Jessie Ware On Tough Love, Ed Sheeran, Drake And Miguel

It’s been two years since the release of South Londoner Jessie Ware’s debut album, Devotion – a record that was critically acclaimed, racking up both Mercury Prize and Brit Award nominations. She soulfully slides back on the scene with her new single Tough Love this summer, which marks the first piece of new material from Ware since Runaway, her collaboration with SBTRKT earlier this year.

Jessie spoke to MTV UK on her way to a friend’s wedding in Somerset. “I’m now the wedding singer for all friends and family which is really nice,” she laughed. After the release of her single on August 3rd, Jessie’s own wedding will be next; proving love perhaps isn’t as tough as the song would lead us to believe.MTV UK: How does it feel to be back with new material?Jessie Ware: It feels good. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to ease myself back into this thing of talking about yourself and the record – I’m definitely not used to that yet – but I am very, very excited about the record, and I’m really proud of it.

MTV UK: Tell us about your new single, Tough Love…

Jessie: It’s one of those songs that was made in the moment. I had the opportunity to go and record in New York for a couple of weeks with my mates (the production duo BenZel) after a solid six months of touring. This song really represents a lazy Wednesday afternoon in May in New York, and me not overthinking. Just creating a mood. The vocal that you hear on it is a demo vocal, so there’s a weariness in my voice.

MTV UK: You recently Instagrammed pictures of your hen do – so love isn’t too tough for you at the moment?

Jessie: No, love is wicked at the moment, apart from me getting pissed off with my fiancé for not buying a suit until yesterday. I guess my bit of tough love is not being able to be with him as much as I’d like to be.

MTV UK: Has the upcoming wedding inspired anything on the album?

Jessie: Yes, yet again I’ve successfully written a song that is my fiancé’s least favourite song on the record, and of course it’s about him! It’s called You and I, Forever.  It’s a driving song that I did with Miguel and it’s about me basically being like, hurry up and propose. I’m like, “Here you go babe” and he’s like, “Well, I really prefer the other one…” The same thing happened on the first record, so I’m glad I haven’t lost that.

MTV UK: If you had to sum up what we can expect from this album, what would you say? Jessie: This album’s more playful. It’s more direct. I think I’m a bit less scared this time around, so what you can expect is a bit more of me, with a bit less reverb. It flowed quite freely, and that’s a lot to do with the people that worked with – including Miguel, Ed Sheeran, BenZel and Julio Bashmore. Hopefully people will know it’s still me but it’s got a few more fun moments and less melancholic moments.

MTV UK: What was it like working with Miguel?

Jessie: He was amazing. I’m such a fan of him anyway. I’d met him before when he’d done the UK release of Adorn and he asked me to sing on it – which was totally unnecessary as it’s the most perfect song. I asked him to return the favour and he did, and it felt a bit too good to be true. We wrote one of my favourite songs on the record called Kinda Sometimes Maybe, and had loads of fun together. We drank a lot of whiskey.

MTV UK: And how about recording with Ed Sheeran?

Jessie: He is the most professional, inspiring guy to see as a songwriter. I learnt a lot from him. We ended up recording the last song on the album and we did it in about an hour. It was one of those serendipitous moments where somebody somewhere was on our side.

MTV UK: Did you have that second album fear?

Jessie: No, I think I over-compensated with the first album fear! I had absolute terror for the first album, so this second album couldn’t have felt more scary than the first to be honest.

MTV UK: Do you think that your sense of style has evolved with this record?

Jessie: I think it has, actually. It’s a bit more relaxed, because I feel more comfortable calling myself a singer now – maybe I don’t feel like I’m having to play a role anymore, putting my shoulder pads on, playing that part.  Also ’cause I’m a lazy cow, I just want to feel comfortable all the time so heels are out. Flats are in.

MTV UK: Which designers are you particularly a fan of?Jessie: I buy too much at Acne at the moment, I’m a bit obsessed with Marni too and all I do is shop in Cos.MTV UK: What have been some of the stand out experiences of your career so far?Jessie: I think being up for the Mercury Prize sticks out. It’s something I never thought would happen and to have that on your first record was really, really reassuring and special. My performance at Glastonbury was also a real moment for me. I was so overwhelmed by how many people turned up and I was so over-excited throughout the set that I didn’t stop talking all the way through – even during the songs.

MTV UK: You have so many high profile fans –have there been any that were particularly remarkable to you?

Jessie: I got told that Drake had my album, which I thought was crazy and wicked. I also found it funny when Nicole Kidman put my album in one of those Sunday supplement things as what she’s listening too. That was sick.

MTV UK: What do you the next few months hold for you?

Jessie: I’m going to be promoting the record, doing a few spot gigs to play out live, and then doing Wilderness Festival. Hopefully I’ll then tour in the autumn. I can’t wait to sing these new songs. I really do feel great when I’m performing now, so I can’t wait to perform again.

Tough Love the single is released on August 3rd, with Jessie’s second album of the same name to follow, release date TBA.

Originally featured on MTV UK –