Friday, 27 July 2012

Totally devoted: the London soul of Jessie Ware

First published in Loud And Quiet

In the video for 'Running', the velveteen R&B single released by Jessie Ware earlier this year, the slinkily attired singer throws diva shapes from under a monument of lustrous black hair, framed by a red stage curtain and gold leather upholstery. It's preposterously opulent, and coupled with an invitation to interview her at a chichi Clapham restaurant, your correspondent was half-expecting the full Diva Experience – two hours late, no eye contact, untouched salads, PR bod present to oversee proceedings, the whole drill.

But at precisely the allotted time, Jessie Ware bursts into the premises with the biggest grin, firmest handshake and shiniest hair you could hope to encounter in a nascent pop star. She's just come from a video interview around Brixton Market, which took a turn for the strange when a tramp wandered into the frame and “put his cap on my head,” she says wide-eyed.

“So I said to him, I'm really sorry, but I'm not having you put some nit cap on my head. I hate to be a diva but I need to wash my hair now.” In the next 40 minutes that's the only sign of anything approaching diva behaviour from this Clapham-born girl, whose self-deprecating humour, silly faces and quickfire chatter are instantly endearing and sadly impossible to replicate on the page.