Some artists have taken the pandemic lockdown as an opportunity to relax, or to drift into deep self-reflection, but not British dance-pop diva Jessie Ware. The 35-year-old mother of two has been busy, anchoring the third season of “Table Manners,” the popular food-themed podcast she tapes with her mother, Lennie; hawking the new “Table Manners: The Cookbook”; protesting for Black Lives Matter on London streets; and promoting her new feel-good solo album “What’s Your Pleasure?,” a deliberate return to the thumping house and techno music of her club-hopping past.
How are you doing?
I guess I just feel inspired, I feel creative, I feel, well, desperate to make more music and write. I had a record to put out, and I had to think fast about how I wanted to present it, and I have this wonderful, wonderful job that is the podcast, so I keep being given more and more opportunities, so I’m taking them, enjoying them, and seizing the moment as much as possible.
You’ve always had a fabulous mane. How has lockdown been treating it?
I’ve gone very gray, because I haven’t had anybody dye my hair for awhile. I don’t know if it looks cool, but it’s not bad. And also, my hair stylist told me a load of products to buy so that I can basically do a limited amount of hairdos at home. So I just kind of slick mine back now with some greasy hair products, and — Bob’s your uncle! — there you have it.
Are you pulling that hair out now trying to keep your children entertained?
I’ve got a 3 1/2, nearly 4-year-old, daughter and I’ve got a little boy that’s 15 months. And you know what? My daughter is amazing, she’s brilliant. And to be fair, I feel like this time has been incredibly precious with my family, because usually I would’ve been here, there and everywhere promoting a record. And this time around, we are stuck all together in a house. And don’t get me wrong — my nanny’s come back now for a couple of days a week, and she’s super helpful. So right now, as I speak to you, my kids are playing in the garden with our nanny, and I’m sitting here hiding from them — as much as I adore them — in our bedroom. And we’ll have pizza after this and we’ll hang out, but I’ve gotten quite used to making music videos at home whilst nap time is going on, and doing TV performances in my daughter’s bedroom with a smoke machine that my son thought was a sensory toy. We just crack on.
New songs like “Save a Kiss” and “Ooh La La” are the perfect feel-good panacea that people need right now, right?
Yeah, absolutely. I needed this record. As much as I thought my fans needed it, I needed to make this record for me, because it reminded me of how much I could really enjoy myself making music again. I was in a bit of a funny spot with music. I was having this really great time with my podcast, and I just needed to get that enjoyment out of music again. So it worked out an absolute treat. It’s just a shame that I can’t tour it for bloody ages. But I had a BBC Radio One show for a bit and that was really cool. And I cohosted that really respected TV music show, “Later …. with Jools Holland,” and I adored doing it. I didn’t really appreciate the brilliant things that were happening at the beginning of my career because I was so petrified and nervous. So now I’m just trying to really enjoy myself.
You’ve had an amazing list of guest stars on “Table Manners,” starting with your friend Sam Smith and including George Ezra, Nigella Lawson, even Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.
My mom is a great cohost, too, and I didn’t actually appreciate how much people would enjoy the intergenerational aspects of it all. My mom is such a force of nature, and now everybody’s just mad about my mother. We put out this cookbook that did really well, because people have had the time to cook. But I didn’t realize how obsessed people were as obsessed with food as I was — I thought I was just this weird person who enjoyed talking about it!