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What's Joss Stone been up to lately? Oh, nothing much: just traveling across the entire planet. Our favorite soulful old soul has embarked on her Total World Tour, vowing to play a concert in each of the 204 accredited nations on Earth. The multi-year journey is still underway, but it has heavily influenced her new album, Water For Your Soul. Out today, the disc is a fusion of reggae rhythms, hip hop beats, and Stone's trademark R&B vocals—all topped off with Irish fiddles, gospel choirs, tablas, flamenco guitar, and other sonic souvenirs from her trek.
The album's lead single, "The Answer", has intrigued listeners simply because there's nothing else like it. By experiencing the world and its music first hand, Stone was able to take influences from across the globe and fuse it into something completely new. Greater than the sum of its parts, it's a sound that defies categorization. And for Stone, that's just fine.
"It's like when they put roses together and they make these lovely different colors," she tells us. "It's still a rose—and it's still music! It's just a hybrid of wonderful things mixed together. The sky's the limit! I don't want to do just one thing."
Fans of her early Soul Sessions material may accuse Stone of abandoning her brash R&B roots, but that's not the way the singer sees it. "I've been asked many times, 'What's soul music to you.' Soul is treated as if it's a genre, and I don't think it is one. I think it's a feeling. So I don't think I've ever sung in any genre—but for the listener, maybe I have."
The message of the music is simple: "Let go of all your bullshit, find your silver lining, and go be free and enjoy life." But more than anything else, her music reminds us that it's a big world out there. Tune in.