- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The new queen of disco is ready to christen the dancefloor.
Last summer, Jessie Ware saved us all from our quarantine doldrums with the scintillating "What's Your Pleasure?", the British singer's album-length ode to dance music icons Donna Summer, Fern Kinney, Robyn and Earth, Wind & Fire. Now, the mom of two (and soon, three) is itching to take her critically acclaimed fourth effort on the road, embarking on a UK tour in December.
"It's going to be very different to how I've done things before. Lots of dancing," says Ware, 36, casually chatting as she bounces on a pregnancy ball during a recent Zoom call. "There's like, gonna be choreography. I mean, I'm not gonna be Janet Jackson, but I want everyone to feel like they can do it with me."
But first, there's "What's Your Pleasure? (The Platinum Pleasure Edition)," out Friday. The deluxe reissue adds eight new tracks, including the club-ready "Hot N Heavy," a tantalizing tribute to Miami Sound Machine-era Gloria Estefan, and "Impossible," a dizzying dance anthem that nods to Madonna while slyly commenting on gaslighting. Then there's the Prince-indebted "Pale Blue Light," which harks back to the sort of tender love songs and torch ballads that have defined Ware's career up until this album.
The decision to go disco came after touring her third record, 2017's "Glasshouse," with Ware wanting to hit "reset" and give her fans more vibrant, high-energy live shows.
"My fans in the U.S. have been there from the start. However small, they're quite loyal," Ware says. And with the way that "What's Your Pleasure?" has been embraced on social media, in particular, "I do feel like my fanbase has grown. And it's great! Welcome to the club."
Question: How does the reception to "What's Your Pleasure?" feel different than your past albums?
Jessie Ware: It feels like the buzziest record I've had since my first (2012's "Devotion"), in that sense of discovery and excitement. Luckily this time around, I have 10 more years experience and I can appreciate it and celebrate it with my fans that have grown (up) with me. For such a long time, I was so petrified and worrying about the next step that I couldn't just be in the moment like, "Things are good." I catastrophized everything, so I feel like I didn't get to enjoy myself enough and the achievements that were happening. So that's what feels different: I feel ready for it this time.
Q: Why do you think this album has resonated so much?
Ware: I don't know. I wonder whether my podcast ("Table Manners") has a part to play in it, but then I'm like, "No, this is different." I think it's me feeling empowered and open and honest and playful. People have received that and I think that just creates a good vibe. I was very much like, "People may not like this, but if they don't, I think it's great." I was very confident about it, regardless of whether it was gonna be a big hit or not.
And, you know, I had lots of critical acclaim and it was my highest charting record in the UK, but still, I'm not on American radio. There's still this kind of culty thing with me that I think people actually really quite enjoy, especially in the States.
Q: Well, it feels like more than an homage to disco. There's something lived-in and sultry and sweaty about these songs – there's no glossy kind of pop sheen to the album.
Ware: No, and I didn't want that. I wanted it to have a bit of filth and seduction and suggestion and persuasion. I wanted it to feel like those clubs you have been to that aren't necessarily Studio 54. I wanted those grand moments, but I also wanted those down-and-dirty interactions and the cheek of it. I think that's what people have really dug.
Q: Fans have really been loving "Please," the lead single off the deluxe edition. How long ago did you write it?
Ware: We wrote it in the initial phases of writing "What's Your Pleasure?" and I just didn't feel ready for it. I really liked it, but I don't think I appreciated how good it was. I felt like it didn't have the right tone for the rest of the record. But weirdly, from the reaction to "What's Your Pleasure?", I felt like it was mad to not offer up this song when it felt so generous and optimistic, because we need a little optimism.
I think it has that flirtation that the song "What's Your Pleasure?" has, but that's slightly more dirty. This felt like a pop song to me. In my head, it was a song that Kylie Minogue would have sung in the '90s and had references of Björk and "Big Time Sensuality." That was the vibe for it.
Ware: I have no theory on it. It's just very serendipitous and I think we're all doing very different styles, which is lovely and exciting. For me, to be uttered in the same breath as Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa, who has had like the most monumental success in the past year and Róisín Murphy, who I respect and adore, and then Kylie Minogue. That's a huge compliment and it's given me loads of confidence to keep on writing the way that I write because I did this album with no A&Rs, I was left to my own devices. I trusted myself and that's really paid off.
Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' at 10: How Bruce Springsteen, 'Eyes Wide Shut' inspired the album's biggest songs
Q: Do you want to continue down this road of dance music?
Ware: I feel like it would be rude not to, because I feel like people like me on this. So the next record, I don't know whether you'd call it electronic dance music, but it's definitely upbeat and uptempo. It's not the same as "What's Your Pleasure?", but it's got energy.
Q: How far along are you on the new album? Could we hear it later this year?
Ware: I'd say it's like 75% written but it's not produced. I'd like to bring it out before I do the festivals next year. Equally, I want to be able to have this moment of being able to enjoy "What's Your Pleasure?" I'm not gonna be able to tour (that album) in the States until I don't know how long, so I don't want to distract from celebrating that in a live capacity by adding too much music. But the music's there, so I think (the plan is to) have the baby, get ready for tour and then finish the record.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jessie Ware loves her 'culty' American fanbase: 'They're quite loyal'