Jessie Ware opens up about ‘Platinum Pleasure’, returns to the stage and regains her confidence
It’s been a year since Jessie Ware released her fourth album What is your pleasure? – and what a year it has been for the British singer-songwriter.
She released a critically acclaimed post-disco hymn album at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, found her niche on Barack Obama’s favorite songs of 2020 (the hustle and bustle Remember who you are), befriended Kylie Minogue (“I love her, I respect her so much”) and is the author of her first book (Omelette: food, love, chaos and other conversations).
Oh, and she revealed she is expecting her third child with husband Sam Burrows.
Now Ware is targeting dance floors and festival stages.
âI miss it, I miss everything,â Ware said excitedly, zooming in on the interview from his home in London.
âI live vicariously through gay men right now, and all of you in Australia who can actually go to nightclubs.
âI aspire to the potential for next year and next summer,â Ware says.
“I’ll be touring the UK at the end of the year and I’m just going to treat this as my own clubbing experience.”
âHowever, I wanted to take the start time a little earlier. Would anyone be up for a morning? [laughs]”
When most of the entertainment industry halted their music and film endeavors in 2020, Ware and his team had to rethink the typical promotional schedule.
push back the exit of What is your pleasure? however, was not on the cards.
Instead of, Pleasure, written with sweaty dance floors and music festivals in mind, has found its way onto streaming playlists and cramped living rooms.
But don’t call it a “quarantine album”.
Determined to emerge from the melancholy of past outings, What is your pleasure? is inspired by the New York underground nightclub and the heyday of Studio 54 of the 70s and 80s.
Shortlisted for the Mercury Prize 2020 and nominated for Album of the Year at the BRIT Awards, Pleasure is a career record for Ware – awash with percolating beats and euphoric choruses.
And now Jessie is ready to add some sparkle to 2021 with the sublime deluxe reissue of last year’s release – titled Platinum Pleasure.
You must be so happy with the positive reaction to this album and the longevity it has had, especially because it is so different from your previous work. It continues to grow stronger.
I am really. I’m not an arrogant person – I work hard and I’m generally quite self-deprecating – but there was an inner confidence with this record that comes when you know you’ve done something that is totally yours and something that you feel good about. completely facilitated with.
I felt so confident about this album and the songs we chose to put on it that what other people thought almost didn’t matter. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and the reaction has been overwhelming and not at all what I expected.
Recording and videos and [Table Manners] The podcast sort of worked out to be really that fortuitous moment where everything came together in the right place at the right time, even throughout COVID.
My intention is always to try to make music that is timeless, but What is your pleasure? has those legs that kept running, and that’s why I felt I needed to make a luxury.
People had such an appetite for the album and the kind of music I was making. I thought to myself: Well the new album won’t look like What is your pleasure?, so I might as well share more songs with the world … because they’re good! I’m not going to do another one What is your pleasure? however – that would be very boring.
Is it true that you still have 40 to 50 songs left from the recording sessions?
I mean, not all are good! But yes, we have written a lot. Some of them were questionable, but the sessions were very, very productive.
A friend asked me how to describe the deluxe edition of What is your pleasure?, and I said if this is the album to listen to before the aperitif, Platinum Pleasure is 3 a.m. at the club – all your other friends are gone, but you don’t want to leave and just want to keep dancing.
It’s exactly that ! When things maybe start to get a little weird, and that’s okay. You’ve befriended people you’ve observed all night, and maybe that friendship leads to something else. [laughs] And then there’s the after party. You are right. Totally.
I heard songs from What is your pleasure? in a club recently!
But did you kiss them someone?
I like you to get back to business right away. It’s like, okay, who’s gonna stop me? Let’s get in line.
I can say you miss it – dancing, playing.
I mean, I keep choosing to have a kid every two years, which of course is great, but also limits the number of nightclub outings. Here again I am 36 years old, I can no longer do the 6 o’clock finishes.
I can not either !
You know I’m so determined to get on stage – and it has to be dark. I have to give these live shows the full nightlife experience. Otherwise, I want to be in sweaty tents at a music festival where they’re packed. I have a lot to look forward to.
Hopefully, it doesn’t sound too old-fashioned to play a whole bunch of new songs, because most of them aren’t really ânewâ anymore. I hope they become icy classics.
Speaking of the new songs you wrote Hot N Heavy with SG Lewis. He’s having a little moment right now.
We are actually teammates. Sam is so talented and really crazy about disco. He is great. He’s really fast. He sort of … he just comes gets he.
With Hot N Heavy, we were channeling Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. I think we had written the majority of the record already, and I almost put it on What is your pleasure? but I didn’t think it was just for the first version of the album.
When you listen to it, you just have to imagine that you are on South Beach in Miami. It must be moist, slightly moist, like a cocktail in your hand. We have an amazing video for her – she doesn’t introduce me but has a mind-blowing dance routine that I think no one will be able to do. That’s why I left it to the professionals. [laughs]
But Sam, I’m so proud of him. And he’s a really lovely boy. I like to work with good and kind people. It’s almost more important than anything because you have to spend a fucking day with them!
You said The Guardian last year this music was your bread and butter, but now it’s not, and you are much happier. You’ve had a busy year and not just with the new album – you have the podcast Table manners, you wrote a book. How important was it to have these other creative outlets?
Yes, everything is going well. I am very, very happy. I hadn’t realized how much I needed these other things to ground and balance.
I’ve always thought that music shouldn’t be taken for granted. Don’t get me wrong, this sounds like a gift of a job that I should really appreciate. But when I stopped liking it, it was so heavy and rude. And you have to know that the industry is a funny old place and if it’s not going very well for you it can sound pretty gross.
The podcast was initially an escape, sort of a release from this incredibly heavy, self-involved world that wasn’t going very well for me. It was just a way for me to chat with people to find out stories.
I almost felt trapped in a way, like I could give my music to people but I couldn’t give it to them myself. Maybe before I didn’t give enough of my personality in my music because I was afraid people would reject it. I made this podcast thinking, if no one is listening to me, that’s okay. I’ll just stop doing it.
But then it became this huge success, which in turn really benefited my music because it gave me more confidence, to be able to take risks, to be able to trust my instincts and say what I want. say, also make the music fun and creative again, rather than that kind of needing to pay the bills.
You have the impression that you have regained your self-confidence.
You know what, I don’t know if I ever trusted myself to start. You have to have incredibly thick skin to work in this industry. Look at someone like Billie Eilish who has this fierce confidence in their abilities. What is she, 17 or 18? I was watching her documentary, I just didn’t have what she was at her age. But I also had the chance to learn from my mistakes.
You have to trust your instincts and trust yourself. If no one else likes itâ¦ well, at least you liked it. Oddly, I have always been socially confident, always talkative, able to sell myself through the gift of chatter. But when it came to music, I felt like it was such a sacred thing that I accidentally forced myself into it that I almost felt like I didn’t deserve it. I had the real impostor syndrome for a long time.
You’ve probably been asked this a million times … I hate being the person asking a question that’s been asked before. But this collaboration much discussed with Kylie Minogue. What can you tell me? Whatever? Nothing at all?!
[laughs] I am sorry. I can’t tell you anything yet. But it will happen. Isn’t Kylie just fantastic? When I met her, I immediately thought: wow, I could learn a lot from this woman. Fingers crossed, the world may experience it soon.
What’s Your Pleasure: Platinum Pleasure is available on all streaming platforms.