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Who 27-year-old singer and new bass romantic
Sounds like Bashmore and Sade wrapped in soulful silk ribbons
At one point Jessie Ware had her sights set on a career as a football journalist, cutting her reporting teeth interviewing rabbis for the Jewish Chronicle before setting off to uni. Three and a half years later, the 27-year-old South Londoner is on the other end of the interviews, set to put out her stunning debut album later this summer. She’s also been busy collaborating with Julio Bashmore, SBTRKT, Joker, Dave Okumu, Kid Harpoon and Slime, talent at the cutting edge of thoughtful, sophisticated and future-facing bass.
A chance encounter with old school friend Jack Peñate changed everything. He remembered Jessie’s impressive voice and asked her to sing backing vocals for him. This re-ignited her self-belief and eventually she toured with him across America. “I just didn’t know how I’d get into it,” she says frankly, the bewildering impossibility of getting into the business fresh in her memory, “so backing singing to someone else’s tunes was a perfect way to start.”
Signed in 2010, her work with SBTRKT, most notably on ‘Right Thing To Do’ and ‘Nervous’, had a lasting effect on Jessie’s approach to singing and song writing. “I learnt from SBTRKT to use my soft voice instead of just belting it out live. He even said ‘You sound like Aaliyah’!” These collaborations have also had an impact on her new album, ‘Devotion’, a true long-player that includes the rippling, layered dreamscapes of ‘Something Inside’, written with Slime, a 19-year-old producer Jessie “literally stalked on Facebook” before he came round for a cup of tea and they decided to work together. On the forlorn, heart murmuring ballad ‘Night Light’ and Sade-inspired single ‘Running’ (recently remixed, to Jessie’s old-skool garage delight, by Disclosure), Jessie has succeeded in weaving contemporary class and wistful nostalgia into a cocktail of something really quite timeless. We’ll drink to that.
Jessie Ware releases debut album ‘Devotion’ and new single ‘Wildest Moments’ on August 20 and August 13 respectively on PMR