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Joss Stone on music, alleged murder plot

By Denise Quan, CNN
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Joss Stone talks new CD and murder plot
  • Joss Stone has been in the music industry since she was 15
  • The singer was recently the target of an alleged murder plot
  • She's in a supergroup with Mick Jagger and Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart

Los Angeles (CNN) -- With her easy laugh and free-spirited manner, Joss Stone doesn't seem like the intended victim of a foiled robbery-murder plot.

But less than one month before CNN sat down with the 24-year-old English soul singer, two men were arrested outside her home in the English countryside. Police found Samurai swords and a body bag on the suspects. Stone's father begged her to "book more gigs" so she wouldn't be home alone.

"I'm just chillin' out in Devon making my cupcakes, minding my own business, and these people ... with like Samurai swords and stuff, they definitely went 'Kill Bill' on it. It's like they watched too many movies," she recalls.

The incident came on the heels of a report that claimed she was one of the wealthiest female musicians in Great Britain.

"I know, man -- that almost got me killed! S**t like that gets people killed!" she exclaims. "I am not the wealthiest woman in England!"

Even so, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter remains one of her generation's most talented artists. Her debut EP, "The Soul Sessions," hit stores in 2003 -- when Stone was just 15 -- but it was clear a star was born, with an ageless, timeless quality to her gutsy vocals. Her long, blonde locks and bohemian vibe only contributed to the public's fascination. Three more albums followed.

Then after a costly battle to free herself from her label, EMI, Stone's fifth CD, "LP1," was released July 26 on her own Stone'd Records. It's a soul album, shot through with bursts of funk, gospel and rock, and recorded in Nashville, the country music capital of the world.

"It's nice and vibey," she says with a degree of pride.

Stone produced the project with Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart. The pair is also two-fifths of a supergroup with Mick Jagger called SuperHeavy, which also features reggae star Damian Marley and "Slumdog Millionaire" composer A.R. Rahman. Their self-titled CD streets September 27.

"I'm in a band!," Stone squeals incredulously. "I've never been in a band before. Dave Stewart called me one day and said, 'Hey Joss, I've got a really cool idea. Mick and I are going to make a band and we wondered, 'Do you want to be in our band?' I was like, 'Aw. I felt like I was in school. 'Yeah, I want to be in your band. Of course I do!'"

In a Q & A with CNN, Stone shares her thoughts on Mick, men, maturity, the murder plot and, of course, making music.

CNN: "LP1" is the first release on your own label, Stone'd Records.

Joss Stone: Yeah, that is true. I don't really know what I'm doing, but it's better that way than the other way -- because that was not fun. It was very, very difficult towards the end because I had to fight. I'm good at fighting. I just prefer not to. So now I don't have to fight anymore. I just make music I want to make, when I want to make it, with whom I'd like to make it, and then just give it to the world. And then I go and make some more. It's so much easier this way.

CNN: You were barely a teenager when you started in this business, so there were probably a lot of people telling you what to do.

Stone: I was 14 when I signed my first deal, and the way it worked was actually beneficial to me because I did not know what I was doing. I didn't really know how to sing. I was just making it up as I go along.

I didn't know how to write songs. So the environment was perfect, because they tell you what to do in every single way -- very, very detailed. But then you get a bit older and you want to try these things yourself. So trying to make this transition is a little bit difficult when you've already set the dynamic.

CNN: Your parents must have had a strong reaction to the arrests made outside your home recently.

Stone: My mum, she was pretty annoyed. My dad was pretty annoyed, too. He was like, 'Joss, book some more gigs.' 'No, I'm staying here.'

CNN: You seem to have gotten over that okay.

Stone: I never really got into it.

I've been in this industry for 10 years, and so many weird things happen. So another weird thing is just another weird thing. It's a little bit like sitting in a movie.

My mind went to Sherlock Holmes. I didn't really get upset or cry all night long. I just thought, "Okay, maybe I'll use the key that I've had for so very long and never use." I live in Devon. It's very chill. It's in the middle of nowhere. It's farmland. There's no point in being upset about something that didn't happen.

CNN: But it's a great plot for a movie.

Stone: Isn't it? This is all lyrics. So thank you for the lyrics, guys.

CNN: Speaking of lyrics, there's a lot of "woman scorned" lyrics on this album. What happened there?

Stone: In order for it to be soul music, you have to mean it. So whatever lyric is in my head at the time, I go all the way there. So if I'm writing a song about someone who wasn't very nice, it ends up being about this total bastard -- when really, he was probably just a bit mean one day. You exaggerate it. It's over-emotional. And that's why it's soul music -- because it's over-emotional.

CNN: What kind of men do you like?

Stone: I like guys that work hard, and are very funny and just sweet. I like guys that are strong. I don't like girly guys. Gotta be manly, gotta make me feel girly. I don't know if I'm girly or not, but I just like to feel girly when I'm around a bloke. I don't want to feel like I'm a bloke.

CNN: You're in a new supergroup with Mick Jagger. What's he like?

Stone: Mick Jagger's lovely. I think he's funny. His presence is very strong. He's a very learned man ... and at the same time, he's a joker, he's a laugh. I really like him. I'm so glad I get to work with him. It makes me laugh to even sit here and talk about things like that with a straight face.

CNN: You're friends with Prince William and Prince Harry.

Stone: Oh yeah, we're buddies. We go to the pub every Friday. (She laughs) You know how you'd expect the Royal Family to be? You'd expect them to be very regal? And they're not like that. They're just lovely, lovely chaps. They make me laugh.

CNN: Kate seems very lovely, too.

Stone: I've never met Kate! I really want to meet her. She seems like the most perfect queen that we could ever possibly have. She's lovely and beautiful. Ah man, the wedding was gorgeous! And I felt like I was part of a real fairy tale. A real-life fairy tale. It was cool.

CNN: Do you ever feel like your life has been a fairy tale?

Stone: Um, no. My life doesn't feel like a fairy tale. But it might look like a fairy tale to those watching. It's a dark comedy with the whole killer thing. I mean, the things I go through. You've got to laugh.