Jessie Ware Loves Her Gays And Her Hard Boiled Eggs
I wasn’t nervous before I met Jessie Ware for the first time. I’d listened to her podcast Table Manners for years, dance to ‘Free Yourself’ religiously, and had What’s Your Pleasure on repeat through lockdown after lockdown. In my mind: I already knew Jessie Ware, and we were firm friends.
When I actually sat down with Jessie for this interview, I was comforted to find that my manifesting paid off. She’s warm and fun — kinda like that one supportive aunty you make a beeline for on Christmas Day (… if that aunty also just happened to make incredible music).
Jessie Ware On Her Return To Australia For Summer Camp
Returning to Australia for the first time in a decade, Jessie will soon be headlining at Summer Camp with the iconic Trixie Mattel. It’s not a gig she takes for granted. “Honestly this is so special for me to be returning to Australia [after] 10 years and to be headlining at a queer festival just shows kind of my journey and growth,” she says. “It means that I’ve created a really strong fan base that want me and we’re gonna have a really great celebration. I’m excited about this festival.”
“Sophie Ellis-Bextor said it was one of the best things she’s ever done [so] it’s going to be a night to celebrate all my wonderful fans that I have never been able to touch or kiss or prod. I’m going to be right in there in the thick of it, as close as possible to you. We’ll be very well rehearsed by that point you’re getting us at our fucking A-game.”
The Honour Of Being A Gay Icon
Summer Camp is an all-inclusive festival created by the queer community for the community. If you headline at Summer Camp, it’s safe to say you’ve reached the coveted ‘queer icon’ status. And Jessie’s earned her stripes as an ally.
“It means a lot [being a gay icon] and I’m not sure whether I deserve it or not, but I’m so grateful. I’ve had a queer fan base from the beginning but it definitely has grown over the past two records,” she says. “I feel like it comes with a level of responsibility and I’m still exploring how much more I can do to support the queer community. But if it means at the moment that I give them a disco set and we have a little dance then that’s what we’re doing.”
She’s delivered us countless bops to throw our bodies around to, and in return the queer community has helped Jessie step into her power. “I’ve said this before but I really feel like my queer fan base helped me understand myself better as an artist and I love the world that they’ve allowed me to enter into. I feel like I take more risks and I have more fun because I have this wonderful love and warmth from an amazing community.”
A big part of the appreciation for Jessie in the queer community stems from her ability to make stellar disco and dance pop music. She’s always been connected to dance music, being the first-ever vocalist that the boiler room had back when “they were doing it in some grotty warehouse in Hackney,” she tells me. Interestingly, Jessie thought What’s Your Pleasure? was going to be her last hurrah — she wasn’t sure she’d reach such heights with a record again, so she went for it. “Where do I enjoy myself? On the dance floor.” That! Feels Good! then, feels freer still. Here, Jessie throws out her own rulebook and, along with it, any expectations of commercial success from record-labels that may have inadvertently influenced her sound in the past. ‘Free Yourself’, ‘Begin Again’, and ‘Pearls’ are made for the dance floor. Feeling free and escaping on the dance floor is an experience a lot of queer people can relate to. It’s what Jessie and the rest of us have in common.
Submitting Yourself To Pleasure
I don’t know if anything is embraced more in the queer community than sensuality. That! Feels Good! is just oozing with sex, pleasure, and bodily appreciation. I’m forever fascinated by how much an album can help reveal things about an artist; things that they themselves might not have tapped into before. There was plenty to uncover with Jessie’s That! Feels Good!.
“I realised I really am quite good about talking with an innuendo and still making it feel quite classy. I think that’s my secret weapon. I’m absolutely filthy, but if you put a bit of a British accent on it or a sweet little vibrato or like softness, you can get away with murder. I really enjoyed that tongue-in-cheek [playfulness]. I love to flirt. I’m kind of flirting with everybody else on these records.”
Three years after What’s Your Pleasure, I’m curious: what makes Jessie tick now? What’s her secret vice? Her answer might be the most British thing I’ve ever heard. “I do like a hard boiled egg in the morning with lots of salt and pepper. It’s not very sexy, though, is it?” Jessie says. “I should’ve said poppers or something shouldn’t I?”
Yes Jessie, you should’ve.
Jessie Ware is headlining Summer Camp Festival in Melbourne (presented by ALWAYS LIVE) on Saturday December 2 and Sydney December 3. Check out the full festival lineup here. Jessie is also hosting ‘An Intimate Audience with Jessie Ware’ on Thursday November 30 presented by Summer Camp Festival and Victorian ALWAYS LIVE.
Image credit: Supplied