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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Faces of the week
Faces of the week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Joss Stone (main picture), with Jonathan King, The Prince of Wales, Terri Schiavo and Howard Flight.

Joss Stone

The 17-year-old British soul singer, Joss Stone, has rocketed into the list of the richest young musicians, earning an estimated 5m in the past year. But what next for the Devon schoolgirl music critics have dubbed the "white Aretha Franklin"?

To the uninitiated few, Joss Stone is no more and no less than an unremarkable young woman. Tousle-haired and pretty, like millions of teenage girls, she is unaffected and unassuming, not one naturally to stand out in a crowd.

But put her behind a microphone or on a stage and a staggering transformation takes place. Belying her diffidence and youth, Joss Stone's persona as a singer is sassy and coquettish, her voice rich and deep, knowing and world-weary, just like that of her own idol, the late, great, Janis Joplin.

Her rise to fame has been rapid, even by the "blink-and-you're-gone" standards of modern celebrity.

Josh Stone at the Grammys
Joss Stone cuts a dash at this year's Grammys
Though still not able to buy a drink in a pub, she has sold more than 2.5 million records worldwide, won two Brit awards and recently brought the house down at the Grammys with a blistering tribute to Joplin.

And, with friends like Tom Cruise and Mick Jagger backing her extraordinary talent, this may just be the beginning of a phenomenal career.

Joscelyn Eve Stoke was born in Dover in 1987, the third of four children of Wendy and Richard, an importer of dried fruit. But it was Ashill, on the Devon coast, which became her home village.

She was discovered at the age of 13, winning the BBC talent show, Junior Star For A Night. "I sang Aretha's Natural Woman and It's Not Right But It's OK by Whitney Houston," she recalls.

"I found out that I'd won some months later, when a camera crew showed up in Devon."

Although she returned to the obscurity of her comprehensive school, important people had taken note of Stone's talent, people like the American record company executive, Steve Greenberg.

Having signed her up aged just 15, Greenberg steered Joss Stone away from the bubblegum end of the music market, hiring the singer and producer Betty Wright to develop his charge as a serious soul singer in the classic American tradition.

Advertising deal

The US presents her with a potentially vast stage. Her debut album, a collection of cover versions entitled The Soul Sessions, originally intended as a sampler for her abilities, attracted both critical praise and huge sales, especially in the US.

Many listeners were shocked to realise the singer was so young, or even white, something which Stone has struggled to come to terms with.

"I don't think I have a black voice or a white voice, I have a voice. How can you put colour to a voice? Soul isn't black music, it's just music. It's soul."

But her critics can be spiteful about what they see as a mockery of African American music. One even commented: "The only colours for a soul singer other than black are Al Green, James Brown and Barry White."

Joss Stone singing
Joss Stone's singing exhibits a maturity far beyond her years
Whatever the case, Stone's second album, Mind, Body and Soul, featuring her own original material, has also stormed the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, entering the UK charts at No 1 and making her the youngest solo female artist to reach the summit.

An indication of her popularity in the US came in February, when she was nominated for three Grammys - although she failed to win any - and gave that memorable performance.

To top all this, the girl famous for her "bare feet and bangles" gypsy look is set to take over from Sex in the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker as the face of the Gap clothing empire.

With a contented love life - her boyfriend is Beau Dozier, son of legendary Motown songwriter, Lamont Dozier - and a summer which includes a headline appearance at the V Festival, Joss Stone has a right to be content.

Even so, she remains refreshingly down-to-earth.

"My whole life sounds mad and glamorous," she said recently. "This young girl from a little village goes to New York and LA and works with all these amazing people - but it isn't like that.

"It's been hard work, lots of days on a plane and never staying in one place for too long."

Released: Jonathan King
Jonathan King

Pop impresario Jonathan King emerged from his jail term for sex offences against teenage boys with his appetite for publicity still intact. The 60-year-old is hoping to appeal his conviction and said: "I've had a brilliant three-and-a-half years for crimes I did not commit." Outside the gates of Maidstone prison, his legal team handed out copies of his new CD, My Love, My Life, but stores say they won't stock it.

Row: Prince Charles
The Prince of Wales

Prince Charles appeared to commit a right royal blunder when he muttered an angry aside to sons William and Harry at a photo call on their Swiss skiing holiday. BBC Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell couldn't have imagined his inquiry about the Prince's "feelings" in the run-up to his wedding would have provoked Charles to refer to him, in a comment picked up by the microphones, as a "bloody awful man".

Terri Schiavo: Dies after legal struggle
Terri Schiavo

At a hospice in Florida, the life of Terri Schiavo finally came to an end after years of legal wrangling that began with a bitter argument between her husband and her parents and ended with the involvement of President Bush and the Supreme Court. Mrs Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected on 18 March, as her husband Michael claimed she would have wanted. Her parents had insisted that their daughter's Catholic faith demanded the right to life.

Howard Flight: Defiant
Howard Flight

For the first time in his political career, Conservative MP Howard Flight grabbed the national headlines, as he was sacked by Party leader Michael Howard after apparently suggesting the Tories were planning extra spending cuts. Mr Howard's tough response was meant to put a speedy end to the matter, but Mr Flight says his lawyers told him he can be grounded only by Tory members of his Arundel constituency.

Compiled by BBC News Profiles Unit's Andrew Walker


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