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Jessica Lois Ware (born 15 October 1984) is an English singer-songwriter and podcaster. Her debut studio album Devotion (2012) peaked at number five on the UK Albums Chart and produced the single "Wildest Moments". Her follow-up record, Tough Love (2014), reached number nine in the United Kingdom. In October 2017, Ware released her third studio album, Glasshouse, by Island Records. Ware and her mother present a food podcast called Table Manners. Her fourth album, What's Your Pleasure?, was released in June 2020 to critical acclaim, and reached number three in the United Kingdom.
Ware was born at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in Hammersmith, London, on 15 October 1984. She was raised in Clapham, London. She is the daughter of Helena (née Keell, usually called Lennie), a social worker, and John Ware, a BBC Panorama reporter, who divorced when she was 10. She is the younger sister of British actress Hannah Ware. Her mother was supportive in her early musical career and Ware considers her to be "her hero", saying "She brought up my sister, brother and me with so much love and fun and always told me I could do anything I want." Ware's mother is Jewish and she was raised in the faith.
Ware was educated at Alleyn's School, a co-educational independent school in Dulwich in South London, followed by the University of Sussex, where she graduated with a degree in English literature. After her studies, Ware briefly worked as a journalist at The Jewish Chronicle, did sports journalism at The Daily Mirror and worked behind the scenes at TV company Love Productions. There, she was a colleague of Erika Leonard, otherwise known as E. L. James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey.
2009–11: Career beginnings
In the years prior to releasing her first solo album, Ware did backing vocals at live shows for Jack Peñate (who took her on tour in the U.S.) and Man Like Me. Ware said she learned a lot during her time with Jack Peñate: "Performing with him was really good training, because I got to learn all about how other people do it – I was able to perform live without the pressure of being a lead singer. It gave me a taste of what to expect, and it prepared me for what I’m doing now."
One of Peñate's bandmates, Tic, first introduced Ware to SBTRKT; Ware and SBTRKT went on to collaborate on 'Nervous' (2010). She consequently met Sampha, best known as SBTRKT's main collaborator and live member. They created "Valentine" together, which was released on a special edition, heart-shaped vinyl by Young Turks in 2011. "Valentine" was partly inspired by James Blake's song "The Wilhelm Scream" and based on their own personal experiences in love. The music video for "Valentine" was directed by Marcus Söderlund. "Nervous", "Valentine" and an additional collaboration with DJ Joker ("The Vision") led Ware to a record deal with PMR Records. She also featured on Ceremonials, the 2011 album by Florence and the Machine in which her good friend Florence Welch is lead singer.
On 14 October 2011, Ware released her debut solo single "Strangest Feeling" on limited 10" purple vinyl, although the song did not chart in the United Kingdom.
On 20 August 2012, Ware released her debut album Devotion, which peaked at number five on the UK Albums Chart. She then released "Running" on 24 February 2012 as the lead single from her debut studio album, Devotion. "110%" was released as the album's second single on 13 April, peaking at number 61 in the United Kingdom. "Wildest Moments" was released as the album's third single on 29 June, peaking at number 46 in the United Kingdom. "Night Light" was released as the fourth single on 24 August.
Devotion was announced as a nominee for the prestigious Mercury Prize that year. Ware toured in the United Kingdom in the early part of March 2013, supported by Laura Mvula, starting with Cambridge, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford, Bristol and ending in London. The United Kingdom tour was followed by a European tour in the second half of March 2013 and a US tour in April 2013. In the summer of 2013, Ware played many festivals all over the world, and at the end of 2013, Jessie went on tour in the United States again.
2014–16: Tough Love
The new album, Tough Love, was released on 6 October 2014. Ware began writing the album earlier that year. The album peaked at number nine on the UK Albums Chart, becoming her second top ten album. "Tough Love" was the first single to be taken from the new album and released on 3 August 2014. "Tough Love" was compared to "Prince at his minimalist '80's best" by Pitchfork. "Tough Love" is produced together with BenZel, the production duo composed of London post-bass producer Two Inch Punch and mega-producer Benny Blanco who Ware previously worked with on the single "If You Love Me"; Benzel are also executive producers of her new album. Ed Sheeran co-wrote the song "Say You Love Me". Ware played the Wilderness Festival (7–10 August 2014); a pair of additional dates at Berlin Festival 2014 (6 July 2014) and Sopot Gulf of Art (26 July 2014) that year.
Ware contributed a song for Nicki Minaj's third studio album, The Pinkprint (2014), called "The Crying Game" in which Minaj alternates between "devastating verses and pensive crooning" whilst Ware adds "haunting" and "soulful" vocals to the chorus. Originally, Ware only received a songwriting credit, but she was then credited on updated versions of the album. She also co-wrote the song "New Man" for Ed Sheeran's third album ÷ and provided background vocals on it and two other songs.
n October 2017, Ware returned to the stage after a two-year absence in anticipation of the release of her third studio album Glasshouse. Featuring contribution from Francis and the Lights, Ed Sheeran, Cashmere Cat, Julia Michaels and others, it was preceded by its first three singles "Midnight", "Selfish Love" and "Alone". Glasshouse debuted and peaked at number seven on the UK Albums Chart.
In October 2018, Ware released the non-album single "Overtime."
2019–present: What's Your Pleasure?
Ware's What's Your Pleasure? was released on 27 June, 2020, after being pushed back from its initial release date of 5 June. The first single from the album, "Adore You", was released in February 2019. This was followed by "Mirage (Don't Stop)" in November. The next single from the album, "Spotlight", was released in February 2020.
Towards the end of 2017, Ware launched a podcast, produced with her mother, called Table Manners for Acast and Island Records about "family, food and the art of a good old chit-chat", featuring a new guest each week on the show. The first episode became available on 8 November 2017 and featured British singer-songwriter and friend Sam Smith. The show has since entered its fourth season, including guests such as Ed Sheeran, Randy Jackson, Nigella Lawson, Sandy Toksvig, Daniel Kaluuya, Paloma Faith, George Ezra Annie Mac and Kylie Minogue .
On 23 January 2019 Jessie announced on her Instagram that she had created a unique premium kidswear collaboration called "Anyware Kids" launching online and in selected retailers Spring 2019, developed by award-winning designer George Reddings. "Designed specifically to grow with your child, the oversized boxy shapes and simple minimal styles, are seasonless and gender-equal." The website officially went live on 31 March 2019.
Ware is a UNICEF UK ambassador and travelled with them to Bangladesh, Cameroon and North Macedonia to see the work they are doing there to help children who have fled violence. On 15 November 2014, Ware joined the charity group Band Aid 30 along with other British and Irish pop acts, recording the latest version of the track "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa.
Ware was also part of the lineup for "Artists for Grenfell" charity single which was released to raise money for the families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and for The London Community Foundation.
Ware shared a flat with Felix White of The Maccabees and is friends with Adele. In August 2014, she married her childhood friend, Sam Burrows, whom she had met at school, on the Greek island of Skopelos, where the couple had previously become engaged. On 15 April 2016, Ware revealed that she was expecting her first child. On 8 September 2016, Ware announced the birth of her daughter who was born three days prior.
She supports the Labour Party and endorsed Jess Phillips as leader in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election. Read more on Last.fm
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