Soul phenomenon Joss Stone is set to release Never Forget My Love in early 2022, her first album in six years. The title track was released to wide acclaim last month (video HERE), and the follow-up single, “Breaking Each Other’s Hearts,” will be unveiled on Christmas day. The latter song might not be the obvious choice for a Christmas release, but Stone shares that, “I know life is not perfect, and sometimes Christmas day comes around and there's somebody that's hurting you.”
“Some of my records have been very defiant,” Stone continues. “Some are full of love, maybe romance, and usually when that's the case, I've been getting over some guy, or trying to be strong in myself as a woman. I definitely don't feel like I have to even say those things anymore. I just am stronger.” That said, the lyrics on the new record can get heavy. “If we're going to be upset about something,” Stone says, “let's really go there, instead of always being okay at the end of the song, which I always liked to do before.” Rest assured, however, the new record is not all dark as she has sprinkled in some trademark soulful and uplifting tracks (which she says remind her a bit of 2003’s Super Duper Love).
Speaking fondly of working with producer David Stewart (of the Eurythmics), Stone says, “You feel very safe with Dave. You can tell him every single story—he knows everything about my life!” She adds that Stewart is skilled at drawing the music out, as opposed to scripting it in. Having worked together on numerous projects over the years, the latest collaboration for the duo feels like somewhat of a full-circle moment from their early collaboration recording “Alfie” for the 2004 Jude Law movie of the same name. Stone reveals that her recent experience performing live with Burt Bacharach ultimately shaped the new album’s stylings, each track having been more deliberately crafted in lieu of the live jam feel of previous records. “It's not how I'm used to making music,” she says. “A lot of the music I've made in the past has been very groove-based—R&B, soul, blues [with a] little hip-hop backbone kind of thing. It's more adult in a way—more serious to me. I'm just telling what I'm telling. I feel more confident in it, and not nervous or feeling like I have to impress anyone.”
Most of the new record was recorded while still pregnant, but the vocal tracks ended up being damaged and distorted, and Stone ended up needing to re-record them after her daughter, Violet, was born. At first frustrated at the lost work—especially since the entire album had been recorded live in-studio—the fresh perspective of motherhood only amplified the meaning behind some of the songs. “My Girl” was originally written about a friend, but is now all about Violet and the aspirations Stone has in becoming the kind of mother she had growing up. “I'm glad the voice was distorted [and I had to re-record it] because I had a new spirit.”
Despite being a new mum (Violet turns one this January), Stone has yet to show any signs of slowing down, having released “Lean on Me” with Beverley Knight last April to raise awareness for national health workers in the UK, launching a podcast (A Cuppa Happy) all about how to find—and how to maintain—happiness (more HERE), and being involved with The Masked Singer (winning Season 2 as the sausage). Joss kicks off a tour with fellow Brit Corinne Bailey Rae this coming Jan. 19 through February 11.
More at: jossstone.com
Photos by Jorge Mejía Peralta, Patrik Hamberg