277 - The Secret of My Success

Rachel Roberts (Standard British accent):

Now aged 22, Joss Stone took the music world by storm when she was just 16. In 2003 she released the album The Soul Sessions, which was a hit, as was the follow-up, Mind, Body & Soul, which came out a year later. Critics and fans were amazed, not only by her age, but by the fact that a girl from the very English county of Devon had a voice that could rival some of America’s greatest soul singers. Since then she has released Introducing Joss Stone (2007) and, most recently, Colour Me Free! (in late 2009).
We asked Joss Stone to explain how she became a professional singer at such a tender age:

Joss Stone (Standard British accent):
My horse Freddy was sold when I was about 12. My mum, she… it was her horse, really, but I just loved this horse, and... they sold Freddy because they told me that they didn’t have enough money to keep him, and we didn’t have a field, and we couldn’t just keep renting, and livery and bla bla bla, and I could only ride him on the weekends ‘cause I had school.
So I was kind of gutted, and I was like, “OK, so what do I have to do then, to get him back? So I sat there and I’d think, I’m a very logical kind of girl, practical, got to go ahead and do it, you know, pro-active! So, it was like “Hmm, what can I do? If they’re not going to help me – if my parents aren’t going to help me out in this one, which clearly they’re not, ‘cause it’s their fault! I’m going to go, and I’m going to get a job and I’m going to buy him back.”

So, I was watching TV and I was like “What can I do? I’m terrible at school, I’m not very academic. How can I get a job? I’m 12!” So I hadn’t really sang (sic) in front of anybody, but I always used to watch Star for A Night, which is like Star Search in America, and I just loved it, I loved it, but, you know how they have like a lot of crap on? I always thought, “Well, come on, I can do that. It’s not that hard. I can do that in a mirror, maybe I’m crazy, but I can!” So I wrote off to the show and I sent a little cassette tape, and made it on my little karaoke machine, of like little half-songs, but I sent that off, and then they sent me back this… like months later, I’d completely forgotten about it, they sent me back this sheet, and they said, “You’re like... you’re 1,182,” that was my number. So I went up there and we just queued for hours and hours and hours and I sang, and I was very, very nervous and my mum come (sic) with me. And then, yeah, long story short, I sang on the show, I got paid 75 quid, and couldn’t buy the horse back, but I did get a job out of it, so that’s good.

And, as we said, success came pretty quickly:

Joss Stone:
Those first two albums were a crazy time in my life, I have to say. I didn’t really know how it would have felt, if I hadn’t have done (sic) it. You know, it’s I like I didn’t have another job to compare it to. I had school and then that was my life.
So people were like, “Well, you know, is it weird to you, is it strange to you, that you did that so young and bla bla bla?” I’d never done anything else, so, to me, that’s my job, that’s my life, that’s what I do. And it’s... yeah, it’s tiring and all that, but it’s a job that you work hard at. And I didn’t really understand the success of it, I don’t think, for a very long time, ‘cause I’m not really the kind of girl that like reads up on myself and stuff. So I would go to places and they’d know the words to my songs and I would not understand, like “How the hell did they hear it?!” I didn’t realise, for a long time, that people even knew. It’s very strange!