Wiping off the makeup and baring her emotions, Jess Glynne recently released her second album, Always In Between. I gave it a quick listen, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting my initial reaction to it. Beyond obviously acknowledging the well-written album and its catchy melodies and stunning vocals, my deep emotions stirred around a bit. Glynne opened up her heart and touched issues that every young woman, like myself, faces and shed some light on the parts we often try to hide. Co-penned with Ed Sheeran, one of my favorite singles is “Thursday,” talking about vulnerability. It’s no secret Glynne is an admirable female, taking her power back from all insecurities and fears. Between speaking to her over the phone and listening to this new album, I can confidently say she is touching the hearts of people everywhere. Make sure you catch her on her upcoming 2019 North American tour, and read more in our Fall 2018 issue!
What’s been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned on your journey?
I’ve learned to say no. You get carried away, especially at the beginning, with everything going on around you. You want to do everything and think if you miss an opportunity, it’s the end of you career or the end of the world. I think people forget they are human beings and need to look out for themselves. That’s one thing I didn’t realize at the beginning, and I ended up having to get an operation on my vocal chords. That could have been the biggest detriment to me and my career. I had to learn to look after myself and to use the word “no” appropriately.
Has there ever been a moment where a project didn’t go as well as you anticipated? If so, how did you mentally pick yourself up and carry on from that moment?
The only thing that didn’t go as well as I had hoped was the video for “Right Here”. It was a very early song I released. Me and my friend had a vision for it and the label didn’t get it. They didn’t trust us. My best mate is my creative director now, and she is always involved in everything we do creatively. I guess at the beginning, the trust wasn’t there because they didn’t know what we were capable of. Putting that video together was a real challenge because it was the first one we ever did. I remember turning off the video at the end and saying, “I’m leaving, I can’t do this.” It wasn’t what I wanted, and it was completely wrong. We ended up making do and working with what we had. Of course, those things take so much money. It was the one thing that never turned out right. It didn’t break my confidence. It made me think, “I won’t ever allow that to happen again.” I needed to trust my gut and push forward with what I believe in and not let anyone else take control of that.
You’ve had an enormous amount of #1 singles. How do you constantly keep pushing your creativity and ability?
If I’m honest, I don’t know. It’s not strategic, and I don’t plan it. When it comes to writing and being creative, you can’t just sit down and make yourself do it. For example, I started writing an album in the beginning of 2017. I was away for 7 weeks and writing with so many different people. But I got lost, and I don’t think any of those songs I wrote made it onto my new album. I wasn’t ready. It’s part of it. You have to feel like you’re in a place where you have lived. You live on the road, but in a way, it isn’t real life. It’s not everyday life. You have to have time to be home and go to the park, go to the bar, go to a restaurant, hang out with friends, watch a movie, eat takeaway. That’s the part in it of itself that vamps the creativity.
Through the ups and downs of life and this industry, how have you been your biggest supporter, and how have you learned to love yourself?
That’s a really hard question because sometimes you love yourself and sometimes you don’t. I’m my biggest critic. I guess I’ve learned to appreciate what I do know is knowing we all have our imperfections. In this industry, people want a picture and to see you and put you on a platform. You are constantly being watched. It makes you feel insecure and doubt how you look, especially with all the perfect-looking people. There’s definitely been times where I’ve felt like shit about myself. You have to remind yourself that’s not real and we all feel shit sometimes. We all get tired, and we all get angry. That’s how I’ve learned to accept who I am as a person. Those things aren’t bad things, they are just part of me. Maybe I am impatient and I have flaws, but I am me. I’m happy with it because no matter how much you beat yourself up about it, it isn’t going to change.
Your music has a lot of different sounds. What artists do you pull inspiration from?
I find comfort in Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse, and it brings me to a less anxious place and reminds me of growing up. It reminds me of why I love music.
How do you hope your music inspires other artists?
I hope it inspires people to realize there are no boundaries and to be free and to be themselves. There’s no limit on what we do, but work hard because none of it comes easily.
What was one fear you had at the beginning of your music career that you’ve conquered now?
I think just being me. I feared people not accepting me as a human being.
What’s one small thing you do every day to better yourself?
I always make sure I take time for myself, whether morning or evening. I take a moment for myself and don’t look at my phone. It helps me mentally.
If you had to hand over your songwriting abilities to someone else in your life and they had to write a song for you, who would you choose?
My dad, definitely my dad.
What’s one song you wish you had written first?
That’s a tricky one. Probably “Halo” by Beyonce and Ryan Tedder.
STORY ELIZABETH STAFFORD
PHOTOS NADINE IJEWERE
Read more in print and digital: Volume III, Issue No. 004 – Fall 2018.Like this