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Joss Stone: 'I'm allowed to be me now'

Story Highlights

• Joss Stone's 3rd album is "Introducing Joss Stone"
• Stone managing herself, says new sound is truer
• Admits insecurities, defends Spears, says she is who she is
By Denise Quan
CNN
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Joss Stone called her new album "Introducing Joss Stone" for a reason -- even though it's her third release.

Four years ago, Stone was a 16-year-old R&B wunderkind. But now she's embarked on a new direction, one she says is truer to herself. She's even managing herself now -- having gone through "four managers in the last five years," she says.

Stone talked with CNN about her career, her concerns and even Britney Spears. This is an edited version of the interview.

Q: I was surprised to find out that, before you made this record, you were wondering whether you wanted to continue in the music business.

JOSS STONE: I don't know. It really didn't rub me the right way. It kind of irritated me. So I was like, OK guys, either you let me do what I need to do by myself or I need to get find another job because it wasn't making me happy.

Q: What was it you wanted?

STONE: I wanted people not to look at me as a little girl, but I was a little girl so how could I ask the world not to? ...

So I have to prove myself, I guess. I guess this year I'm going to find out if I'm good enough or not. If I'm not, I don't care. I'll do something else, it's not a biggie.

Q: But you've taken a totally different direction this time.

STONE: Yeah man, this is my direction.

Q: And you've gone toward a more urban sound.

STONE: If you want to call it that. ... It's a growing thing. ... I'm allowed to be me now, which is a first, and I think it's really cool.

Q: Some fans are really intrigued by the change and what is she going to do next, and then there are other fans who are appalled.

STONE: So really you can't please everyone can you? ...

I'm 19, I'm a girl, I'm very young, I like all sorts of different things, I like all sorts of different styles of music, I like all sorts of different styles of clothes, I like all sorts of different colors of hair. I like many different things you know so I'm probably going to experiment, and if I didn't I'd be a little bit strange and boring and stiff and kind of dead, and I'm very not that.

Q: You're a lot younger than other girls in the business who have been successful, but you look at Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and how they all had growing pains. Britney still can't figure out who she is and she's doing things to draw attention to herself in perhaps the wrong ways.

STONE: Well, maybe she's not. Maybe she's just living her life but people just won't stop looking at her. Maybe people should leave her alone. ... You took a picture of me on a bad day and it would be the same thing.

Q: Yeah, but you'd be wearing underwear.

STONE: Yeah, right. [But] some people don't like to wear underwear. Each to their own. ...

We shouldn't be mad at Britney Spears because she didn't wear underwear. That's her choice. She wasn't hurting anybody. That was her. She decided not to wear underwear. Maybe she wanted a little breeze. That's her decision. But we should be mad at the guy who posted it on the Internet. What an [expletive], what a [expletive] [expletive]. That's a really mean, nasty, malicious, terrible thing to do to somebody.

Q: Do people try to do that to you?

STONE: If anybody shoved a camera up my skirt I'd knock them on their ass in about five seconds.

Q: You['ve] said that you're an insecure person. Where do your insecurities come from?

STONE: I think everybody's insecure. I think people that claim not to be are lying. ... Especially young women.

Q: What do you get insecure about?

STONE: I get insecure because the people I listen to vocally I think they're stunning and amazing and I personally don't think that I am that. There's always insecurities about my job and whether I'm doing it right. And there's also the average everyday girl thing.

You know if I wasn't insecure I wouldn't wear makeup and I wouldn't do my hair, and I wouldn't wear clothes. If the human race was not insecure we'd be walking around buck naked because we wouldn't give a [expletive]. ... We are all insecure and it's silly to say that we're not.

Q: Do you think it takes hardships and ups and downs to make a career and get respect?

STONE: Well, some people find it really difficult to believe that a young person can be as emotional as I am because they want to know the ins and outs of your life in order to believe you. And I'm like, well, that's my business. I don't think that I need to be smacked in the face 50 times in order to sing about an [expletive]. But I think you need to have emotions. ...

There's no age limit on emotions, there's no age limit on being soulful, or feeling something or expressing how you feel. ... A lot of people find it difficult to believe you but that's really not my problem. If you don't believe me, don't believe me. All I can do is tell you.


Stone

Joss Stone has adopted a new, more glamorous look for her new album, "Introducing Joss Stone."

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