Soulful U.K. pop songstress Jessie Ware’s taxing case of writer’s block in early 2016 even prompted her longtime friend and producer Benny Blanco to tell her she lost herself and needed to rediscover the ease of her Mercury-Prize-nominated 2012 debut “Devotion.” She eventually did, via a surprising source of inspiration: pregnancy, and then the birth of her daughter in September 2016. She dubbed her confessional new album “Glasshouse,” she says, “because it’s this thing that can easily shatter, and I have that feeling constantly being a new mother; it definitely took a while to adjust.”
Did you have a first birthday party for your daughter?
Yes, and it was pretty big, to be honest. I don’t know if it was as big a deal for everyone else, though. My husband said, “She’s only a year old, she’s not going to remember any of this!” And I said, “I don’t give a s— I want unicorns! Unicorns on the cakes, and all of her little friends from the day care she attends!” So we had entertainment, everyone singing “Yellow Submarine,” and balloon art. It was mental!
You had entertainment?
Yes. Mr. Frog Prince, who is the guy that she goes to every week. He’s like a one-man band, and he sings all the classic hit stuff, from “Old McDonald” to “Five Little Frogs.” She loves him, and he’s actually given her rhythm, because she is so good at shaking maracas now. Mr. Frog Prince also does this massive intro that feels like you’re at Glastonbury. He plays harmonica while playing piano and drumming, and all the kids listen. And he even did Nirvana. On the ukulele. He’s that good.
And judging by great new tracks like “Midnight,” “Selfish Love” and “Sam” — the closing ballad you co-wrote with Ed Sheeran about your husband, Sam Burrows — you’ve found your voice again.
Yeah. And it’s been a bit of a wild year, I guess. I felt like I couldn’t afford to be taking an extended maternity leave, because it had been a while since my last record (“Tough Love,” 2014), and I felt like I had a lot to prove. I thought I could be everywhere, do everything, be a really good mom and also write a really good album, and be exhausted and highly emotional all the time. So somehow, I got through it, and I’ve got an album that I’m really proud of now. But I’m most proud of my little girl, who just makes me laugh every day.
Has Mr. Frog Prince heard “Glasshouse” yet?
No, but I am thinking about bringing him a copy. He might find something on it to cover!
IF YOU GO
Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 1
Tickets: $25 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 771-1421, www.ticketfly.comBenny BlancoDevotionEd SheeranGlasshouseJessie WareMidnightPop MusicSelfish Love