Stone charms with sweet personality

The chatty singer Joss Stone (above) came across as a best friend instead of an aloof celebrity.
The chatty singer Joss Stone (above) came across as a best friend instead of an aloof celebrity.PHOTO: FORTHX

REVIEW / CONCERT

JOSS STONE

Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza

Last Saturday

British singer Joss Stone was the perfect remedy for SingJazz festivalgoers sticking it out on a hot Saturday night at the open-air Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza. Closing the second day of the Singapore International Jazz Festival, as it is also known, the soul queen bounded on stage at 10pm, fresh as a daisy.

Wearing a wide grin and togged out in a spaghetti-strap dress, the barefooted Stone immediately got to work, keeping the about 3,000-strong crowd entertained throughout her one-hour set.

Most in the audience had already been at the festival for hours, catching other artists' performances, yet her songs had them singing and grooving along all over again.

Early on, she trotted out songs from last year's album Water For Your Soul, such as Molly Town and Harry's Symphony. Her breathy, strong vocals, as she bopped to the reggae beat, showed why she deserved to be named reggae artist of the year by Billboard last year.

She kept long-time fans happy by singing older hits such as Fell In Love With A Boy, the retitled 2002 hit from rock duo The White Stripes; Super Duper Love (Are You Digging On Me?), a cover song from her 2003 album, The Soul Sessions; and her mash-up of Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now with Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley's hit Turn Your Lights Down Low.

There was no argument with her singing - Stone hit all the high and low notes effortlessly across genres and even ad-libbed in tune.

But what gave the Grammy- winning singer an edge was her on-stage personality. Chatty and funny, the 28-year-old was instantly likable - you could have imagined her as your best friend, instead of an aloof celebrity running through the motions of completing a concert.

She peppered the set with stories about the inspiration to some songs. Landlord was written as a hint to a tenant "with lovely eyes" whom she wanted to date. To laughter from the crowd, she shared: "I said (to him) if we're going to date, you're going to have to leave. You can't be paying me - that f***s with the romance."

The seasoned performer, who had a show at the Esplanade in 2013, did not let the heat get to her.

Never mind that her eyeliner smudged or her forehead was covered in perspiration. She worked every centimetre of the stage, strutting up and down as she delivered every note flawlessly.

A stage monitor flashed a countdown timer through her set, as the festival had to end by 11pm and Stone constantly poked fun at it. With 11 minutes to go, she cheekily said: "What are we going to do in 11 minutes? Should we take a stand? We will just have to say no."

You could have bet that even if the organisers had cut her off on the dot, Stone would have found a way to deliver all she came to give.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Stone charms with sweet personality'. Print Edition | Subscribe