15 Sep Album of the Day: Joss Stone (09/16/2003)
Jocelyn Eve Stoker was hardly 15 years old when she flew from her native England to audition for a recording contract in New York in 2002. On September 16, 2003, with her name changed to Joss Stone, she released her debut album, The Soul Sessions, a collection of covers of 70s R&B/soul classics. This out-of-nowhere album causes a double take on first listen. Stone’s voice and style belie her youth and inexperience. One has to keep reminding oneself that it’s a 16-year-old belting out the funky “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” or groovin’ to the remake of Sugar Billy’s 1974 “Super Duper Love” or easily handling Aretha Franklin’s hit “All The King’s Horses.” The Soul Sessions is an impressive debut that added traction to the “neo-soul” revival movement started by Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and others in the late 90s. Unfortunately, her follow-up albums (2004’s Mind, Body & Soul and 2007’s Introducing Joss Stone) moved progressively away from the purer soul of The Soul Sessions toward a more MOR pop-rock sound. Since then, Stone herself has performed live only sporadically and gradually moved into various film and TV roles.