English pop-R&B singer Jessie Ware rarely gets flustered: “I’m a Jewish princess. I was a Jewish princess before the first album, and I’m still one now,” she says.
But the 30-year-old, who appears in San Francisco next week, was at a loss for words when she met real royalty earlier this month. Bumping into Britain’s Prince William at an event designed to promote British commercial interests in Shanghai, she managed to nervously blurt, “I’ve got a new dog. What shall I name him?”
After he christened her French bulldog puppy Stanley, the pampered pooch now has over 3,600 Instagram followers. “By royal appointment,” the account says. Unflappable Ware is usually the go-to source for smooth, seductive love songs, which appear on her Mercury Prize-nominated 2012 debut “Devotion” and last fall’s sleeker followup, “Tough Love.” Dana Santo, music director for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film, pounced on a “Tough” outtake called “Meet Me in the Middle” for its soundtrack.
Ware doesn’t overthink her lyrics. She listens to casual conversations and jots down phrases she enjoys. “That’s the most relatable – the real things coming out of people’s mouths. Those are the feelings I’m going for,” she says.
Ware penned much of “Tough Love” while temporarily residing in Los Angeles, where she haunted the Chateau Marmont like a tourist and ogled film stars. In the studio, she teamed up with longtime chums Benny Blanco, Dave Okumu, Ben Ash and James Ford, and – for co-writers – Ed Sheeran (“Say You Love Me”) and The XX’s Romy Madley-Croft (“Share it All”).
“These are memories that I’m making, so why would I want memories of absolute dickheads?” she says. “So as long as you can surround yourself with brilliant people, I prefer to do that.”
While Ware was recording, she was quoted as saying that she wanted to get “Tough Love” out of her system before her wedding last September to childhood beau Sam Burrows on the secluded Greek isle of Skopelos.
“I talk a lot of shit,” she says, post nuptials. “But yeah, I think it was time to be retrospective and to enjoy this moment, of being so excited about committing to somebody forever. So I was looking outside my relationship at other people’s relationships, and their different feelings.”
In her songs, the composer was suitably smooth. “You and I (Forever)” is an unabashed ode to Burrows.
But at his romantic Greek-mountaintop proposal, she was less princess-like. “I nearly ruined it by being bossy,” she says. “Even before he asked me, I snatched the ring out of that box, put it on my finger, and said ‘Yeah!’ I’m impatient. What can I say?’”
IF YOU GO
Where: Zellerbach Hall, 101 Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
When: 8 p.m. April 7
Contact: (510) 642-9988. www.ticketmaster.com