If you ask her, Jessie Ware isn't a Christian Grey or an Anastasia Steele. But when it came time to write a song for the kinky characters of "Fifty Shades of Grey," she fit right in with both of them.
Ware's song, "Meet Me In The Middle," plays as Ana and Christian walk in on her roommate and his brother making out, a bit of a goofy scene, but the track is actually about making compromises in a fading relationship. However sad "Meet Me In The Middle" might be, its placement in "Fifty Shades" is uplifting with its bluesy, sensual guitar line highlighting the sexual tension that exists between the characters. That's something exciting for Ware, who hoped her song would make one of the more intimate scenes. She hasn't seen the movie yet, due to touring, but she has been keeping her fingers crossed.
"I'm hoping it's a sexy scene. I bet it's not, but I hope it is," Ware tells me. I slip her the bad news. "I didn't make a sex scene. I'm gutted!"
On the soundtrack, "Meet Me In The Middle" sits underneath The Weeknd's "Earned It," a similarly vibed slow-jam. Ware loves the juxtaposition of the songs and explains that a slower tempo has a lot to do with the sexiness of the song. Certainly, the raunchy guitar enhances the passion of the track, but the steady hi-hat hits build excitement, while her layered R&B melody allows you to relax. You can easily imagine Anastasia surrendering her heart as the swelling strings take over.
Ware originally wrote the soothing track for her sophomore album, Tough Love. She didn't have Ana and Christian in mind while penning it and describes a slightly less thrilling writing session: "I kind of wrote it just writing for my album in the living room in a very, very unsexy situation, like I was eating and writing sad songs." Although it didn't make it onto Tough Love, "Fifty Shades" music director Dana Santo and the team accepted it for their project. They were searching for love songs that would make you melt -- rather than songs that order you to get down. ("We got plenty of those," Santo told me a day earlier, laughing about the soundtrack's dirtier submissions. "Those came in left and right.")
As a result, "Meet Me In The Middle" is right at home on the "Fifty Shades" soundtrack, giving Anastasia and Christian fuel to keep doing what they do best.
As for Jessie, she'll be playing the song, along with her current single "Say You Love Me," on tour, where she's supporting Tough Love. Catch her here:
3/31 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
4/1 New York, NY @ Terminal 5
4/3 Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
4/4 Toronto, ON @ Danforth Hall
4/6 Chicago, IL @ Metro
4/7 Berkeley, CA @ Zellerbach Hall
4/8 Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern