies … and I want to cook for them and teach them all how to bake and how to ride horses and how to paint pictures and how to be happy.”
Before any of that happens, she sees a wedding with DaLuz in her future. No date has been set, yet Stone seemingly is heading in that direction, disclosing, “I’m engaged but we just haven’t had a chance to get married yet. I do want to get married. That would be really fun. It’s really hard to find a time, first of all. And we are from two different countries.
“So that is very difficult ’cause we want to have a wedding where everyone can be there. And that’s very hard. So when we find a way to do that, maybe I have to book a gig that could pay for everyone to come over or something.”
It certainly sounds like someone isn’t kidding around. So listen to Never Forget My Love, then during this Year of the Tiger, expect to hear Joss Stone roar some more.