Judging by the crowd at Joss Stone’s recent Greek Theater performance in L.A., the 20-year-old English siren wasn’t so much a magnet for her fellow teens as for their parents, baby boomers who grew up listening to the Motown sound in which she specializes.
That demo helped drive close to 9 million in worldwide sales for Stone’s albums. Her third disc, “Introducing Joss Stone,” went gold in the U.S. three months after its March shelf date. A four-Grammy nominee, Stone collected a trophy for her “Family Affair” redux, a track originally recorded by Sly & the Family Stone.
While the past three years have unleashed a windfall of retro-styled Brit chicks on the pop charts, Stone distinguishes herself from Amy Winehouse’s tabloid blues and Lily Allen’s outspokenness as the lovey-dovey hippie girl with her tie-dye floral fashion and relaxed attitude.
“I’m a very emotional person, so everything that comes into my world is over the top,” Stone says. “In the end, it all comes back to love.”
Stone’s affair with music began at the age of 12 when she began singing in the back of a choir. The songstress cut five songs on her karaoke machine and sent the tape to British talent show “Star.” Soon after, she found herself in New York auditioning for Steve Greenberg, prexy of S-Curve Records.
Her first album at 16, “The Soul Sessions,” touted covers of Aretha Franklin, Carla Thomas and others, leading to opportunities for Stone to share the stage with such greats as Stevie Wonder at the 2006 Super Bowl and Sly Stone at the 2006 Grammys.
“Everything comes back around,” she says. “If you look at the new music, they don’t use real instruments anymore. Whatever machine they’re using strips the feeling out of the sound. When you listen to the old records, you feel so much more connected.”
Recent breakthrough: Chanel approached Stone directly about using her rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Love” in a spot.
Role model: “It’s not healthy to have just one role model. People shouldn’t model themselves on another person because you’ll always be upset.”
What’s next: Attached to star in a Duane Adler (“Step Up”) musical thriller set in post-Katrina New Orleans next year.