Brit Joss Stone encourages US voters

Releases song 'Governmentalist'

NEW YORK -- Even though Joss Stone can't vote in the U.S. presidential election, the British soul singer is still encouraging others to go to the voting booth next week.

The 21-year-old is teaming up with HeadCount, a nonpartisan organization devoted to registering voters, to get more Americans get involved in Tuesday's election, which pits Republican John McCain against Democrat Barack Obama.

"America is a large, major power and it affects everywhere, so I can't just sit down and shut up," she said in an interview last week. "Just because I can't vote doesn't mean I can't say what I mean and what I feel. I just hope that people will vote. ... I'm not here to say Barack or McCain, I'm hear to say, 'Have a voice and use it.' It's so important."

The singer released a song, "Governmentalist," to help spread her message: "I feel like it needs to be heard now and if I'm going to speak I feel the loudest way to speak is through music."

Stone will perform the track at HeadCount's "Get Out the Vote Party" on Monday, the eve of the election, in New York. Other performers include Robert Randolph, ?uestlove of the Roots and Stanton Moore of Galactic.

Stone, who grew up in a small village in Devon, England, says she hopes people don't dismiss her message because she's British.

"I hope people don't get angry at me for saying what I am saying, but I could understand that they would," she said. "Because if someone came over to my country and said, 'You should vote, you should vote,' I'd be like, 'How about you go back to your country.'"

But Stone said too many people in America and abroad don't exercise their vote.

"It's so sad. And so how can you moan if you're not voting?" she asked.

"Governmentalist" was released as a free download on Stone's Web site as well as HeadCount's. Stone said that it will also appear on her upcoming CD, set to be released early next year. She recorded the album at her home.

"We wrote and recorded the album in a week, and it was awesome," she explains. "It was like the best week ever. ... It's very raw and it's how music should be made."
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