Back in the summer of 2005 Teddy Jamieson ended up in bed with the then teenage Joss Stone (the things you have to do for The Herald Magazine). As Joss Stone is revealed as the winner of ITV's The Masked Singer, we revisit the interview here.

JOSS Stone, it may surprise you to know, doesn't exist. Since the teenage singer has been seen just about everywhere in the last couple of weeks – on the telly duetting with James Brown on Jonathan Ross's chat show or appearing in front of millions (or is it billions) at Live8 – this information may seem a little, well, curious.

But that's what she tells me. At least some of the time, she insists, she is not Joss Stone.

There is an explanation. What she means is that Joss Stone the singer – the new Aretha, Dusty or Janis (delete according to your musical preference) – is not the same person as Joss Stoker, the English rose discovered six years ago on a TV talent show; a 12-year-old child with the voice of a middle-aged black woman who has, you know, suffered in life.

Joss Stone, it seems, only appears when Joss Stoker, a slightly shy, full-on giggly teenager according to all previous interviews, takes her shoes off, walks onto a stage and picks up a microphone. Joss Stone is the confident one, the one who could stand up and sing in front of 80,000 at Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago, who did her bit to save the world at Live8 last week and who will perform in front of the massed hordes of T in the Park today.

So presumably since there is no microphone in sight that means the 18-year-old I'm meeting today is Joss Stoker, the Diana Prince to Stone's Wonder Woman? It's a notion that lasts all of a few seconds into our meeting in a Soho hotel. Thursday morning has just about burned away and a sweltering afternoon is commencing when Stone/Stoker drifts into the bedroom of her high-end hotel suite. All bared arms and midriff, she drapes herself all over me for a hug and an air kiss, tells me she likes my accent, jumps into bed and then invites me to join her. In the circumstances I'm not sure "slightly shy" quite covers such behaviour.

Still, it would be ungentlemanly to refuse, wouldn't it, so I take off my shoes and join her.

Unfortunately I don't think I can claim my natural animal magnetism is the reason I end up in bed with Joss Stone (although I like to think it played a part). More likely she's lying down because she doesn't feel that great. Late night. A few too many cocktails. Hopefully it was worth it.

"No, " she groans, sounding miserable while looking great as she snuggles down under the covers while I perch myself above them (you didn't think . . . )

In many ways the merging of Joss Stone and Joss Stoker seems inevitable. If you are 18, look like a natural cover girl and have a pound or two in the bank (or rather £5m if reports are to be believed) then it's not as if you should be lacking in self-esteem. And speak to Stone – let's stick with her stage name for the time being – for any length of time, and with a sore head or not, it's quickly apparent that she's not been short-changed when it comes to confidence. If anything, she's pretty solvent in that particular currency.

Ask her what she's learnt about herself since she was whisked off to New York at the age of 14 by American record company executive Steve Greenberg for an audition that led directly to her first album and she says: "I already knew I was a strong girl, but I didn't realise how important that would be, because I'd been brought up that way. So I really just stayed with it and I stayed loyal to people that I love. I'm very strong and very moral and it's tough sometimes. But because of the way I've been brought up I stick with it."

By strong she means that even though she's just a teenager she'll not be told what to do.

"Oh no, I'm very opinionated. Everyone knows that. They don't like to tell me what to do because I just don't do it. People suggest. If they tell me you have to do this I'm like really?' Or go and do the opposite."

As for the morality, she talks about the magazine that wanted her to be "half-naked" on the front cover. "I'm like yeah it's a front cover but I just don't want to do it. Yeah, I will happily be on your front cover, but I want to wear some clothes.' They never called me back. I'm like okay, cool.' I'm so proud of myself that I did that because so many girls say yes, of course' and that's just because of pressure, pressure, pressure. But because of the way my mum and dad brought me up to be I just don't care."

She is not a model, she says. It's not anybody's job to say what she wears. "You can pressurise me as much as you like. I don't mind. I don't go naked. I just want to create my own self. I won't let other people do it. I'm very adamant about who I am."

That might be easy to say when you've got two gold albums under your belt and a contract to be the face of Gap jeans.

Maybe if her success hadn't been so instantaneous, I suggest, it would have been less easy to stick to first principles. "No, not with me. I'd rather not do it than be somebody else. That would kill me."

She is, it's clear, her parents' daughter. It was her father Richard, a fruit preserver by trade, who once told her that no-one could make her do anything. "You basically make the decision to do it yourself, " she recalls. "They can pressurise you to do something but can't physically make you do it."

It's a notion she's taken to heart. Indeed, the sentiment might have had something to do with her lack of appetite for school when she was younger. "Yeah, my dad definitely had a part in my bad schooling. I don't think he even realises this. He was always saying you've got to go to school' but then at school I'd always be by the way, my dad said to me I don't have to do sh**.'"

Stone "hated" school and not just due to her dyslexia. "It was partly that, but because I don't come across like I'm really stupid . . . I can hold a conversation. I can talk like nothing else . . . I guess teachers thought I wasn't trying and deliberately forgot the shit. But I didn't mean to do it. The way they taught didn't work, so that resulted in huge arguments with people and I don't like to be told what to do. I'm very independent. I guess I was too old for my age.

"My sister (Stone is one of four children) is great at school, so academic. I'm just a little devil on her shoulder. She comes home and she's like I put my hair up because no-one's allowed to wear it like that' and I'm like Lucy, you do whatever the hell you want. What can they do? No-one's going to kill you. As soon as I worked out that detention really wasn't that bad it was over for me."

If her father shaped her attitude it was her mother, Wendy, who shaped her musical tastes (and who even served as her manager in her first steps in the big, bad world of music).

Wendy was a soul fan, while Richard's taste stretched to blues and reggae, and a bit of punk. Was there ever a time she fancied singing London Calling? "No, but my dad loves that." She did like Devo, but singing a cover version of Whip It was never really an option. Soul got its hooks in early. At three she was listening to Anita Baker, at five she'd moved on to Whitney and by seven she'd discovered Aretha.

Stone was 12 when she sent in an audition tape to the BBC talent show Star for a Night, subsequently wowing Barbara Windsor, Sonia from EastEnders and an Atomic Kitten. It's hard to imagine a girl that age could have any genuine notions of what she would want to do with her life, but Stone says she fancied being a midwife or maybe a vet, "but then I realised that meant seven years at school. I couldn't do that so I decided to be a singer."

The amazing thing is that for Stone it turned out to be as easy as that statement suggests. It helps when you are born with a voice that sounds like chocolate melting over gravel. Yet when The Soul Sessions – the covers album she worked on with veteran Miami soul singer Betty Wright – was first released two years ago and people got over that voice, Stone's blondeness and freshness were soon noted. Some critics suggested she was neither old enough nor, in so many words, black enough to be a true soul singer.

Even overlooking pop music's tedious hangup with authenticity (and the fact that her voice is not the result of studio trickery), I'm not totally sure that's true. The colour question is obviously non-negotiable, but she's always remarked "who says soul has only one colour?" She could always point to the people who have been willing to work with her – the likes of Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Chic's Nile Rogers and Angie Stone have all endorsed the teenager in one way or the other and presumably they recognise soul when they hear it.

More pertinently, she says, she knows what pain is like. The subject comes up when we're playing a word association game. She's already answered a few. I've just asked her what's the first thing that comes into her head if I say soul.

She answers straightaway: "Music." For love she offers happiness. And then I say heartbreak. She gives me another one-word answer, but this time it's a word with a little more resonance. "Wisdom, " she says. She's had her heart broken then? "Yeah, but you learn from it."What age was she? "Fifteen, 16."

Actually, Stone had her first boyfriend when she was 10. "For about a week" she says. Well, there probably wasn't much else to do in Devon. Despite reports to the contrary she still lives there, deep in the English countryside. Out in the wilds, she says. There are only three neighbours within a mile of the family house. Although she spends a lot of time in Los Angeles she doesn't live there. She doesn't even like it. "I like California, but Hollywood I don't particularly like. Outside, places like Encino and stuff are really lovely. Everyone's really nice."

Encino, a rather natty upmarket suburb of the city of Angels, is where her boyfriend lives. Her boyfriend in this case being Beau Dozier, son of Lamont Dozier, one-third of the legendary Motown songwriting team Holland- Dozier-Holland who wrote such classics as Stop! In the Name of Love and Nowhere to Run. Dozier is seven years older than Stone, another fact that has caused a few raised eyebrows in the tabloids (although noone seemed too bothered that her last boyfriend, a Devon lad, was 22 when she was still 16). The Mail on Sunday recently ran a scare story suggesting the age gap was threatening her reported £1m contract with Gap, and that her parents were worried about the new relationship. Apparently they feared she was now running with "a fast set".

"A fast set?" Stone repeats when I read the story out to her. Whether she understands the phrase or not, she understands its innuendo and is quick to disparage it. "My mum and dad love Beau. They love him. They don't care. The Mail . . . funny b******s, aren't they? So weird."

Okay, let's clear up another press story. True or false: she fired her mum. "Fired my mum?" she repeats, half amused, half disbelieving. "I never hired my mum. She was my mum and she managed me for a little second, but at the end of the day at some point you can't take your mum to work with you. That's pretty much all it is. I didn't fire her. She just decided, all right Joss we need to get you a real manager now.' She helped me find a new manager."

Her relationship with Dozier junior is, by necessity, a long- distance romance. Predictably, they bonded over music. "He's very passionate about music. He's just lovely, " she says, sounding smitten, though not overly keen to talk about him.

Dozier worked on Stone's follow-up to The Soul Sessions. Mind, Body and Soul, was released last September and quickly raked up a spot in the Billboard top 20, boosting that impressive bank balance. Not that the money is important to her, she says. "Well I never needed money. I don't have a house. When I buy a house and when I need the money for the mortgage then I'll need it, but right now I don't and I never have."

Although she failed her driving test in May she has treated herself to a car, a Lexus. That's part of your Star Wars name, I tell her. She looks blank. Combine the name of your first car and any medication you are currently taking. She can't think of any medication straight off. What's her porn star name then?

"What?" You know, the name of your first pet and your mum's maiden name. "Buster Skillin." That's not very porn star, she admits.

"It sounds more like a dog's name."

For most of the last year she's been promoting her latest album. She's not even started thinking about her next record. Mind, Body and Soul continued the first album's retro vibe, albeit with new songs. If anything, I'd say she has been a little too respectful of her soulful predecessors. So far Stone's output has been deliberately old school. Has she ever thought of phoning, say Timbaland or the Neptunes and asking for a rather more modernist sheen to her music? "No, but I love that kind of stuff.

I really love it. I'm not going to put myself in a pigeonhole. I chop and change as much as I want to really. If I want to do that I will."

There she is again. Out to get her own way.

I try one last tilt at our word association game.

What comes to mind if I say "Joss Stone"? She looks up from under her hair and the covers and says "confused". For the first time today I don't believe her. If she's confused it's a temporary, alcohol-induced state of affairs. If there is one thing that's clear if you meet Joss Stone, it's that she knows her own mind.

Taken from The Herald Magazine, July 9, 2005