This month signifies the official return of Joss Stone, who played a post-Jubilee show in London after a two-year hiatus from the UK stage. It marks the imminent release of the second volume to her best selling debut “The Soul Sessions”, a decade after the original release.

Recorded in New York and Nashville during two special sessions, Stone collaborated with a selection of renowned musicians including the legendary Ernie Isley for the project. The album features an eclectic mix of Soul classics including “The High Road” originally by Broken Bells, and Joss’ next single “While You’re Out Looking For Sugar”, a cover of The Honey Cone’s track.

Joss, who reunited with her first label S-Curve Records, says of the material; “I really had fun revisiting The Soul Sessions idea and I’m really pleased with the results. I’ve committed long term to my label Stone’d Records, but it felt right to team up with…S-Curve again for this release. I think there are some great songs on the album and I loved performing them with such brilliant musicians.”

The sold out concert, set at the atmospheric Under The Bridge club in Fulham, was the first time the results of Stone’s recent work have been showcased in public, and it was clear that she was relishing the chance to reconnect with her fans, effortlessly blending new material with hits like “You Had Me”.

Taking full ownership of the stage, the BRIT and Grammy recipient appeared in her element throughout the two-hour performance, her demeanour happy, comfortable and vibrant. She joked with the crowd and set the relaxed tone of the evening by apologising for a “wardrobe malfunction” during the first track, sheepishly adding that she’d have to sing the next song “holding my left boob”.

With a career spanning over a decade to date, including success in America and album sales amassing eleven million, it’s hard to believe that Stone is still only 25. Yet it is perhaps precisely this incredible life experience that explains the apparent newfound confidence about her, an authentic sex appeal often the result of genuine self-acceptance.

Emerging bare foot with a sparkly silver dress and loose curls, there was no sign of the infamous fake American accent that grabbed headlines back in 2007. Down to earth yet sassy, her energy could be described as magnetic, but less sultry Lana Del Rey, and more approachable girl next door.

The crowd was certainly transfixed as she wowed them with her powerhouse vocals and interacted with them in an effortless and playful manner. You could almost be forgiven for forgetting that up on stage was one of Britain’s richest musicians under 30, if you were judging on the grounds of humility.

In terms of vocal quality of course, the audience was left in no doubt as to why Joss is one of our generation’s best selling artists, and while she has been a bit quiet of late, it seems she’s finally ready to reclaim her musical crown.

By @AnnaNathanson 

Hey it’s Anna, resident RH blogger. Last week I went down to see StooShe at the Royal Albert Hall, where they shared the bill with the likes of Pixie Lott, JLS and Leona Lewis for the Rays of Sunshine concert. As always they sparkled on the night, and it’s hard to believe that just over three months ago after interviewing them for the Independent, I was watching them at a humble student night in Brighton, and now here they were playing one of the best loved venues in the UK. It’s testament to their talent, spirit and hard work. If you haven’t had a chance to see them yet, you definitely should, in fact they are performing live TONIGHT so take a look at their website for more info. And as if you needed any further convincing, here’s a video they shot recently performing an acappela version of their stunning new single Black Heart, out June 17th.

Words: @AnnaNathanson

Check this amazing track by unsigned U.S artist Tori Kelly, who got her first ever radio play this week from the one and only Ronnie Herel with this song. Some listeners may remember her from American Idol a few years back; when one of the other judges said she had a good voice, Simon Cowell responded: “I don’t think so at all. I thought your voice was almost annoying”.

Why don’t you judge for yourselves and don’t forget to check out some of her other stuff, including the song “Dear No-One” and her beautiful cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”, which has racked up over 2 million views on Youtube since it went online a few months back.

We predict there’ll be big things in store for this young lady!

Anna x

Words and Video by Anna Nathanson

This week it’s been all about Beyonce and no wonder after that incredible Glastonbury performance on Sunday night. I was honoured to be invited down to her secret gig to celebrate the launch of new album ‘4’, after being blown away by her spectacular televised Glasto set the night before. It really cemented her place as one of the biggest music icons on the planet, and seeing her do Destiny’s Child songs in the mix was really emotional when you think that when they came out over 10 years ago, who would have imagined that one day we’d be hearing them at one of the world’s most notorious rock festivals?

This all coincided with the release of her brand new chart topping album, which I got to hear in full the week before at her exclusive playback at the swanky Swarovski Lounge in the heart of London’s West End. The album, which she describes as her best work to date, signifies a more mature sound for the diva, featuring lots of ballads and only one collaboration, with Andre 3000 on stand out track ‘Party’. Other highlights for me are ‘1+1’ and ‘End of Time’, both of which she performed at this once-in-a-lifetime gig.

An artist normally used to playing Arena-sized venues, it was a truly rare thing to see Beyonce perform up close to such a small crowd at the modestly sized Shepherd’s Bush Empire in West London. The VIP balcony area upstairs boasted a bar serving Beyonce-inspired cocktails and played host to stars such as Adele, Tinie Tempah, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessie J, husband Jay-Z and even mum Tina. The concert was a dazzling mix of high-energy dance routines and vocal workouts, pulled off by Bey with effortless ease. Hits both old and new were included, as well as renditions of ‘Sex on Fire’ and personal highlight ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Mirroring her closing song at Glasto, Beyonce finished the show by actually stepping down into the crowd for last track ‘Halo’, handing the mic to audience members to sing lines from the ballad. And then, as quickly as she’d appeared, she was gone. The crowd slowly filtered out in awe, having just witnessed a night of epic proportions from a truly timeless artist that we’re unlikely to see perform at such close proximity anytime soon.


Seven-time Grammy nominee and Missy Elliott protégé Jazmine Sullivan has worked with the likes of Ne-Yo and Mary J Blige, who recently invited her on tour. Anna Nathanson caught up with the 23-year-old Philadelphia native as she releases her latest album Love Me Back.


How would you describe your image?

I’m not the type of women who shows off my body; I’m a vocalist and I’m a writer, and I think people see that more so than they see anything else. That’s just who I am. I put my emotions in my music and I want people to relate to that.

Missy Elliott is your mentor, what’s your relationship like with her?

She’s like a big sister to me; I’ve known her since I was about 13. I sang to her then and when I was 16 I got signed to Jive Records. She’s definitely someone I look up to, as one of the only female producers out; she’s very inspiring to me. When I first met her, out of all the people I sang for, she was one of the most receptive; she really loved my voice, and she was very excited about me. And when I got signed she was the person they called and she really took a hold of the project. It was amazing for such a huge star to see something in me that was special.

To what extent is Missy involved in your career and day-to-day life?

We don’t hang out as much as we used to but I know that if I need any advice I can call her. I know that when we work together we’ll both come up with something good as we both have a common goal in terms of putting great music out. Missy can come out whenever she wants; she always does something different.


What was it like touring with Mary J Blige?

It was wonderful to get the opportunity to open up for her, and to share the stage with an icon and somebody who I personally look up to. I hope we do it again.


Do you think that Mary sees a bit of herself in you when she was your age?

Definitely. One thing that we share is the passion and emotion that we put into our music. I remember when I was younger and I saw her live and one thing that impressed me was how open and honest she was on stage. I admired her for being able to let go and be that honest; I took that and wanted to incorporate that into what I do.

To what degree have you experienced the fame that comes with being a performer?

So far it hasn’t been as bad as someone like Beyonce would have it, I haven’t gotten to that status yet! I’m getting recognised a lot more than I used to, but it also depends on my look that day.


What was it like having your song Bust Your Windows featured in the hit TV show Glee?

That was incredible! I think it was one of the first songs that they did. My friend sent it to me on Youtube and I hadn’t really heard of the program, but if I’d known then that it would be such a huge show, I probably would have been way more excited! It was an honour that they picked my song to perform, and those kids can sing! Hopefully I can be on it one day.


Your album is called Love Me Back and you recently explained that you put so much into the industry and that you just want the industry and the fans to love you back. With the emphasis on pop and dance records in the charts at the moment, is this something that you have found to be a challenge?

I feel that the music that I do is somewhat of a lost art and it’s not as popular as dance or pop music and people are not as interested in it. But it’s something that I believe in and I feel that it’s needed so that’s why I do it and I will keep doing it until everybody hears it and gets it.


Why do you think that the music you make is not as commercially successful as what’s in the charts?


I think that there’s a time for everything. There was a time when Soul music was the only music people listened to and there was a time when pop and then rap music was the only thing people listened to; everything has a time and one day people will want to hear more R&B, more soulful music.


How do you see the future?

In a few years time I want to have performed all around the world, in sold out stadiums, and have won one or two Grammies.

Jazmine Sullivan’s new album Love Me Back is out this week. Stay up to date with her on Twitter:


Words: Anna Nathanson


By Anna Nathanson

I recently had the pleasure of seeing star in the making Jessie J twice in the space of a week, first at Notting Hill venue YoYo’s where she performed songs from her forthcoming album and then a longer set with a full band at Hoxton Bar & Grill.

Both shows were roadblocks with massive queues outside as fans waited to see the starlet in action, with many missing out due to the sheer number of people vying to get in.

After gaining notoriety on Youtube, the 22-year-old BRIT School graduate signed to Island Records and has already written for the likes of Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown and Christina Aguilera, as well as penning a US Number 1 smash, Party In The USA for Miley Cyrus.

Now she is set to become a star in her own right and judging by these early live performances, it won’t be long before she is playing much bigger venues. It was clear that she already has a dedicated fan base, with people knowing every word to many of the tracks she sang.

She appeared comfortable and entertaining on stage, joking with the crowd and shouting out 1Xtra, who recently playlisted her debut single Do It Like A Dude, an infectious hooky track which she originally wrote for Rihanna. Huge ballads such as Big White Room, Who You Are and Casualty of Love showed off her voice to full effect, and along with more uptempo numbers such as Stand Up and Price Tag, it was clear that Jessie J’s material matched her powerful vocals, adding up to a surefire recipe for the next big thing in British music.

By Anna Nathanson

Last year saw British R&B singer Jay Sean make history by becoming the most successful UK male Urban artist in US chart history. Now signed to Cash Money, Anna Nathanson caught up with the star as he prepares to release his latest album Freeze Time.

The Pop/Dance/R&B sound has really taken off, why do you think that is?

I just think it’s time; music changes, that’s just the evolution of it. We call Michael Jackson the King of Pop, yet it’s interesting that he’s inspired so many Soul singers and so many artists from all genres. It’s just what popular music has become. A couple of years ago it was all about Rock music, and that was Pop music. And now Dance meets R&B has become Pop music. It’s just timely that the songs I happen to release are during the time when it’s really kicking off.

Have you ever felt any pressure to do that sound?

I think I was very much at the forefront of it, releasing Down and Do You Remember. When I came to America there was a gap in the market, there were no male solo artists doing that at that time and the lane was clear. Chris Brown wasn’t there, Ne-Yo was taking some time off and so was Usher at the time. So I thought “Wow, maybe I can do this!” I was very fortunate to get in there at the right time.

What will your new album sound like?

It’s a Pop/R&B album, and there will be extremes of the genres on there as well. You have 2012, which is perhaps the poppiest song I’ve ever done, but then the song I recorded a video to yesterday is very urban; it’s a real R&B club record with Birdman on it. The album highlights the two musical genres that I do best and somewhere in the middle you’ll get a nice blend of the two.

Is America ready for Grime?

I think certain parts of America might be ready for it. I’ve already heard some Grime playing in various boutique shops in New York. In order for it to really break, it has to become a popular genre of music on a mass level. Coming to America has shown me that they need to be able to relate to your music. Not only the cool people in New York or the trendies in LA, it needs to go across the whole of America, you need to pick a random household in Wisconsin and see if they play Grime music on the radio, and that takes a while I think.

Why do you think you’ve connected so well in America?

You really need to think about the music you’re putting out there, to pull people in, to introduce them to you. And I consciously put out music that would be a good introduction to a new artist. When people hear a song on the radio in America, it’s very different to the UK; they play it for months. Down is still playing a year and a half later on radio. I’m hearing the same songs play every hour in every State in America. They’re songs that people just enjoy singing along to, and that’s how I managed to do what I did over here.

Who’s next up in terms of UK talent crossing over to America?

I’ve heard that N-Dubz are being signed here to L.A Reid, which I’m very happy about because I love those guys. I did a song called I Still Love You with Tinie way before we both blew up, and I’m so happy that we’re both doing well now because we all supported each other from way back. Hard work and self-belief pays off. I think he’s got some skills that could work in America, as his tone and his style are very universal. When I get back to the UK I’m going to hit up Giggs and Example to see if I can do anything with them.

You’re part of Cash Money, is it like being in a close-knit family?

It would be if we had the time. If you’re as big as Drake or Nicki Minaj, you don’t stay in the same place for longer than a day. Our diaries are just so busy, I saw Nicki just once since doing the video for 2012. We all talk on the phone, but it’s just so difficult to see each other.

Have you visited Lil Wayne in prison?

No, I haven’t you know. I really want to figure out a way to go and see him. Cash Money have a crazy entourage, they have about 100 guys rolling with them. And obviously a lot of people want to go and see Wayne and they’re all family and his best friends. So I haven’t really had a chance to go but I’d really like to.


What’s been your maddest encounter with a celeb?

Beyonce told me that she really enjoys my music and said that she has the CD at home!

You were privately educated and got straight As. How important is it to have a back up plan and what was yours?

I wanted to be a doctor and got into medical school. But I never let go of my dream of making it in the music industry. Getting an education is important as it helps you get on in the world. You have to be knowledgeable, regardless of the job you get into.

By Anna Nathanson

Friday night saw Forrest Gate’s finest Plan B perform the first of his sell out London dates at Brixton Academy. With a number one album to his name and one of the most popular songs of the year, 2010 has seen the angst-ridden MC transform into a household name. Long gone are the days when he sat casually dressed in jeans and a T-Shirt, spitting watertight lyrics while strumming a guitar on stage.

The newly reinvented Plan B emerged in a suit and tie, and against the dark, atmospheric background and supported by his amazing band, proceeded to perform tracks from his Motownesque album The Defamation of Strickland Banks. The extent to which he connects with the audience was clear; from the very first track everyone sang along, demonstrating how much this album has cut through.

The performances of the singles were particular highlights, especially the catchy She Said, and he performed just one track from his previous album, the controversial Charmaine. Showing that he has retained his Hip Hop roots, Plan B started the show by beatboxing, and ended it by singing classic songs such as Ain’t No Sunshine and Kiss From A Rose over Dubstep beats.

In an interview with him some three or four years ago, he told me that what many people don’t realise about him is his ability to write pop music. I remember going to a few of his shows back then, and while his sound has completely changed, his ability to put on a captivating show has not.

Plan B has successfully managed to gain enormous mainstream appeal whilst remaining a core act within urban music, and the clever and unexpected way that he has switched his style just goes to further show his versatility as an artist.

Words by Anna Nathanson / Photo by Jordan Saflor


By Anna Nathanson

Rihanna’s in town and so she hosted an exclusive industry shindig at the plush Sketch venue in the heart of central London yesterday evening. Sitting on a red armchair surrounded by candles and petals, she took the audience through a selection of what she promised were the best tracks from her forthcoming album Loud.

“This track had such a big vocal so I wanted to make sure I could pull it off. It was a challenge but I really enjoyed it” she said of current radio record Only Girl.

Next to be played was what is set to be her second single from the album, an R&B number entitled What’s My Name, describing it as a “sassy, flirtatious, fun record”. With Stargate being behind three of the five tracks showcased, Rihanna also enlisted the help of Drake and of course organised the obligatory Nicki Minaj feature which has become pretty much standard these days.

The statuesque Bajan beauty looked stunning in towering stilettos and a stylish flowery outfit, and as each track played she bopped her head to the beat. The venue and mood of the night felt pretty glamorous, with white furniture, candle lit tables and canapés and cocktails being served on trays. The futuristic bathroom contained individual white pods instead of cubicles and each pod came with it’s own sonic theme, from airport sound effects to people laughing and clapping.

The songs we heard seemed to be split between big, dancey, thumping numbers and more traditional R&B tunes, and there was of course a massive ballad which has hit stamped all over it, called California King Bed. “When I first heard it I thought it was a great song and couldn’t wait to record it” said the superstar.

As each track played, images of clouds and trees were projected on all walls to accompany the music. “The record sounds best when you listen to it out loud” Rihanna advised, explaining that she hates having to skip past songs. “I wanted to make an album where you could just press play.”