Published Oct 21, 2014Jessie Ware is a happy newlywed with a brand new album called Tough Love, which arrives today (October 21) via PMR/Island. Naturally, this raises a few eyebrows. Why would someone write an album of sad love songs and name it Tough Love when they just married their childhood sweetheart? To Ware, it makes complete sense: she's a storyteller.
"Everyone kind of says, 'Now that you're married how will you write another album?' And it's like, 'Well, I just wrote an album while I was engaged and I haven't been unhappy ever, really,'" she tells Exclaim! "Songwriting is storytelling and there is an art in that. It doesn't necessarily have to be my story, it can be somebody else's. And if that means that it's relatable, then why does it matter?"
Ware admits that some of her songs are based on her own life, but singing tear-stained ballads are her bread and butter, so she feels observing experiences around her or simply making them up can be just as effective as autobiographical content. Still, she knows what Tough Love is.
"For me, I love my job, but sometimes it pulls me away from what I adore the most," Ware explains. "And sometimes it gets in the way of being able to have a proper relationship. There's frustration, but I wouldn't change my life. I love what I do. So it's this tension between that and trying to balance it for me. This thing I love takes me away from who I love equally or even more."
Following up her phenomenally successful debut album, 2012's Mercury Prize-nominated Devotion, Ware chose to work with a number of different artists and producers to help her get the best results. Having names like R&B superstar Miguel (on album track ""Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe"), indie soul virtuoso Dev Hynes ("Want Your Feeling") and acoustic balladeer Ed Sheeran attached also didn't hurt. But for Ware, making sure Tough Love had the consistency of her debut was of the utmost importance.
"For me it really meant that I had to be in control of what I was doing," she says. "But also put my trust in other people. I had to be more decisive though and know what I wanted. I'm sure that frustrated some of the producers at some point, but in the end I think it made more sense."
Ware, though, feels the biggest difference between her two albums isn't the big names involved but how much more you hear of her. Putting her voice so dominantly into the mix, she says, was an important way for the music to evolve.
"Some of the production is more stripped back and there's more space in my voice, which was a bit scary for me at the beginning," she admits. "I'm just experimenting. Hopefully this isn't going to be my last record. And in different stages in my life and career, this is the kind of music I want to make for this album. But I think it's opened up my voice to my audience. There's more to hear."
As previously reported, Ware is taking Tough Love on a series of North American fall dates, including a stop in Toronto on October 26. You can see all the stops here.
Read more from our recent interview with Ware here.