Joss Stone was wandering around a Hollywood record store when she found herself in the world music section.
“How fitting,” she laughed, flipping through a crate of vinyl that covered everything from dancehall music to reggae.
After breaking out a dozen years ago as a teenage soul sensation, the big-voiced English singer is in a Jamaican vibes with her latest release, “Water for Your Soul,” which arrives Friday.
The 28-year-old’s seventh album is largely influenced by her Caribbean travels and work with the son of Bob Marley, Damian Marley AKA Junior Gong. Her sonic wanderlust on the album was also inspired by her ongoing tour, during which she aims to play a concert in each of the 204 countries in the world over the next three years.
During an afternoon of crate digging (Chevelle Franklin and Dennis Brown were among her purchases) after a recent show, Joss Stone discussed her latest album, discovering new sounds and trusting herself.
This record seems like it’s a direct result of your Caribbean travels.
The writing process was over four or five years. The recording started after I began my world tour. The plan is to play one gig in every country in the world, make a musical collaboration with someone from that country and visit a charity so it educates me about that place. It has changed my outlook on everything.
How did all those global influences play out in your music?
There’s a lot of different sounds on there. We’ve got ska, dancehall, rocksteady, a gospel choir from Harlem, the drums are a hip-hop approach, the basslines are reggae. If I’ve done a good job, I’ve made a backbone strong enough so that it flows nicely. My mum said the album is in the reggae music section on Amazon. I’m chuffed, because what do I know? I’m just making music, and I’m enjoying the sounds I get to hear from all the travel.
Did Damian Marley play a major role in creating this record?
In the day we would do SuperHeavy, and then at night Damian was making the “Distant Relatives” record with Nas. Damian was like you should do a reggae record. I thought I’d get in trouble. We got in the studio with his rhythm section, and we jammed. “Love Me” came out of that. I had some things already going for the album…. But it was as if he poured Red Bull and caffeinated the whole project.