Jessie Ware reveals her secret ambition

By Marcus Dysch, August 23, 2012
Former JC intern Jessie Ware

Former JC intern Jessie Ware

When a young intern arrived at the JC offices looking for a career in journalism, no-one knew she had a secret ambition — to be the one we were writing about.

Four years on the 26-year-old has got her wish, and in a way no-one could have imagined.

Jessie Ware, the young graduate cutting her teeth as a web reporter, looks set to become Britain’s next big pop star.

Having released singles earlier this year to critical acclaim, her debut album, Devotion, went on sale on Monday and has already earned her comparisons with the likes of Florence Welch, Alicia Keys and Sadé. There have even been calls for her to collaborate with Adele.

“It’s so surreal. I can’t believe I have an album out,” she said. “I didn’t want to stay as an underground name for ever so I decided to make a go of it in the mainstream.

“All I wanted was to be in a position where the JC would write about me.

“It made my month when it put my video on its website home page. I had been working on the website, so I thought that was wicked.”

Among the JC stories covered by the Sussex University graduate were an interview with summer-camp teenagers from Sderot, and a report on non-Jewish emergency services personnel travelling to Auschwitz on an educational trip.

Influenced by her father, Panorama reporter John Ware, Jessie pursued her career in journalism, moving from the JC to a TV production company, but continued to sing, travelling to festivals in her spare time.

Her big break came when former school friend, south London singer Jack Peñate, asked her to sing backing vocals on a BBC appearance. She then supported him on tour, before collaborating with a host of indie and rap performers.

Her efforts earned her a deal of her own and she has since become one of the fastest-rising names in music.

The videos accompanying her songs on YouTube have been viewed a staggering three million times. Her Twitter feed alone has 25,000 followers.

“I didn’t think a music career was possible. It was a ludicrous ambition – that’s why I went to uni and worked in journalism. I wanted to get a good job and be a good journalist,” she said.

“My mum, Helena, is really proud. It’s great for her to come to gigs and tell her friends about my record. The whole family is very supportive.

“When he was young, my grandfather was a singer in the synagogue in Ireland when the family came over from Russia, but that’s the only musical influence.

“I don’t want to take myself too seriously. This is just something that’s happening and it’s wonderful, but I feel like I’m just fronting a record that a lot of people have been involved in. Hopefully it will be in the top 10 at the end of the week.”

Jessie has become a fixture on the front pages of music and culture sections of newspapers nationwide and has received glowing reviews from the music press.

Her Wildest Moments single was used by the BBC over a montage of Andy Murray at Wimbledon and she performed live at BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend.

Last updated: 5:08pm, August 23 2012