MUSIC Q&A: Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware

Brixton-based singer Jessie Ware, 27, began her musical career singing vocals for a number of dance music artists on community radio station Rinse FM. Hailing from Clapham and now residing on Acre Lane, the singer is currently touring the summer festival circuit performing at Open’er in Poland, Nova in West Sussex, Pitch in Amsterdam and Bestival in the Isle of Wight ahead of releasing her debut album Devotion on August 20.

You’ve got a busy couple of months ahead, what is your day-to-day schedule like?

I’ve been really busy rehearsing and recording. I have a lot of festivals coming up and want to

sound as great as possible. You only have one chance to impress people. It’s a strange time and I’m really appreciative of people listening to my music, especially because it’s new music. One of the best parts of going to a festival is listening to music you know and being able to sing along, so I appreciate people listening to my music, which they’re hearing for the first time.  I feel really lucky.

Tell me about your debut album Devotion

It’s my first album and it was a labour of love. I’m so happy with it and with having worked with the people I did. It feels like a really special moment in time. This whole year has been wonderful, from the people I’ve worked with to the music we’ve made. Whatever happens I’ve made an album with some lifelong friends. Producing an album is a really scary process; from the first song on the album the whole thing took about a year, including writing, collaborating and recording.

What was it like breaking into the local music industry?

My experience has been pretty positive, people have been really generous. I was quite lucky because I wasn’t singing for very long, I got signed, I worked with the right people and it’s just been very fortuitous. For me it’s been okay, but I know it can be very hard.

You actually pursued journalism prior to working as a musician?

I tried. I did English Literature at Sussex University, my father is a journalist and I was really interested by it. But to be honest I found it really competitive and quite intimidating; I couldn’t really hack it. I worked in newspapers but I didn’t do it for long then I got this call from my mate to do backing work and the rest is history.

Who are your musical influences?

I love people like Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Sade, Dusty Springfield, Prince, Whitney Houston.

How do you make sure you’re always performance-ready?

I just need to look after my voice. I don’t go mad, I don’t have too much fun, I just have to be sensitive to when my voice is tired. Sometimes I take supplements like echinacea. Singing is my job now, I can’t afford to not have a voice, so it’s a lot of early nights, not shouting, just simple, common sense things.

What’s on for you next?

Now the album’s finished I just hope people like it. Now I have to work it and win people over.

At the moment my schedule is really busy. Everyday is different; today I’m rehearsing, so I warm up, play with my band, try to make the set slicker. We learnt a new song yesterday, and tomorrow we’re traveling all day to Poland for the festival, the day before that I was at a photo shoot and interview all day. It really varies, which is really cool.

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