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Hopelessly Devoted: Jessie Ware on

Just three years ago Ware was an aspiring documentarian, much like her father, a BBC journalist with a full-time job as a P.A. to a TV company director. Then fate stepped in: Her old pal, singer-songwriter Jack Peñate, invited her to sing backup on a BBC Session “as a favour,” then later on his U.S. tour. “ It was a lot better than being at my job!” she says. “And even if singing didn’t work out, I’d get to see America.” It worked out: “[The tour] gave me courage,” Ware says, and she went on to sing with London’s genre-mashing, joke-genius troupe Man Like Me, and soon with masked DJ-production duo SBTRKT. “I was completely nervous and freaking out.” She and SBTRKT released the track “Nervous” in 2010 on Numbers Records, scoring some radio play. A development deal followed. “I managed to give the gift of gab to an A&R guy,” she says. “He offered me money to be a singer, and you don’t say no to that.”

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