Debut diva storms up charts

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 March, 2004, 12:00am

When I first played the debut release of Joss Stone, The Soul Sessions, it was hard for me to believe that I was listening to a 16-year-old girl singing.

The British teenager from Devon, in southern England, is not a pop princess like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. With a gifted and unexpectedly mature voice, Stone is described as Britain's answer to classic soul diva, Aretha Franklin.

Spotted on a BBC talent contest, Stone put aside her original debut album to work on The Soul Sessions which features ten covers from classic soul gems to contemporary hits. She also had the chance on this album to work with top musicians such as Betty Wright and Steve Greenberg, as well as hip-hop outfit, The Roots.

Her earthy interpretation and ad-libbing in classics such as Aretha Franklin's All the King's Horses and the Isley Brothers' For the Love of You is impressive. Meanwhile, she effortlessly turns the White Stripes' rock tune, Fell in Love with a Girl, into a soulful number on the single, Fell in Love with a Boy.