From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Joss Stone

Written by Wyclef Jean, Joss Stone, Samuel Michel, Alonzo Stevenson, Lauryn N. Hill, Tony Reyes
Recorded by Joss Stone featuring Lauryn Hill

This is actually my favorite song. It’s my love letter to music as if it were a boyfriend. I’m in love with my music and there’s nothing else.

Nothing in this world got me like you do baby

I’d give up my soul if I couldn’t sing with you daily

The track is almost completely a replica of the Fugees’ “The Mask.” I loved the track as soon as I heard it but I knew that I couldn’t write a song about “nothing.” I was in Barbados and thought about what the concept should be for a week. Usually it only takes me one to three hours to write lyrics to a song. Once I got the idea and started to write, it took no time at all. “Novel” helped me. The Fugees brought music to my life and I wanted to show my respect and admiration for them. Clearly inspired by their song, and therefore the track to “Music,” is the verse:

So bring me back to the day when tape decks press play

DJ drop the needle ’til the record just break

You are my sunlight, you are the one mic

That sound so sweet because the beat just inspires me.

Unlike a boyfriend, music will never hurt you. If you don’t like a track, you can skip over it. You can’t do that with a man, you have to deal with the situation.

Songs are usually inspired by everyday life. My friend Betty Wright, a songwriter and amazing soul singer, told me that she heard that the song “Call Me” was written because there was a couple parting — one was walking away and the other was in the car leaving. One said, “Call me, call me” and they told each other “I love you.” It’s as simple as that.

The songs already exist. You just have to be open enough to let them come. It’s really not about you.

“Music” was missing a bridge and there was nothing I could add. It needed to be filled in by a poet, a rapper. The person I thought of was, of course, Lauryn Hill. When I suggested her, everyone laughed at me. No one thought that I would get someone of her stature to be featured on the record. I believed that Lauryn loves music as much as I do and might be interested. She’s given so much light to people. Luckily, she didn’t disappoint me. It took me awhile to find a direct route to her and I finally got her mom’s number and called her. She was so sweet. I called her every two days, sometimes daily, for two months. I apologized but told her I wouldn’t quit until I got a final yes or no from Lauryn. She said that Lauryn was busy and that she was interested. I prayed on it a lot and remained confident. Time went by and by then I was in the studio recording. Everyone was still laughing at the idea that Lauryn would do this. I didn’t want to hear negativity. One comment was, “You have more of a chance of getting the Pope.” It only made me push harder. In the end, her mom gave me her manager’s number and I got her to do it. She even did two different versions. I think she liked the concept.

Lauryn Hill and Melissa Etheridge are my favorite lyricists. Melissa has an amazing way with words. Lauryn and Aretha Franklin are my favorite vocalists. If I were stranded on an island, I could listen just to them for a year. There are two things I’ve always wanted to do — sing with Lauryn Hill and sing with Aretha Franklin. I can tick one off now. I’m very grateful. It was a big moment for me.

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners