All the best F-words describe Jessie Ware: fearless, fun and fabulous. From the moment the English singer/songwriter and broadcaster steps into the Magistrate’s Suite with her hand out, ready to greet every member of the production team – the 8 am London gloom feels less daunting. Lining the wall is a rail of freshly organized leather trenches from Tod’s, ruffled red gowns by Lanvin, golden feathery satins by Huishan Zhang and more. The gold-rimmed coffee table exhibits an assortment of luxury jewelry (and of course pearls) – perfect for the singer’s flair. And, boy is there flair to Jessie Ware.
Dropping comfortably onto the mustard-yellow plush sofa, we dive directly into a conversation against faint murmurs in the background – her manager managing and the other members of the production prepping. But first, coffee. A skinny cappuccino for Ware in her NoMad Hotel’s fluffy white robe. “You’ve got good eyelids, haven’t you?” An eccentric, yet flattering opening from Ware.
Words by Sandy Aziz.
Production Assistants, Dani Singam and Boram Lee.
Jessie appear courtesy of Dawbell PR. Shot at the NoMad Hotel.
A brief discussion on heritage shifts into a wider one about the past and the present. Born and raised in London, Jessie released her debut album in 2012, Devotion, with its lead single, ‘Running’ – which now 11 years old and a song she claims is, “vocally, the beginning,” of her latest music and one that she is still “really proud of.”
As we delve into the past, Ware divulges, “I used to think that I wanted to be an ice skater… I’m not even good at ice skating.” She laughs, continuing, “I am not fearless either, I just loved the idea.” She then follows up with a tale about a trip to Legoland with her son that included riding a pirate ship: “Never felt so sick in my life.” Surprisingly, Ware admits that if she wasn’t a singer, she would likely have become her manager’s receptionist because she loved having an office job. “I liked the camaraderie, the gossip, the regularity of knowing what you are going to eat everyday – the routine. I crave routine.” Which is totally fair and gets a laugh as we concede that this may be the first time someone’s answered this question so frankly.
She goes on to elaborate, “[Routine] feels quite grounding – I love the idea of having your go-to coffee shop where they know your order, is that boring?” We assure her there is nothing boring about her and, in fact, it is totally relatable. This realness is a timely reminder that though fame separates us, we are all human. Ware does tell us that when it comes to music, she does have a strict routine. “It is about compromise, but a lot of the producers I work with have families, so it works,” she declares. “When I have two weeks booked in for studio time, it is sort of like having office hours.”
But back to fearlessness for a moment. Despite what she says, Ware actually is fearless and her career is proof. Not only would she “try her hand at many different things”, but the sophisti-pop sensation’s resume is already larger-than-life including things such as: author, broadcaster, and even a MasterChef judge. For fun, she has a successful podcast with her mum called Table Manners. “We don’t do much preparation because we have an anchor set of questions we ask each guest. The whole point of the conversation is that you are meeting someone to have dinner with them so that they can go off-piste – or in any direction,” she expounds. By the way, Ware shares she would love to have Lady Gaga as a dinner guest on the podcast. It’s fitting – fabulous in the company of fabulous.
Fabulous… Ware is the epitome of it. Exhibit A: the conversation pauses so she can properly greet her agent as he enters the small suite. “Hi babe, you alright? You’ve got that post-gym glow, babes. You look good!” Even being in high demand, Ware always puts in the effort and does everything with her own flair. Another great example? She describes her music style as, “Musical theatre, disco soul, and a bit of flirtation.” Of course we couldn’t agree more, and the conversation slips into the musical journey she’s taken us on as listeners and that she’s travelled through as the narrator. “Five albums ago, I had my debut, and I am in a completely different place [now]. I'm more confident, I know more about myself and the industry, and I'm enjoying it more.” What we all want to hear the artist confess as avid listeners. She chuckles, reminiscing about this not always being the case. “I'm having a really great time right now, and I kind of wish that I tried to enjoy it more at the beginning… I think previously it felt so daunting, and I just put my head down and tried to make the best music that I could possibly make.”
But we can’t skip the most notorious guest on set: social media. “I am still understanding TikTok,” she confesses candidly. Aren’t we all? “I can’t complain about social media because it’s allowed people to get to know me better and I thank it for that. I do find it slightly encompassing and it is getting more and more so.” A refreshing sentiment from her that’s echoed in her latest dance single’s lyrics “Let it go, let me dance” – she is letting go of resisting social media and is now just joining the dancefloor. “It almost counts as a different form of promotion and press and it is creative and you have control over it – which is redeeming.”
Figuratively travelling to the dancefloor (from literally dancing on set), the conversation is ripe for discussing Ware’s latest music. And her fifth album That! Feels Good! feels like it comes at the perfect time. In the current socio-political climate, it feels like amidst the increase of self-awareness and the desire for more self-love, we all crave some release. Elaborating on the album’s title and its contents, Ware says, “It is dance music. I want people to feel good with this record because I am having a really good time.” We nod in acknowledgement of the earlier conversation about her journey as an artist and how different albums represent different aspects in her life. This album is “no frills” she notes, “It is not deep and meaningful, and I didn’t need it to be.” A true testament to living in the present. Notably, Ware also highlights her new song “Hello Love” which she says is very her and it carries a “new level of groove.”
And what’s next for the singer? “Touring – that's my kind of main ambition – just to be able to perform to people, I think it is thrilling,” she shares with conviction. And if you haven’t been following, her last tour was with the “formidable” Harry Styles. “And I think he's just going to keep on getting better. To be honest, I think he's only just begun,” says Ware in admiration for Styles, his entire crew and even his fans for their generosity. They say your vibe attracts your tribe. From ‘Wildest Moments’ all the way to ‘Pearls’ – Jessie Ware has us feeling fearless, fun and fabulous. It also feels like just the beginning and that feels good!
You can find Jessie Ware's piece inside the Spring Summer 2023 Issue 10
Purchase your copy here.