Meet Jessie Ware, south London’s answer to Sade. The singer-songwriter began her music career as a back-up singer for Jack Peñate and by providing her vocals for SBTRKT. Now she has stepped into the limelight and is taking centre stage. Her debut album Devotion reflects Ware’s love for old school; her romantic sound is heavily inspired by an amalgamation of classic R&B and Hip Hop. She channels early Teena Marie and Whitney Houston on the melodic Running, and samples Big Pun’s The Dream Shatterer on 110%. Despite the overt American influence on her music Ware’s sound is quintessentially British, her vocals are refreshingly understated.
Being a singer was not part of the 27 year olds original plan for her life. In spite of Ware attending the pro-arts Alleyn’s school in south London with Florence Welch, and starring in an array of school musicals, lack of confidence quelled her pursuit of becoming a singer as a career. She studied English Literature at Sussex University, Brighton. Ware was set to become a journalist, following in the footsteps of her father Panorama’s John Ware.
However, the confidence boost she needed came when school friend Jack Peñate asked her to sing backing vocals on Tonight’s Today for him at Zane Lowe’s Maida Vale session. Shortly after that Ware began toying with the possibility of becoming a singer, she sent the Maida Vale session video to Man Like Me and briefly worked with them. Following this she toured the US with Peñate, teamed up with SBTRKT on the underground hit Nervous, joined forces with Sampha on Valentine, and collaborated with Joker on the critically acclaimed The Vision.
Ware finally went solo last November; her first single Strangest Feeling is a subtle nod to her post-dubstep past. Her next single Wildest Moments really showcases her dynamism; the ethereal sound echoes Beyoncé’s Halo, while the drums are reminiscent of Coldplay’s classic In My Place.
Labelled as ‘one to watch’ in 2012 by the Guardian and i-D Magazine, her second headline gig in August has already sold out - validating the label. However, Ware is set to frequent festivals all over the UK this summer so there is still opportunity to see this rising star live.
Devotion is out August 20th