In an exclusive interview with Hello! magazine, singer Joss Stone has spoken of the life-threatening dangers she encounters as she tries to play a concert in every country in the world. “I don’t think about where I shouldn’t go, I think about where I should go,” she told Hello! of her Total World Tour. “According to the United Nations. there are 196 countries on this planet but I also have a book which lists 226 countries and that’s the one I’m working from.
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“To me, it’s very simple. We’re told as musicians that certain countries are too dangerous to go to, that there is fighting or that certain places are unsafe. But my view is people like us are living in those places and surely they want to be entertained, want to be sung to, want to feel that people in other countries care about them, too. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a politician, but I know that music can connect people. A song can make you, even for a matter of minutes, forget your troubles.
Singer Joss Stone is visiting every country in the world on her tour. Copyright: Harry Stoker
“I don’t actively put myself in danger. I try to do everything as safely as possible. But I won’t let myself be put off. There’s no country in the world I wouldn’t go to, from Syria to North Korea.”
Explaining how she came up with the idea in 2007, she added: “My idea was to go to a country, get involved with a local charity and local musician and just perform. “I didn’t want it to be big and grand with bells, whistles and tour T-shirts. I just wanted it to be a very real experience – about music, about people, about all those places no one ever goes to and about making a connection.”
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And she says that she is bankrolling the entire tour herself. “I’m definitely not doing this for the money,” she reveals. “It’s not about selling tickets or merchandising, it’s just about doing it. We go away for a few weeks then come back. When the money starts to run out, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can do a big organised gig that funds the next leg of the trip. I guess you could never say I was business-minded but I’m so much happier than I was in my early twenties.”
In the interview she also talks of her close friendship with Princes William and Harry, whom she has known for more than a decade. In 2014 she became an ambassador for Sentebale, the charity co-founded by Harry that helps disadvantaged children in Lesotho and Botswana. “I love those guys,” she says. “We all feel the same about doing our bit to help others. Whenever they ask me to perform, I’m there. We’re incredibly lucky to have them and I’m proud to think we can have a relationship that can do some good.”
Joss’s next single, We Are The Oceans, released on 14 July, was recorded in collaboration with global collective We Are The Oceans (WATO), which helps safeguard the world’s oceans. Joss says of the song: “We have one planet. We need to look after it. It’s not about preaching. It’s about doing little things like using less plastic, recycling, just trying to be a bit more green.”
Read the full article in HELLO! out now.