Need to Know: Jessie Ware

3.19.2013

By Nicholas Fonseca

It's America's turn to swoon over Britain’s finest new export

Photo by James Moriarty

Jessie Ware’s languorous brand of baby-makin’ soul-pop seduces anyone who hears it: audiences in her native U.K., who made her Mercury Prize–nominated debut album, Devotion, a Top 5 hit; critics who can’t get enough of the Brixton-born vocalist’s Whitney-smooth delivery on songs like “Wildest Moments” and “Sweet Talk”; celebrity fans like Katy Perry, who wrote on Twitter, “This lil’ lady is going to be massive… jump on board.” Now it’s America’s turn to swoon. Devotion is set for an April 16 U.S. release, though Ware already seems to have a sizable American gay fan base, as evidenced by her shows here earlier this year. Why are we so enamored? “I don’t know,” she says. “Is it the Barbra Streisand wallpaper on my Twitter page?”

On Cracking America:
“It’s either going to work or it’s not. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy playing for people willing to vogue to my music. American audiences have been so fabulous and fun, the majority of them gay—men in front beating the rails, screaming, ‘Guuuurl! Lawd have mercy!’ ”

Hair Apparent:
“I’ve got so much hair, and I’m so shit at doing it. The cover of my album is me with this outrageous double bun. My hairdresser said we needed to do something fun and slightly over-the-top. It’s very Sophia Loren or Liz Taylor if she were on holiday. Liz is always a reference point.”

Technicolor Dreams:
“My brother’s gay. We should have known when he was wearing cowboy boots and Hypercolor cycling shorts and asking for a Jason Donovan haircut at the age of 5! He was obsessed with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. That moment when Joseph comes up in his coat, lifted up on that crane…you should have seen his face. We really bonded over that musical.”

A Personal Favorite:
“ ‘Taking In Water,’ which is about my brother, has taken on a new meaning when I do it live. It wasn’t even going to be on the album originally, but I just couldn’t let it go. He was going through a hard time, but I didn’t know how to speak to him about it. So I wrote a song instead.”

Watch the video for "Sweet Talk" below:

Tags: Music
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