Preview: Jessie Ware
The Prague debut of one of the bigger, better things to happen to music in a while
Posted: March 13, 2013
With her first album out just last year, Ware is already receiving comparisons to some of the legends in her genre.
If you think you haven't heard of the British soul-pop singer Jessie Ware, you'll have one of those moments when you hear her "Wildest Moments," and, yeah, you can't place the boutique, aren't sure which shade of neon that lounge was lit, but it's definitely a hit you couldn't have missed. That one makes for an accessible radio introduction, and all the rest is pretty good, too - file under "If you like Sade."
So, when the 28-year-old, who was nominated for both best breakthrough act and best female solo artist at the Brit Awards last month, at long last makes it to Prague for a March 21 gig at Palác Akropolis, you can maybe expect some teens, but little bop. In a business where soul is often thrown around - and might as well be thrown out - Ware is the real deal, in music and in message.
"Trace the seams of Devotion and you'll find the drum pads of early Manchester electronica, the electric piano of midtempo Whitney Houston, the echo-chamber kick of the Jesus and Mary Chain, brassy vocal overlays from '90s girl groups such as SWV and whirring hi-hats and drop-pitch samples from the bleeding edge of underground music in 2012," The Guardian's Sam Wolfson wrote when the UK newspaper named her debut record the No. 3 album of last year. "On songs such as 'Still Love Me,' you can still hear the joins, elements falling into place, alchemising into something spectacular as the song develops. Elsewhere, as on '110%,' it's almost unfathomable how such lightness of touch and sparsity could produce such an absolute banger. Ware brought disparate fragments together to make something almost seamless."
The Guardian placed Devotion just behind Visions by the multi-instrumentalist Grimes and ahead of releases by the established acts Dirty Projectors and The xx. Last month, the Brit Awards awarded the singer-songwriter Ben Howard the breakthrough prize, and the solo artist award went to the vocalist Emeli Sandé - to give an idea of the competition, Amy Winehouse, Bat for Lashes and Paloma Faith were the other nominees - which has got to smart, but it's not bad company to be in for a newcomer.
When: Thursday, March 21, at 8
Where: Palác Akropolis
Tickets: 495 Kč
Jessie Ware is coming new to Prague, too. Tickets won't likely last.
Milan Gagnon can be reached at