Even if you don’t yet know her name, chances are you’ve already heard South Londoner Jessie Ware‘s scene-stealing vocals on some of the year’s most acclaimed music. A blog favourite with some serious radio spins before she’d even released her first solo single, Ware’s celebrated contributions to tracks by SBTRKT and Joker have made her one of the UK’s most highly touted new female vocalists.
LISTEN: SBTRKT ft. Jessie Ware – “Nervous”
The first of many attention grabbing appearances came late last year, when “Nervous”, a collaboration with elusive masked producer SBTRKT, was released. She hooked up with Sampha in early 2011 for “Valentine”, more R&B-inclined than her previous track and another blog favourite. A couple of appearances on SBTRKT’s self-titled album followed, before Ware turned in an incredible contribution to Bristol producer Joker’s lead single and title track “The Vision,” her powerful anthemic vocals lifting the track far beyond standard Dubstep fare.
LISTEN: Joker ft. Jessie Ware – “The Vision”
Last month, having blessed tracks from and collaborated with some of the UK’s hottest electronic artists in 2011, Jessie Ware finally dropped her much anticipated solo single “Strangest Feeling”. Co-written by Sampha, Ware slinks over stunning atmospheric production from The Invisible‘s Dave Okumu – it’s understated, flashing teasing glimpses of her vocal quality but never letting it all the way off the leash.
LISTEN: Jessie Ware – “Strangest Feeling”
She’s not the first artist to do what she does – valid comparisons can be drawn to Katy B and Yasmin, both female vocalists who have appropriated dance music for themselves, adding their own influences but remaining reasonably straight-edged. Whilst those two have made great music tailored firmly towards the mainstream, Ware’s experimental, quirkly and occasionally moody sound is something altogether different.
Soulful and emotive vocals over visionary and forward-thinking production mean that Jessie Ware stands out, at the end of a year where a glut of female vocalists have sat atop the throne of popular music and show no signs of relenting. An ability to craft an assertive anthem like “The Vision” alongside the skittishness of something like “Nervous” proves that she’s no one trick pony either. An incredibly gifted vocalist, Ware’s actual singing ability alone is worthy of note. Lucky for us though, she seems determined to use her considerable powers to make some really great music too.
Jessie Ware’s debut single “Strangest Feeling” is out now through PMR Records