Fascination’s Peter Loraine and Sarah Jackson spoke to Music Week alongside Universal Music UK chairman and CEO David Joseph and former Virgin EMI president Ted Cockle about Ware’s campaign for What’s Your Pleasure? earlier this month. The album is out today, after being pushed back a week in honour of Juneteenth.
On the eve of the release, Ware told us that she’s happier than ever before in music. She began working with Fascination after parting ways with her previous manager after touring her 2017 album Glasshouse.
Here, we bring you an extract from our conversation with Loraine and Jackson, who expand on how they turned Table Manners into a business and the benefits a hit podcast can have.
How did you feel when you first met with Jessie?
Peter Lorraine: “Sometimes you can immediately conjure up a vision of what performances, videos and everything will be like and straight away I could imagine how the whole year of promoting the album could unfold. We had lots of chats about Studio 54, 70s disco music and the references she’s interested in, 70s disco music. I felt like it was a record I’d feel very excited to be part of. The other main strand to the conversation was that she’d started the podcast. It was in a little cult world I suppose, it was being talked about and people were really liking it. Her skill in making a great podcast was there, but she didn’t know how to turn it into any kind of business. One of the first things we did was put together a proper business plan and a forecast and a projection as to how we could turn it into something, we hadn’t done that before.”
Straight away, I could imagine how the whole year of promoting the album could unfold
Sarah Jackson: “It was exciting to get our heads around something we’d not worked on before that felt like it had legs. It felt like it could really go somewhere and do something, everyone that knew about it seemed to love it, so it felt like a huge opportunity was round the corner. It’s been really fun, we’ve learned so much. No one else we work with has a podcast yet…”
So have you seen a real uplift in Jessie’s profile?
PL: “Around 80,000 people come back to listen to each episode on day one and then as the week continues you can get up to 250,000 hits on an episode. There are a lot of new people aware of who she is now that perhaps weren’t when she released Glasshouse. She was recently interviewed by Graham Norton and there’s more to talk about, he’s heard her podcast as well as her record. It’s opening more doors.”
That must be useful...
PL: “With whatever artist it may be, however many years you want to go back, one of the things that always comes out is, ‘How do we get someone’s personality across?’ This is the absolute perfect, uncontrived way to do it. There she is each week and people are tuning in of their own accord, we’re not having to find other ways of doing that. That’s a dream, really.”
Where does Jessie sit in pop music today, then?
SJ: “The album is upbeat, it’s a record that you can really dance to and that makes it a record that more people will listen to. She’s so proud of it and has been since the day we met, and I admire that. She’s got such a strong opinion on how the videos should look and what song should go next. She does what she really believes in and we support her.”
PL: “It has mass appeal. It doesn’t sit in one box and I like that. One of the targets on this record is to grow her and that is definitely possible. If you look at the size of the podcast and the amount of people who listen to it around the world, it’s an exercise in connecting those dots. We have real high hopes and we’ve been given a great record to work with. It’s a fresh start for her in many ways, so to be part of that is very exciting.”
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