One of my favorite stories of 2012 was about soul music. We got super-tight records from people like Miguel, R. Kelly, Bobby Womack, Frank Ocean, and, a favorite of mine, Jessie Ware. She’s a young white Brit woman who sings like Sade, Lisa Stansfield or Whitney Houston. Her debut album, Devotion, came out last August and wowed me (I put it in my Top 10 Records of the Year list – #6, in fact) and many thousands over. Being pretty unknown until this summer, she really only came to the US digitally. The record was released in the UK via Island/PMR, but Cherrytree Records signed her in America with a December release of a digital/physical EP called 110%.
Funny thing about “110%” as a song, is that it is a bit of a punk on Big Pun; Ware found herself in a licensing disagreement with the posthumous Big Pun camp because of a sample her and her producer riffed on (”Dream Shatterer“). So what did she do? Twerked it a little to remove the lyric and named an EP after the track. Of the five songs on the record, there’s four from Devotion and a cover of Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love”. Bold, young lady.
She stopped in at Jimmy Fallon this week and performed with The Roots to give a pretty stirring performance of “Wildest Moments” – her US TV debut. She’s doing press for the release of another EP, which is on Spotify, called If You’re Never Gonna Move, a stellar track from her debut. In a brief but potent mini-tour she booked only six dates, one in Philadelphia. I’d like to think that my plea for her to visit Philly worked, but Union Transfer’ll happily host her sultry slide down the east coast before she bops over to California.
It’s a tiny bit weird to get repackaged Devotion tracks in the form of EPs, but in the meantime, we can try to enjoy sleek remixes and covers before there’s another new LP. Like this KILLER Joe Goddard (from Hot Chip) version of “Night Light.”
This is a big show, folks, and it’s moments like these when you wonder why this show’s not sold out and shows like Quicksand and Converge sell out way in advance. No shade, though. (To be real: I’m not surprised the Desaparecidos show’s sold out. Damn, that’s a boat I missed.)