This weekend, when Joss Stone plays New Haven’s Shubert Theater, it will be just a small step in her big dreams.
“I would like to play a gig in every country in the world,” she said matter-of-factly in a recent interview. “That’s my mission. That will be my next tour. Yep, it’ll be fun. I’m excited about that.”
The idea could seem rather far fetched, but so do other aspects of Stone’s life. She has sold millions of albums, has an acting career, and a record label.
It’s just that Stone, who is barely old enough to rent a car, brings it all up with the same nonchalance others in their mid twenties use to talk about ordering tacos. Except, that is, when it comes to riding an elephant in the video for her latest single, “The High Road.”
“I remember reading [the script], and I emailed the chap that sent it to me. I was like ‘Will I get to meet a real elephant?’ and he was like, ‘Yes,’” she gushed. “So I said ‘Okay! Let’s do that one!’”
The song is off her latest album, “The Soul Sessions Vol. 2,” released this summer. The video also has the soul singer journeying through subways and trippy forests of melting clocks.
“I love that sort of creativity you can have when you do videos,” she said. “It’s like a whole other outlet of artistry.”
At age fifteen, Stone’s debut album “The Soul Sessions” launched her along the leading edge of the 2000′s wave of British soul singers. The record introduced her big, rich voice to global audiences.
Lots has happened since then, including a very costly split from her label, EMI, over artistic freedom. It’s what precipitated the creation of Stone’d Records, which released the debut album of rock-reggae outfit Yes Sir Boss this week.
“A lot of times when you get involved in big company and you’re beginning, you have to play the game and do what you’re told,” she said, speaking deeply from her own experience.
“Sometimes that can be really great and really helpful when you don’t know what to do. And then other times that can be stifling and stop the creativity. I’m hoping that I can give [artists] the open space to be whoever they are.”
Stone’d was also the avenue for releasing “The Soul Sessions: Vol 2,” which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200. Though it’s her sixth full length album, it’s also a sequel of sorts to her debut in that both are comprised of soul covers. Stone says that’s where the similarities between the two records ends.
“The way we make music [now] is different. Obviously the musicians on it are different. I’m different. I’m much, much more comfortable now where I was so nervous back then.
“I had never been in the studio before. I was kind of like a lost little girl,” she said. “Every day wake up and hope that someone would tell me what to do. Whereas now I wake up and say ‘god I hope no one tells me what to do today.’”
Her musical palette has grown as well. Stone was part of the cross-genre supergroup SuperHeavy, alongside Mick Jagger (with whom she had previously collaborated for the 2004 “Alfie” soundtrack), A.R. Rahman, Damian Marley, and Dave A. Stewart.
“I loved it, I was so into that. It opened my eyes and opened my ears to a whole other world… It pushed my voice into different places and my melodies went to different places. It was just really exciting to test myself out.”
But of all things she spoke of in her career, it seemed riding that elephant drew the most excitement from the singer.
“She was beautiful, she was so gorgeous and so sweet, and so massive. It was amazing.”