Question time: Hannah Pool meets British soul singer Joss Stone

British soul singer Joss Stone on why she thinks the press turned on her as soon as she hit 19

Have you been in the studio much lately?
Yeah, I've been making the album. It's fucking great, excuse my language.

What is the mood of the album?
I recorded it in a week, so it's really raw. If you record any piece of music in the same time that you thought it up, it has this kind of electricity that doesn't leave it, so it's very free and every track is different.

Do you worry about the kind of press coverage you get when you come back to the UK?
No, I'm so over it. If I worried about the press I was going to get in England, I'd worry myself into an early grave. No, I can't be worried about silly things like that, it's not important.

Why do you think the UK press isn't always that kind to you?
I don't really know. Why are they mean to anybody really? I don't know if there is any good reason to be nasty to somebody who's just trying to sing and make good music. Is what I do negative and does it hurt people's feelings? If the answer was yes, then I would understand why they would want to be nasty. But I don't think the answer is yes. If they don't like it, then they shouldn't listen. What I suggest, for the people who do get irritated or annoyed, they should either turn off the television, or turn off the CD player or shut the magazine, and then go on with their day and find something else in their life that makes them happy. I'm not going anywhere, I like making music. I'm going to carry on doing what I do regardless of whether other people are miserable bastards or not.

There was a lot of good feeling towards you at the beginning, you were the West Country girl who did good, and then ...
You can't be mean to a 15-year-old girl. You're allowed to be mean when they hit 19, so maybe that's what it was, maybe it was an age-limit thing. "When she gets past this age, we will fucking ruin her," maybe that's what it was. But it's OK, it's just one little country. I make music for the world, I'm not just making it for England.

Do you regret showing up for the Brits last year [Stone was criticised for her appearance and for adopting an American accent]?
No. What kind of question is that? No.

You're having a good time in America. what are you doing there?
Exactly the same thing I'm doing here and in France and in Germany and Holland and Japan and Australia: making music. People here think I live in America. I do not. I have not and I will not. There's the world that I have to go around, and cater to, and sing for.

You started very young. How has the music industry treated you?
It's treated me well, I'm very happy with the outcome.

Do you think you went into the industry too early?
No. I think I've come out of it pretty good. And if I hadn't, I wouldn't be me, and I like me right now, I'm good with me.

Do you ever get down?

No, not really. I mean, I'm a girl, we all get upset at times. Do you ever get down? Do you ever get depressed? Yeah.

Is it a sexist industry?
The world is a sexist place, I don't think it's a sexist industry. Any business is going to be slightly sexist at this point in time. It's getting less sexist as we go along.

Is it true that when you started in the music business, people in the industry said they weren't going to sign "a young white girl with a black woman's voice"?
Yes. People have been very racist [towards me]. It was very shocking. I was 14 when I went over [to America] to get signed, and it just confused me, more than anything. The people who were most racist to me were white. How funny is that? It's very strange. Hey, you ignore these things, if you dwell on it then you keep it going - the more you talk about it, and the more you label things as black and white. I don't label music as a colour, or any style as a colour. It's just a different shade of skin. Come on now people, we're the same colour inside. It's like saying, "You have blond hair and I have brown so we're completely different people." That's just bullshit. I hope those people get fixed.

• The charity compilation SERVE3 will be released on November 4 and will be available from all Hard Rock locations and, with downloads at

Audio Listen to Joss Stone talking to Hannah Pool


Hannah Pool

The GuardianTramp

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