A quick word ... with Joss Stone

By Rebecca Barry Hill

Joss Stone makes the transition between soul sister and drama queen. Photo / Supplied
Joss Stone makes the transition between soul sister and drama queen. Photo / Supplied

She's the Grammy-winning soul singer who shot to fame as a teenager for her huge voice, pink hair and outlandish personality. Ten million album sales later and Joss Stone is starring in the period TV drama The Tudors as Anne of Cleves, the wife Henry VIII rejected for not being beautiful enough

What did you think of The Tudors?
It's good. I watched the first season. And then I had the second one ready. I got nervous and I couldn't watch it anymore.

What were you nervous about?
Getting it wrong. I'm nervous all the time. That's how I get through life. If I'm really shitting myself, it makes me more passionate.

So where does the nose ring come into the Anne of Cleves outfit?
I've got all these plastic things in my ears, hair and nose. I'm not taking it out because it took me years for it to heal, so forget it.

What do you think of the costumes?
Costumes are really strange.

She wears these crazy, big hats. A hat can change everything. But it's great. I mean, they're amazing. They're very heavy. Like, the skirts are mad heavy. For the wedding, it was just ridiculous. It's like wearing curtains.

What can you tell us about Anne of Cleves?
I think she was the cleverest of them all. She didn't get her head chopped off. Apparently she was a bit of a minger.

You're obviously not a minger. Why do you think you got the part?
I can play a minger really well. I don't know. I actually auditioned for Jane Seymour. And they were going to give me the part, but I couldn't do it because I had to go on tour. I was gutted. I guess they figured if I could do her, then I could do that one. I didn't realise I had to have a German accent until a couple weeks before I came here. Oh, I have to learn harpsichord for this thing. Did they mention that? No. Everyone assumes that you play something. But I don't play anything; never have.

Did you always have the desire to act?
Yeah. I like to have fun. I don't like to take life too seriously. I just roll with the punches and just do whatever comes up. If it sounds like a laugh, I'll do it.

Has this role made you into more of a lady?
Please, it's not possible. I'm myself when they say cut, and I'm her when they say roll. I heard the whole method [acting] idea is a bit strange. You could really mess your head up doing that.

How do you juggle the acting and music?
Music is my first. I went home for about a week and wrote some songs with my friend. I swear we almost made a whole album in one night. I love it so much it, like, hurts my soul.

How hard is it to relinquish the control you're used to in your music career?
I would never take control of something that I don't know how to take control of. I've done three albums now. Only did I take control on the third one. So it's the same with acting. It's like I'm starting again. I love to learn. My mum used to call me a little sponge.

Why do you think musicians often end up acting?
It's just anything that's creative. I like to paint, I like to draw, I like to cook. I like to act, I like to sing songs, I like to write songs. I like to plant flowers. I watch films and I bawl my eyes out, or I can feel very much in love at the end of it. Maybe it's easier going from being a blues or soul singer to acting because you sing a song for four minutes, feeling one emotion. To help people to understand what you're feeling, you have to feel it so much when you're on stage.

You were only 16 when you started in this business. How confident do you feel now compared to when you started?
I still get nervous. I had to do this show, my first gig, in Tobacco Road in Miami, with pretty much the same band I have now. I had really long hair and I would put my hair over my face and sing the songs I had to. I didn't look up. And then when I did, I'd piss myself laughing. And I would cry. It just deeply upset me, the fact that I was so afraid. I did all these gigs, you know, a couple years went by, and I was still scared. And then instead of getting upset, I'd just get pissed off about it. I'd be, like, why am I upset? Why am I nervous? I've done this 100 times. But you have to just embrace it. It's a pain in the ass. But it's not going to go away.

How do you feel about the music you made during that time?
The first two albums I didn't really have control over, I didn't really love those albums. I liked them. And then I hated them, and then I liked them again. But I really loved my third album. Because I was part of every single little bit.

Joss Stone's new album Colour Me Free! is out Monday. The Tudors screens 8.30pm Sundays on TV One.

- NZ Herald

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