Jessica Lois “Jessie” Ware (born 15 October 1984) is an English singer-songwriter signed to PMR Records and best known for her 2012 single “Wildest Moments“. She has sung vocals for Joker and SBTRKT, in concert and on their recordings.
In their review of her debut album, Devotion, Clash called Ware “the missing link between Adele, SBTRKT and Sade” and hailed it as “a strong and accomplished debut”, while Idolator named it one of the best albums of 2012.
Ware was born in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in Hammersmith, London, and was raised in Clapham, South London. She is the daughter of Helena (née Keell), a social worker, and John Ware, a BBC Panorama reporter, who divorced when she was 10, and the younger sister of British actress Hannah Ware.
Her mother has been a big support in starting her musical career and Jessie considers her as “her hero”, saying “She brought up my sister, brother and me with so much love and fun and always told me I could do anything I want.”
In the years prior to releasing her first solo album, Ware did backing vocals at live shows for Jack Peñate (who took her on tour in America) and Man Like Me.
Ware said she learned a lot during her time with Jack Peñate: “Performing with him was really good training, because I got to learn all about how other people do it – I was able to perform live without the pressure of being a lead singer. It gave me a taste of what to expect, and it prepared me for what I’m doing now.”
It was one of Peñate’s bandmates, Tic, who first introduced Ware to SBTRKT; Ware and SBTRKT went on to collaborate on ‘Nervous’ (2010). She consequently met Sampha, best known as SBTRKT’s main collaborator and live member.
They created “Valentine” together, which was released on a special edition, heart-shaped vinyl by Young Turks in 2011. “Valentine” was partly inspired by James Blake‘s song “The Wilhelm Scream” and based on their own personal experiences in love.
The music video for Valentine was directed by Marcus Söderlund. “Nervous”, “Valentine” and an additional collaboration with DJ Joker (“The Vision”) led Ware to a record deal with PMR Records.
On 14 October 2011, Ware released her debut solo single “Strangest Feeling” on limited 10″ purple vinyl, although the song did not chart in the United Kingdom. She then released “Running” on 24 February 2012 as the lead single from her debut studio album Devotion.
“110%” was released as the album’s second single on 13 April, peaking at number 61 in the United Kingdom. “Wildest Moments” was released as the album’s third single on 29 June, peaking at number 46 in the United Kingdom.
Ware reckons the proudest moment of her career was hearing ‘Wildest Moments’ accompanying a television montage of highlights from Andy Murray’s dramatic third-round win at Wimbledon.
On 20 August 2012, she released her debut album Devotion, which peaked at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart. “Night Light” was released as the fourth single on 24 August. On 11 September, Devotion was announced as a nominee for the prestigious Mercury Prize.
In late 2012 the song titled “110%” had to be changed to “If You’re Never Gonna Move”, due to legal problems with the clearance of a sample of “Dream Shatterer” by Big Punisher, which was an integral part of the song (the title itself was a play on another of Big Punisher’s tracks, “100%“).
“If You’re Never Gonna Move” contains a similar-sounding sample instead.
Ware toured in the United Kingdom in the early part of March 2013, supported by Laura Mvula, starting with Cambridge, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford, Bristol and ending in London.
The United Kingdom tour was followed by a European tour in the second half of March 2013 and a US tour in April 2013.
In the summer of 2013, Ware played many festivals all over the world, and at the end of 2013, Jessie went on tour in the United States again.
At the beginning of 2014, Ware returned to the studio to write her second album. Ed Sheeran confirmed in an interview with Daily Star that they had written a song together for the new album. (That song, “Say You Love Me” was released by Jessie on 13 August 2014.)
“Tough Love” is the first single to be taken from the new album, airing for the first time on BBC Radio 1 as “Hottest Record” during the Zane Lowe‘s show and slated for a UK release on 3 August 2014.
“Tough Love” was compared to “Prince at his minimalist ’80s best” by Pitchfork, who interviewed Ware prior to the release.
“Tough Love” is produced together with Benzel, the production duo composed of London post-bass producer Two Inch Punch and mega-producer Benny Blancowho Ware previously worked with on the single “If You Love Me”; Benzel are also executive producers of her new album.
On 17 July 2014 Jessie Ware posted on her Twitter page that the new album is also called Tough Love, including a picture of the cover art, and has also announced on social media that Tough Love will be released on 6 October.
On her Twitter page, Ware announced that the only festival she would be playing in 2014 was going to be Wilderness Festival (7–10 August 2014);
a pair of additional dates at Berlin Festival 2014 (6 July 2014) (Website Berlin Festival) and Sopot Gulf of Art (26 July 2014) were later added.
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