“I can literally smell Christmas is coming”: Joss Stone Wishes All a ‘Merry Christmas, Love’ on Her Classic, Soulful Christmas Album

Joss Stone © Nolan Knight
Joss Stone © Nolan Knight
To celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year,” Atwood Magazine’s Mistletones features fresh holiday/wintertime tracks and exciting covers of beloved classics. December has a knack for bringing out some of the most poignant, tender, and celebratory music, and we want to highlight that excitement by showcasing new and alternative holiday greats! Spice up your holiday season with songs you can listen to now and cherish in the years to come.

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English artist Joss Stone gets merry and bright whilst talking to us about the making of her classic, soulful, first-ever Christmas album ‘Merry Christmas, Love,’ her personal relationship with the festive season, and what it was like to write and record her own original holiday songs!
Stream: ‘Merry Christmas, Love’ – Joss Stone




I can literally smell Christmas is coming. I love it! It’s so nostalgic, bringing back all sorts of magical memories.

Sleigh bells jingle and ring tingle tingle as delicate orchestral instruments draw near, strings glistening gently like a warm, welcoming beacon in the cold and frosty night.

Christmas is in the air – and how better to set the holiday mood, than through the softly spoken words of a familiar 19th Century poem, Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.
Merry Christmas, Love - Joss Stone
Merry Christmas, Love – Joss Stone

So begins Joss Stone’s Merry Christmas, Love, a winter wonderland of festive songs that celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in the best way possible. It’s a marvelous album of old and new Christmas classics: Breathtaking renditions of everything from “Let It Snow” to “Silent Night,” together with two new original, soon-to-be holiday staples – “If You Believe” and “Bring on Christmas Day” – make the world merry and bright as Joss Stone brings her soulful spirit and cinematic touch to sixteen Yuletide tracks.

Arriving nearly twenty years after Stone’s now-classic, multi-platinum debut album The Soul Sessions made her something of an overnight sensation, Merry Christmas, Love is a real dream come true for the English artist: “I have honestly wanted to make this record for years; I have just never found myself in a position where it was possible to do it in the way I dreamed of doing it until now,” she tells Atwood Magazine.

Come gather ’round, can you hear that magic sound?
The snowflakes are falling, the jingle bells calling
There’s a new world about to be found
You are the joy, every little girl and boy
Those faces are priceless, the sparkle of kindness
That’s why he won’t let you down
Santa’s got a sleigh together
He is on his way to you
He won’t make you wait forever
Just one night will do
If you believe, then you will hear the angels’ drum
If you believe, then you will see a reindeer run
If you believe… Do you believe?
– “If You Believe,” Joss Stone
Joss Stone © Nolan Knight
Joss Stone © Nolan Knight



Stone’s vision was at once bold and humble: To make these songs her own and pull from her own personal relationship with the season, all while staying true those qualities that make them “Christmas classics.” In that way, she has endeavored to deliver a timeless and authentic Christmas album that is beautifully and unapologetically Joss Stone.

“It was ambitious to do this, but it was such a joy to make my dream project come true,” she smiles.

“It was really a project that we all poured a lot of love and care into. I do hope that comes across while listening to it.”

Joss Stone spoke with Atwood Magazine about the process of making Merry Christmas, Love, her relationship with the holidays, and what it was like to write and record her own original holiday songs. Dive into our interview below, and get into the holiday spirit with the help of Merry Christmas, Love – a true classic in the making.

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:: stream/purchase Merry Christmas, Love here ::
:: connect with Joss Stone here ::



Joss Stone © Nolan Knight
Joss Stone © Nolan Knight

A CONVERSATION WITH JOSS STONE

Merry Christmas, Love - Joss Stone

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Atwood Magazine: What is your relationship with the holidays and the holiday season? What are some of your favorite holiday songs?

Joss Stone: I love this time of year. I wait for that moment when it’s just cold enough to take that first crisp breath of air as the leaves fall off the trees. I can literally smell Christmas is coming. I love it! It’s so nostalgic, bringing back all sorts of magical memories.

What inspired the album title Merry Christmas, Love?

Joss Stone: It’s something my dad always said to us. I can hear him saying it now. He would give us a present from under the tree, a big hug and kiss, and then he would say, “Merry Christmas, love.”

So that’s what I say to my babies now. It’s just a simple way of saying “I love you” at this time of year. Music is a gift made with love that we give to everyone who hears it, so it makes sense to give it with this sentiment.



Music is a gift made with love that we give to everyone who hears it, so it makes sense to give it with this sentiment.

What inspired you to record your own holiday songs, and how did you go about making this album your own?

Joss Stone: I have honestly wanted to make this record for years; I have just never found myself in a position where it was possible to do it in the way I dreamed of doing it until now.

I knew that recording these songs would be a challenge because they have been so loved for such a long time. It was extremely important to me to capture the beauty of the holiday feeling from my own perspective, pulling from my own personal relationship with this season, and at the same time trying to keep the classic elements unscathed. It was really a project that we all poured a lot of love and care into. I do hope that comes across while listening to it.

Joss Stone © Nolan Knight
Joss Stone © Nolan Knight



In particular, how did you go about making your two original songs?

Joss Stone: I had no intention of recording original songs, as I always had no interest as a listener. I just wanted to hear the oldies but goodies! But I was encouraged by the label to write, and in the end I agreed to try.

It was exciting and daunting to record two of my own songs to accompany the classics. The bar is so high. Of course there is a fear of failure when trying to pen something worthy of such a position. I have to say I’m glad I tried, ’cause I’ve ended up loving both of those songs. Hopefully they will bring people a lot of joy.



“If You Believe” and “Bring on Christmas Day” are both special songs, but approach the holiday from very different perspectives. How does each of these songs capture the holiday spirit or season, for you?

Joss Stone: “If You Believe” is a song I wrote for my children with a view to explaining to them what Christmas is all about. The magic and the wonder is all around if you let it be. With the story of The Polar Express in mind, my partner Cody introduced me to this movie just two years ago, believe it or not; the magic of the story is that, if you believe, then so shall it be.

“Bring on Christmas Day” is really for everyone that’s had enough of the year that has passed and just can’t wait to get to something good. If you’ve lived long enough you’ve probably had a rough Christmas Day or two at some point. I was thinking of those who won’t be home for Christmas this year, and how important it is to hold on to the ones we love so tightly, because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. This time of year reminds us of that. It’s a time to celebrate and let go.



With so many holiday songs out there, what do you feel these two songs bring to the table?

Joss Stone: Hopefully people will enjoy the feeling they get when listening to them. We all loved recording them, so all I can do is hope that translates and turns up in the listener’s ears. That’s what music is all about. The proof is in the pudding at the end of the day.

Of all the holiday classics on this record, which did you have the most fun recording, and which did you find the most challenging?

Joss Stone: The softer, more delicate ones were a challenge for me because it requires a very different approach vocally. Singing in such a careful way is not something I have practiced all that much. But it was nice to do it! “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Away in a Manger,” “Silent Night” – I hope I managed to give these songs the utmost respect they deserve.



Joss Stone © Nolan Knight
Joss Stone © Nolan Knight



What do you hope listeners take away from Merry Christmas, Love? What have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?

Joss Stone: I hope everyone that hears it keeps it on repeat throughout the season and then brings it out again next year and for many many more to come, just like I do with the classics I can’t get away from. I would love this album to become someone’s Holiday soundtrack. That would make me very happy. The aim is to give a good feeling always.

I learned a lot of new things whilst making Merry Christmas, Love. It was a challenge vocally in the calmest and precious way, and it was a wonderful experience musically. Watching such stunning musicians create was a joy, and working with Tim Lauer, who wrote all of the orchestration, was quite an amazing thing to be part of. I really hope we get the chance to do it again. I cross my fingers, say a prayer, and write Santa a note to send up the chimney, that should do it! We’ll be back in the studio in no time.

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:: stream/purchase Merry Christmas, Love here ::
:: connect with Joss Stone here ::

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