This is too bad. I have The Soul Sessions and love her voice. I hope she ends up figuring everything out, she is extremely talented.
She's only 20 but Joss Stone has already had four managers and said this week that she 'hates them all'.
Now The Mail on Sunday has tracked down two former aides thrust aside by the young star after furious clashes and they warn that her diva-like behaviour could derail her career.
At first glance, it might seem like the easiest task in showbusiness: take a beautiful, charismatic teenager with the extraordinary voice of a 40-year-old delta blues diva and turn her into a superstar.
Yet despite the efforts of some of the world's top music managers, Joss Stone is still struggling to find the same level of success abroad as she enjoys in Britain. Scroll down for more
For her, the reason is simple. With the supreme confidence engendered by youth and success, she vowed last week: "I'm never having a manager ever again. I've had four in the past five years and I hate them all."
But two of those discarded aides have spoken exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, and they paint a portrait of an ingenue whose self-belief may yet prove misplaced.
Alex Cole is a leading Hollywood business manager and Ron Stone no relation to the star has worked with legends including Bob Dylan, The Eagles and Joni Mitchell.
Both men claim Joss is naive, unwilling to take advice, surrounded by sycophants and heading for disaster if she does not begin listening.
"She's making a lot of wrong decisions at the moment," says Stone from his offices in Studio City, California.
"If she's not careful she could derail her career. Joss wants to manage herself but you have to consider her lack of understanding of the challenges in front of her. There's no way she can make the sophisticated choices demanded because her life experience is so very limited.
"She's a lovely girl, as sweet as can be, attractive and enormously talented, but when it comes to her career she's convinced she's right and everyone else over 30 is wrong."
Of course, Joss, now 20, is hardly the first young person convinced that she knows best and inclined to dismiss the opinions of her elders. Indeed, in that respect, she is typical of her age group.
But in terms of her career, with earnings so far of £6million, she has more to lose than many of her contemporaries.
Alex Cole, who managed Joss's film and TV ambitions from 2006 to earlier this year, confirms her youth-over-experience attitude.
"She's tough and she's not easy to manage. She's young, a free spirit, who thinks that she can conquer the world on her own. She thinks she doesn't need anyone telling her what to do or how to do it.
"When anyone tells her she can't do something creatively perhaps she shouldn't sing a certain song or take a particular movie role because they won't find an audience she says she wants to be true to herself and sees her advisers as selling out." Scroll down for more
According to Cole, Joss believes her creativity is sufficient to drive her career and does not take kindly to being told a particular project might not be good business. "I think that's the hippy in her," he says.
"She's still very much an artist at heart, which can be a good thing, but it needs to be tempered with an understanding of the way the world works."
And the way the world works has been a slap in the face for Joss recently.
She seemed unstoppable when she emerged from obscurity in late 2003 a barefooted teenager from Devon singing like a vintage Aretha Franklin.
Her debut album, The Soul Sessions, released when she was only 16, became a triple-platinum smash hit and made her a superstar in Britain. But she felt she needed to conquer America and at 18 decided to find a US manager who could help her make the leap to international stardom.
Ron Stone recalls: "A record producer called Steve Greenberg played me a tape of Joss when she was 15 and I spent the next 18 months begging to get involved because I thought she was spectacular. She's channelling a 50-year-old R&B singer from Louisiana and the fact that she's this 6ft beautiful girl from Devon is unbelievable. It's almost impossible not to be attracted to her as an artist.
"At that time her mum and dad were running her career and interviewing managers from all over the world. But when Joss and I met, we never discussed business and that was the key to beginning to represent her. We were simply comfortable together and she felt a connection."
Stone, who handled the singer's affairs between 2004 and 2005, now realises that that was a warning of problems ahead: Joss wanted someone around to agree with her choices and make her feel comfortable rather than to guide and advise her.
"We clashed every day and it was far from subtle," he says.
"But it was my job to give Joss as coldly honest a view as possible because everyone around her everyone would tell her how wonderful she was. If you are the only one saying that life's not all wonderful and demanding some hard decisions, then it becomes an irritant. Joss's notion of what is real and achievable on artistic and business levels isn't based on experience or facts because she's just a young girl. Her view of her career is quite myopic."
Joss appears to assume that a tremendous talent in one area is proof of her capabilities in other fields. Unfortunately, creative brilliance is no guarantee of commercial acumen.
Ron Stone believes that Joss is making bad decisions out of her desire to be a pop star rather than an entertainer with a lengthy career.
"As a pop singer your success rises and falls on the strength of your last record's sales, and it can be a very brief career five to seven years if you're lucky," he says.
"In America her music was perceived not as pop but appealed mainly to people who liked original R&B music and were fascinated by the authenticity of her performances. My take was that for a long and sustained career, she had to cultivate a relationship with her audience through concert performances so that they would want to see her again and again over a career of 20 or 30 years, like Aretha."
However, Stone says that Joss is fixated on becoming a commercial success rather than building a long-term career. "She needed to sell records to persuade people to see her perform but the real money is in concerts, not in record sales. That's why the long-lasting artists the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen love to tour. Joss thought success was measured only in selling records and her parents thought the same. I was a lone voice in the wilderness. I was thinking long-term for her everyone else was looking at the short term."
"Her parents loved her they had her best interests at heart,' he says. 'But they had no experience in the business and so I was constantly explaining to them the realities of touring, recording and the economics of the industry."
Joss's parents also had problems of their own. When Richard, a millionaire who made his fortune importing dried fruit, separated from Wendy in 2004, it affected Joss tremendously, says Stone.
"She had a constant sadness that never seemed to go away. She'd put on a smile but her underlying sadness was palpable. Joss also had a throat problem at that time because her technique as a singer was so exuberant. She sings in such an uninhibited fashion and it causes problems vocally. So she couldn't do two or three shows in a row."
Joss has previously admitted having nodules on her throat but wants them to heal naturally rather than having surgery.
Stone, 63, recalls: 'We had an argument one day when she had to choose between singing on a TV show that would reach hundreds of thousands, or in a small club for 300 people. She wanted to sing in the club, which I admire artistically, but if you only have one performance left in you before your voice goes, I'd rather she sang for the giant audience. Though we argued, she never screamed at me her parents did that.'
He says of his dismissal: "I wasn't fired over any one thing. I think she finally had enough of our constant clashes. I never felt my involvement was going to last. I felt like an interim manager."
In America, Joss remains one of the few young British artists to enjoy a significant profile. In 2005, she replaced Sarah Jessica Parker as the face of Gap and this year she shared a Grammy award with Sly and The Family Stone and others for Best R&B Performance by a duo or group with vocals.
But there have been concerns recently that Joss had lost her way musically her last album, Introducing Joss Stone, was released in March to a lukewarm reception in Britain and Ron Stone fears she is failing to take steps to ensure the longevity of her spell in the spotlight.
"She may have had fun making her last album but it wasn't the path to a long career," he says. "It was a mistake that didn't play to her strengths.
'Her first EP was rooted in traditional blues and her second expanded into R&B. But her latest recording is what she wanted most of the time, which is more pop. I think it's a big mistake. She had something unique but now she sounds just like another Mariah Carey wannabe.
She tried to become just another pop songstress and her niche has been filled by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen, which is Joss's loss.
"We discussed her musical direction constantly but our differences were philosophical. She wanted to be more in control of her music but the truth is that most women of her age may not have the best idea of what is best for their career."
Joss may also need a manager's guiding hand to steer her clear of the erratic behaviour that has plagued her lately, causing some fans to question whether she believes her wonderful gift gives her a licence to behave as she pleases.
She surprised many at the Brit Awards in February with her remarks, drawled in a fake American accent, about host Russell Brand, implying that he was in need of rehab. She was booed by fans when she arrived two hours late for a concert. And aides reportedly asked Joss to stop hanging out with her older friends because they were a bad influence. Her hair has ricocheted through shades of purple, green and pink. And she was heartbroken by the collapse of her romance with US record producer Beau Dozier.
Now she is acting as her own manager after her mother told her how easy it was. Joss recalls: 'She told me, Joss, your career is on autopilot. All I did was take calls and organise things. Managers say, Guess what? I got you a slot on the Superbowl! But they didn't get it for you. It was your reputation and commercial standing that got it and they were just the person who took the call. So why can't I be the one who picks up the phone?'
Joss has also admitted she loathes being told what to do and what not to do. 'At school a teacher said I'd never in a million years be able to complete the Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor. Being told I hadn't the capacity to do it? Too right I was going to show him. I hated every minute and took nothing useful whatsoever from the experience, but I showed him he was wrong.
'And I reacted in the same way when people in the music industry told me that I couldn't look after my own affairs. Why not? If anything, I'm trying to prove a point to other artists. Anyone with half a brain should be able to do it.'
Joss's previous managers shielded her from the rough and tumble of music-industry machinations. Recently, however, she has been finding out that management might not be quite as easy as she imagined.
Dave Gates, who is in charge of the Dallas Austin Recording Projects studio in Atlanta, reduced her to tears when she recorded there.
'He just cursed me out on the phone,' Joss has admitted. 'I cried and I was all upset. I was such a girl. He was just so nasty. I was like, Why are you so nasty? He was like, I'm talking to you like a manager to a manager. If you wanna f****** manage yourself, I'm going to talk to you like a f****** manager. '
Ron Stone warns: 'Managing herself is a big mistake. She knows what she wants but she won't know how to get it. And when she enters negotiations with record companies and music publishers, they will have negotiated hundreds of contracts previously and she'll be going in with only what she knows. It could be a recipe for disaster.
'On her last concert tour, she played Los Angeles twice in a few months. The second time more than 1,000 seats were empty. That was a serious mistake because you always want your audience and promoters wanting more, scrambling to buy tickets when you next come to town.
'She released her last album too soon because the record company wanted its revenue added to that quarter's earnings. But what's good for the record company isn't always good for Joss she would have benefited by spending a few more months making a better album.'
Stone points out that despite Joss's public criticism of them, her previous managers succeeded in establishing her career. 'She may have disliked us all but we all did a proper job,' he says. 'Now she runs the risk of destroying her own career, and that would be a tragic waste of a great talent.'
Joss Stone's 'diva' tendencies could ruin career, say ex-managers | the Daily Mail
This is too bad. I have The Soul Sessions and love her voice. I hope she ends up figuring everything out, she is extremely talented.
Mischief. Mayhem. Tattoos. Soap.
Another case of somebody thinking that because they are a good artist they are also a good manager. Almost no one is, or logistically can be, both.
She's like a client who has a fool for a lawyer -- herself.
Nice vocals, terrible material. She needs coaching on her stage presence as well and how to speak publicly. If she was smart, she'd surround herself w/good ppl that would promote her as a serious artist (cuz she has that potential if the good material would come)(e.g. Tina Turner, etc).
I think she's a bimbo. She was given a great opportunity (money,fame,success) and she's not even realizing how lucky she's been.
"Joss Stone is still struggling to find the same level of success abroad as she enjoys in Britain" - TRUE. None gives a shit about this drag-queen voice but British people. So, down to earth honey: stop wondering why you're not this big and start to work your ass out.
Three reasons to be teacher: June, July, August.
I actually find her voice and music quite annoying. Her material is not that great - I think she needs a good manager and to find some good lyrics.
Her voice is too unique-she is a classic and cannot totally do herself in-even if she tries.
I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West
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