Jessie Ware Interview with Village Voice

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Aaliyah and Sade-Inspired Jessie Ware Brings Her "British Electronic Soul Music" To Town

Okay, so how would you describe Jessie Ware's sound to an inquiring mind?
It's British, electronic soul music. That's how I would describe it.

Which artists had a strong influence on you in your younger years? I know that you're a big fan of '90s R&B...
Girl groups like TLC, SWV and Destiny's Child, I loved what they were doing and it was really good fun. They didn't take themselves too seriously, they were flirtatious and it was great music. Lauryn Hill, too. I was mad about The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill album, it was an album that really stuck with me and I'd play it and knew all the words. I used to watch loads of MTV Base when I was younger: Lucy Pearl, Montell Jordan, Jon B, those guys were on all the time. And so much JLo, so much Jennifer Lopez [laughs]. I watched that all the time and pretended that I was in the videos.

What are your thoughts on R&B today, though? It's definitely not what it used to be...
I feel like it's getting there. People like Frank Ocean and Miguel are amazing and exciting new R&B stars, and I really liked Usher's "Climax" song with Diplo. There's still good R&B music out there. I also like a girl called Rochelle Jordan, she's really cool.

Would you like to work with anyone you've just listed there?
Yeah, most definitely. I'm a bit worried Frank Ocean's going to issue some kind of restraining order on me [laughs]. I just love his vibe. I think Miguel's amazing, he sounds like Marvin Gaye. The-Dream, that song "Yamaha" he made, I never stop playing it. Oh, and the Weeknd is so cool! The whole crew that he has around him is wicked. His producer, Illangelo, makes some really exciting stuff.

Speaking of producers, you've worked with some of the most innovative bass music producers out there, SBTRKT and Julio Bashmore being just a few of them. Do you have your ear on anyone else right now?
I'd like to work with Disclosure again, because I just think they're great. I think Perseus is really good. He changed "Night Light" from being this over-the-top ballad to this cute R&B duet between me and my producer using our backing vocals. Also Todd "The God" Edwards, he did a remix for me -- which I'm so, so happy about. I never get to go clubbing anymore [laughs]. 

You're releasing your If You Never Gonna Move EP just for your fans in America, so what can they expect from it when it's released on Cherrytree Records in January?
There will be a song off the album on there, and then some extras. I just think it's quite a fun way to start the year in America. They can expect a lot of me talking about love and exploring how to make an album -- there's loads of genres in there. I've got so many influences in there, so I've tried to combine them all into a big melting pot and hope it works. There are a few songs you can listen to when you're dancing, too [laughs].

And what kind of show do you have planned for your sold out show at The Box in New York City tonight?
I've heard The Box is quite small and I've heard it's quite a raunchy place. It's got willies everywhere, apparently [laughs]. I'm going to pretend I'm a jazz singer because I like the idea of an intimate venue. I'm not going to sing jazz [laughs], but I guess we'll just continue to do what we've been doing.

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