Jessie Ware webchat: your questions answered on sweaty clubs, table manners and activism

Last modified: 01: 11 PM GMT+0

The soulful singer and food podcaster talked about collaboration, future sounds – and why, post-lockdown, the drive-in gig might be a thing

But we leave on a tasty note:
cedwards2817 asks

I adore listening to Table Manners - what would your desert island meal and/or disc be?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Thank you. My meal would be Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, but started with my mum's chicken and matzo ball soup, and a side of chopped liver (don't knock it til you've tried it) and for pudding, cream on ice cream. Or tiramisu from this place in Streatham. Drink of choice - I know I'm gonna sound like a wanker - but I've got well into pet nat, a kind of natural sparkling wine. I know I know I know it's slightly pretentious, but it's been a thrill of mine during lockdown. And a dirty, filthy martini. And disc would probably be a toss up between Sade's Diamond Life, the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill or Channel Orange by Frank Ocean. Or Hats by the Blue Nile.


That's all we have time for

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Thank you so much to everyone that bothered to write in and ask me questions! I'm really excited for you to hear the record and thanks for all your interest.

Glasshouse thoughts

laurasnapes asks

You told the Independent that the wider scope of Glasshouse represented “a real ambition for other people”. How did you get talked into that – how do those conversations go? Did you want to do it? What did it take to convince the label to let you pursue your vision on this record?

Also: Adam Bainbridge and Joe Mount both appear on What’s Your Pleasure - was Robyn’s Honey an inspiration?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

It really frustrates me how Glasshouse has been put into this slightly negative world when I was really proud of it. There were versions of compromise, but I have to put my hand up to that too. I feel bad that it's shone on in a negative light, like when people review the new record. I stepped away from seeking any approval on this record - I had no A&R. I went back to basics, I had to trust myself again. I think I'd started having to seek approval that I didn't actually value and I needed to remind myself of that, so working with James was the perfect remedy.

Robyn's Honey is an incredible record and I love it, I love her as an artist, I love what she does, I thought Honey was brilliant. I heard songs on there and also I'd seen that Joe was working with other people - I'd always loved Metronomy and his production was so brilliant. Adam I've known for a long time and been such a fan of their work. I've been loving the fact that Adam had been working on Solange's record, all these brilliant records. So Robyn as an artist is always a bit of an inspiration for me. I love what she's about, her generosity for the people she works with. I've never heard a bad thing about Robyn and I think that emanates from her music - there's such positivity and I adore that.

hannahjordandavies asks

What’s been your favourite episode of Table Manners so far? And what other podcasts do you listen to?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I'm excited for the people we've got this week, boy oh boy. I really enjoyed meeting Stacey Dooley for the first time. I loved speaking to Russell Tovey. The most hysterical one was probably Alan Carr. He was so hysterical, I want to have him regularly come back.

Listen in to Jessie’s acclaimed podcast here

parsnipsoup asks

Kelis once did an album called Food, with songs named after tasty treats - like Jerk Ribs, and Biscuits n’ Gravy (I wish she’d slipped some recipes in with the sleeve notes). Do you foresee a future project that could combine your musical and foodie expertise?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I quite like to keep them separate. But never say never. I wrote the cookbook this year and I'm hopefully going to write another book at the end of the year - about food memory, nostalgia - and I think that writing and food is something that I can see being a way for me. Songwriting and food? I don't know. Kelis did it well. I don't know if I'd be able to do it well.


hardatwork asks

How do you see the future of performing arts, post-lockdown?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

God, I really feel worried for theatre. I am trying to feel hopeful that my April tour will happen, I've sold out a night at Brixton. I have no idea. I've just got to try and be positive, I guess. I'm constantly trying to think of ways to present the record to people even if it's unorthodox. As for drive-in gigs... I'd do it to try it. I don't think it's ideal. If there was enough space between them you could have five in a car, have a little party. It's essentially like being in a living room at a festival. If that was doable, I'd do it. To be fair, I'll do anything as long as I can perform the record for people.

Cambrinus asks

Hi Jessie! Allow a former teacher of yours to say, ‘Well done, girl, and you’ve come a long, long way from Miss Adelaide’.....! (Terry Walsh)

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Mr Walsh! Thank you sir. Nice to hear from you, hope you're well.


MaciejWojcieszek asks

1. What are the best: book/film/series/podcast/record You’ve experienced in last 12 months?
2. If You hosted a stage of an indie festival, who would play on it?
3. What is Your fave Polish city?
4. Are we getting any announcement about Polish tour soon (sorry but I had to :) )
Love <3 :)

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

One of my favourite books is I Know This Much Is True, and I saw that Mark Ruffalo is in the series, which I want to watch. Normal People, like every other millennial. I thought the adaptation was perfect. Podcasts... Dolly Parton's America is amazing. I've also really been enjoying listening to Queenie on Audible, I'm loving that. I really like Giri/Haji, a BBC Japanese-English drama that I thought was really beautifully done. Orthodox was incredible. My favourite thing recently is Dave, which my friend Benny Blanco features in. It's really good.

Lockdown food fact

KonnieK says

Big fan here! I’m wondering. How often do you find yourself humming/singing your own songs while you’re cooking/cleaning etc. I’m a sucker for earworms and getting songs in my head, many of them yours, and wondered as a singer if it happens with your own? Also - what’s been your go-to lockdown dish?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Probably hardly ever, however my children are really into this album. My son is really into using the vinyl player. I've got a stack of my own bloody vinyls that I'm going to give to all my mates. He demands it every day.

I've been enjoying a lot halloumi with honey and sesame. You could also do it with baked feta or in filo pastry. Also Ottolenghi's roasted tomatoes with cold yoghurt.

ecarys asks

Whilst recording Table Manners, what has been the most surprising revelation you’ve heard about food/food tastes?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I've learned that there is an actual name for people that can't stand hearing people chew - misophonia. I've also learned that there's actually something about coriander - as Clara Amfo calls it, the devil's herb - that gives people a reaction so it tastes like soap. Those are the biggest surprises. Kiefer Sutherland said that regarding table manners, you're supposed to wait if it's cold, but if it's warm you're not supposed to wait until everyone's got their food.

Not cricket

dothestrand asks

Do you listen to the Tailenders podcast, featuring your chum and fellow Alleyn’s alum, Felix White?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I should say I do because I adore Felix (and Greg) and I hear it's absolutely amazing, but I can't say I'm the biggest fan of cricket so it has somewhat passed me by.

NordicNoirHome asks

Would you ask Adele to do a Table Manners session? I would actually do anything for that to happen. Your humour and hers plus your mum is a win win recipe! (food pun intended)

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I'd die. The offer for Adele to come on Table Manners is absolutely open and there, we would love to have Adele on. I feel like we'd probably get a takeaway curry... I don't know what we'd cook her! Maybe we'd lay on the old Friday night dinner for Adele.

LyricalJoke asks

Do you think that being a bit of a gay icon has influenced your music/latest album?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Thank you very much, that's a big compliment. I think my LGBTQ+ following has allowed me to feel like I could have an element of fun on this record. My fans at my shows, I felt there was the need for more tempo. Absolutely that community has inspired this record partly, and I made it in anticipation to be able to play in front of my fans and have a lot of fun with them.

martinittoe adds

Will you attend any of the protests in England?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I went to the Hyde Park BLM protest last Saturday. There were amazing speakers - I was 11-year-olds speaking, a 19-year-old who organised it. I'm so impressed with these young activists. Somebody people should be following on Instagram is Imarn7170 - she is incredible. All the speakers were so brilliant. And I took my kid to the socially distanced Burgess Park one yesterday - I think it was Stand Up to Racism South London. We marched through Camberwell. I've been going to them on my own, but I thought it was important that my family came to the socially distanced one. I try and educate my son and daughter as much as possible about these injustices - she is three and a half. I think her being present and involved is important. But there's a pandemic - I understand why people would feel uncomfortable going. I feel it's necessary at the moment for me to attend.

martinittoe asks

Any chance of a collab soon? Sam Smith maybe?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Never say never! Sam Smith is such a great writer and singer. I'd love to be on a track with them.

Daniil_N asks

Hi Jessie! I’m your biggest fan in Russia. I’m wondering what’s your personal feelings about the First Time song. It’s my fav song of yours and it’s so deep and monumental, how did you write this? When? Will you perform it live again in upcoming tour?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I do love that one. Another 80s romcom moment for me. I remember very vividly writing that with Starsmith and James Newman. It was about me feeling really frustrated that my husband and I had lost a bit of our spark and enthusiasm for each other. It was a bit of a plea for us to make a bit more of an effort. We'd had our first child, we were tired, we'd forgotten a bit about each other.

CJ2020Now says

The big Q everybody is asking ... Will she make history and do a duet
with Róisín? Think about it!

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Oh my god, I am just waiting for the call, babe. Her recent singles are fucking amazing, she is so good. She is such a star and such an artist. I feel like I should always be a bit more Róisín.

Bantunation asks

You have a great bickering/bantering chemistry with your mum on Table Manners. What is your relationship like in real life?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Incredibly peaceful, quiet, respectful. It's all an act, basically. NO IT'S NOT A FUCKING ACT! It's probably even louder. That's us holding back and with an edit, mate. We usually do our bickering before the people arrive, I like to think. I like to think we hold it down somewhat when we have the guest. If it's an American they usually think it's quite cute and quaint when we say fuck.

Jessie with her mum Lennie Ware.
Jessie with her mum Lennie Ware. Photograph: Pål Hansen/The Observer


billyocean asks

Have you ever drunk from the gravy boat?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Is this regarding the Urban Dictionary definition? Absolutely not, and you are filthy. If it's regarding the Sunday roast definition, can't say I've drunk from the gravy boat...

Anhaga asks

What was it like working with Paul Buchanan (...any inside info on his next record)?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Oh my god, what a man. We wrote that song years ago. I think it was actually before my second record came out. It just never left me. I loved it. So yes, it was an absolutely pleasure to watch him work and hear him sing. I adore him. The reason that we brought it back for the third record was cos Hugo White was such a huge fan of the Blue Nile. I think it was scratching this itch of being so madly in love with him and the band. But I don't know when his next record's coming. Mid-Air is such a beautiful record. He's very gentle and sweet.

And jvckmids follows up with

Will there be a deluxe version of the album with more new tracks?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Probably if it does quite well and the label want to make money! I don't know! If there's an appetite for it, I guess? I quite like the demand for more music more regularly because it takes the stress, the pressure of the album away. Then you have to go away - why can't you keep making music and giving it to people when they want?

Keep dancing

jvckmids asks

With this album being a dance/club record, where do you think you’ll go next with your sound? Are we going to keep dancing?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I had this whole idea that I wanted to make the next record fully like the last song on the new album, and then I thought, actually I've just got everyone up dancing and I want to stay there for a bit. I think it'll be like this record, maybe a few BPM slower - when I think about playing it live I want as much material as possible that makes sense together. Otherwise people don't know what show they'll get, you know what I mean. This autumn, apart from potentially writing a new book, I'm enjoying the idea of hopefully going back into the studio to make more material. I don't think of it as a pressure. When I tour next year people will know this record so well that it will feel like the best reunion with friends.

JADELIPASSO012000 asks

What are the pros and cons for being signed to a major label or independent label based on your experience?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I think it's a blessing and a curse on all of them - there may be less pressure on an independent to reach a wider audience and that has been something I have struggled with wanting to satisfy cos I've never felt I am necessarily a pop artist. But then things seem to cost so much in the industry, whether it's photo shoots and things like that, I think having potentially more generous financial support of a major, I can't complain at all.

MYWORLD2014 asks

What’s Your Pleasure is my most anticipated album of the year by far! I cannot wait to see you live next year!! I was wondering what deep-cuts from your previous albums are your faves? For me, from Devotion it would be Something Inside; from Tough Love it would be Keep On Lying and from Glasshouse would be First Time - it’d be a dream if you were to at least do one of these on tour!!! Love you xxx

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Thank you. Deep cuts... I love Kind Of Sometimes Maybe... I never listen to my own music at all. Finish What We Started from the last record, I felt like it was from the end of an 80s coming of age teen film. Last of the True Believers that I did with Paul Buchanan and Hugo White from the Maccabees produced it. Stay Awake, Wait For Me - I just like the groove of it. I'm basically saying that I think Glasshouse was very underrated!

JayPeter says

Hi Jessie, can’t wait to hear the new record - Save A Kiss and Spotlight are both incredible. This album is a lot more clubby – there’s techno, disco, electro – I was wondering if you felt dance music, or club music, afforded you more freedom? And what would your ideal night out in a post-lockdown world consistent of?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

Absolutely. Although you're initially confined to a beat - or inspired by one - it was so freeing. I used to adore doing PAs of my SBTRKT tunes or Disclosure's remix of Running. I love the fact that there's a direction for people to dance or feel the music in a different way if you're potentially writing something less dancey. I like that call to action.

Ideal night out - the sweatiest of tiniest clubs. Everyone locked together with a host of DJs and it going on all night and hopefully being within walking distance. Socially distanced clubbing sounds as awful as a silent disco.

DWFan asks

What’s your favourite Pixar film?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I'm looking it up... if it was Disney, I'd say Moana, which I thought was Pixar. But if we're going proper Pixar, I think Up. It's heartbreaking but it's wonderful.


laulwebb asks

Hi Jessie! Love everything about your wonderful new record. As a fellow south Londoner I want to know what are your favourite places to drink / eat out down south?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I've recently moved back south and it feels, honestly, I don't know why I ever left it. I'm very excited to eat at 40 Maltby Street. I'm very much enjoying Ganapati for a takeaway. I'm yet to enjoy Babur or Smoky Kudu, which is a new cocktail place in Peckham. But I've been getting strong, regular delivery from Peckham Cellars for all my wine needs.

Coolio4143d asks

Can’t wait to hear the new record. Every single so far has been a smash! I’d imagine with the sound of your new album being quite different, your live shows may have a different feel this time around. Do you like the idea of having a show which balances the more intimate, soulful songs with these groovy pop bangers? Are there any particular changes you wanna make to the live show?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I think the beauty of this particular record is that I can essentially play with a DJ and backing singers if I want, or I could make it a full band. There's a big scope of how I can do it. That was the thing that was frustrating with the setup of the last record - I was having to say no to shows cos I couldn't afford to do it. I like the freeness of this, it's malleable, being able to perform this live - whether that's over the internet for you guys with a backing track. I think it'll be an interesting task that I'm very willing to undertake, how to integrate the slow moments of my other records and music that people have enjoyed of mine before. I think it'll be an exciting task but I think it'll have to be a moment within the show.

david_chippa says

Congratulations on your new record. As a black fan, I’m incredibly grateful that you pushed it back for Juneteenth. It means a lot.

You mentioned in previous interviews that, after Coachella a few years back, your mum Lennie said you should pack in music. What brought you back? Also, why did you decide your record was going to sound in this particular way - this really (frankly) sexy, fun mix of influences? How did you get to that place?

User avatar for jessieware Guardian contributor

I mean, just to clarify, which I'm sure my mum is watching this now, she never said to pack it in - I got it wrong. She said, "it was your bloody tour manager, I would never tell you to pack it in." So I'm in constant trouble cos my mum just berates me. What brought me back - those two weeks with James Ford and Shungudzo and Danny Parker where we made music and it just felt effortless and joyful.

As for influences, I got there through pure fantasy and desire! I needed to feel like I was almost reacting to the opposite of how I was living my life, however much I adore my life. I wanted to pretend that I could write about strangers meeting in clubs, the freeness of that, and it being escapist and fantasy-led. I'd never really explored flirtation through music and it was actually really, really fun and quite addictive. It feels almost like cheating but it's not, it's letting your mind go elsewhere.


Jessie is with us now.

Jessie Ware

We were so excited about the brilliant new Jessie Ware album that we jumped the gun and reviewed it a few weeks early. What’s Your Pleasure?, Ware’s fourth, is her best record to date: a return to the soulful club pop that made her name, with an even looser, more playful streak than first time around. It’s also the latest addition to the recent, excellent disco revival, with Ware joining Róisín Murphy, Dua Lipa and Robyn in keeping sequins on the agenda.

It’s finally out next week, so Ware will be taking part in a virtual webchat to answer questions from Guardian readers. As she’s admitted, many people may now be more familiar with her from Table Manners, the irreverent food podcast she hosts with her mum, Lennie, which has featured guests including Florence Pugh, the Haim sisters and Nigella Lawson. They’ve also just published their first cookbook. So whether you want to ask about Ottolenghi recipes, what to do with all that flour you panic-bought at the start of lockdown or Teena Marie deep cuts, Ware has the answers (possibly).

Post your questions in the comments and join us between 1-2pm BST on Monday 22 June. (This has changed from 12-1pm as previously stated.)

Jessie Ware: Save a Kiss – video



Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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