A diverse handful of guest appearances and solo singles across 2010 and 2011 situated Jessie Ware in a line of remarkable soul-inspired U.K. vocalists, including Tracey Thorn, Sade, Lisa Stansfield, and Caron Wheeler. Ware, a native of South London, England, arrived with background vocals for Man Like Me and Jack Peñate and took the lead on RackNRuin's "Soundclash," where she revealed a voice powerful enough to be heard and felt over a frantic, breakbeat-driven production. By the end of 2010, she issued "Nervous," a collaboration with SBTRKT. The following year was even more productive. Her first 2011 release was "Valentine," a sighing/swooning duet with vocalist/producer Sampha. It was followed by two appearances on SBTRKT's self-titled album, one of which — the garage/broken beat hybrid "Sanctuary" — also featured Sampha. "The Vision," the title track on dubstep producer Joker's 4AD debut, was the most impressive showcase for Ware yet, and she closed out the year with another solo single, "Strangest Feeling," a somewhat emotionally wrenching track produced by the Invisible's Dave Okumu. Okumu and Julio Bashmore collaborated with Ware for the singer's first release of 2012, the plush sophisti-pop single "Running."
An album, Devotion, followed on Island that August. It debuted at number five in the U.K. and was shortlisted for the 2012 Mercury Prize. In 2014, after extensive touring and recording, Ware released the singles "Tough Love" and "Say You Love Me," the latter of which was a collaboration with Ed Sheeran. The album Tough Love followed that October and featured production work from Benny Blanco (Maroon 5, Katy Perry). The effort reached number nine on the U.K. album chart, marking Ware's second Top Ten release. In 2014 Jessie also contributed vocals to Nicki Minaj's song "The Crying Game," for which she also received a songwriting credit. She returned in July 2017 with "Midnight," the first single from her third record, Glasshouse, which arrived in the fall of that year. The release continued Ware's work with Blanco and featured new collaborations with songwriters such as Pop Wansel, Ryan Tedder, and Cashmere Cat. Produced by James Ford and Bicep's Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar, Ware issued the one-off single "Overtime" in 2018. ~ Andy Kellman