After her early days singing backup for Jack Peñate and collaborating with SBTRKT and Sampha, Jessie Ware is now reigning solo. Having picked her for Karl and Carine's Chanel 'Little Black Jacket project' in our new issue, we're brimming with excitement for her debut album ‘Devotion’ out August 28th. After stopping over at Oya Festival earlier this month, we spoke to her about her breakthrough into 'the music industry' and why she just can’t stop listening to Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Ocean’...
Dazed Digital: From journalism to TV production to law, how did you get into the music industry and was the transition difficult?
Jessie Ware: It was because my friend Jack Peñate asked me to sing some backing vocals for him, and then from that I carried on working with him as his backing singer and singing for a band called Man Like Me. It got to the point where I was doing so many gigs for Jack or Man Like Me that I had to quit my job so it wasn't a hard transition really. I was really lucky with how I landed on my feet singing for my best mate.
DD: What is your particular affinity with working with electronic artists? Have you been interested in production yourself?
Jessie Ware: I love electronic music and I am always amazed by what producers can do with their equipment. I was always so interested in watching SBTRKT on Logic when we were working together and Ableton when he was DJing. My friends and I were always dancing to D'n'B and Garage when we were younger so I guess thats where the love stemmed from. I can only just about manage Garage Band so I doubt I will be going into production anytime soon, but I am very vocal with how I want the production to sound whether I am working with anyone.
DD: Who are your biggest influences, growing up till now?
Jessie Ware: Sade, Chaka Khan, Dusty Springfield, Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday.
DD: What are you listening to in your own time / are some of your favourite artists right now?
Jessie Ware: I am listening to a lot of Jackson Browne at the moment and I can't stop listening to Frank Ocean's outstanding album 'Channel Orange'. I am so excited by the production and the storytelling on the album, he's wonderful. I also really like Melody Gardot at the moment, such a beautiful singer.
DD: What are you most looking forward to next?
Jessie Ware: Having my album out, Bestival and having my first ever tour in November!
Text by Lucy Chen
Photography by Kirill Kuletski