The Journey That Transcends Musical Soul
One thing about singer-songwriter Jess Glynne is that her vocals are undeniable, and her music has been able to transcend genres, which is sometimes hard to do. She’s worked with electronic bands like Clean Bandit, hip-hop artists like Macklemore, and R&B singer PARTYNEXTDOOR. This versatility has helped her tremendously and is largely the reason why she has so many Number One hits (she holds the record as the only female solo singer with the most Number One singles on the British charts).
However, surprisingly, she shares that she doesn’t “really think about it too much,” adding that she doesn’t write songs to be Number One, but instead, she focuses on writing great music that she loves. On another note, Glynne can’t really listen to too many other artists either while focusing on her own music. But she has enjoyed Eminem’s new records and Kanye West’s music. She also likes to listen to H.E.R., an R&B newcomer who also boasts powerhouse vocals. As for general inspirations, she enjoys other neo-soul artists like Musiq Soulchild and Erykah Badu. While she’s been very busy for over three years traveling the world performing all over Europe and in other countries, her to-do list includes this goal: crossing over to the U.S. (Glynne checked Coachella off her bucket list in 2015.)
Regardless, the 29-year-old artist has been making waves in the U.K. for some time now. Back in 2014, she was featured on “Rather Be,” a poppy-electronic tune that gains some depth with her soulful voice (the song won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording). It’s no surprise that Glynne credits Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston as some of her biggest inspirations. She realized she had a voice at age “7-ish,” which is pretty young for anyone to realize the impact of their voice, but she knew her skills would lead her on the right path.
Before venturing on her present career path, though, Glynne had a series of odd jobs that didn’t quite work out the way she hoped. She worked at PPL, a licensing agency, for a while before they terminated her for taking too many bathroom trips. Now, she is making her own music as a recording artist with Atlantic Records. She released her first studio album in 2015. The album, aptly titled I Cry When I Laugh, featured a mix of pop, rock, and soulful tunes that translate to music lovers in all genres.
Her debut album has spent an astounding 148 weeks on the British charts, debuting at Number One. The album went on to sell 12 million singles and garner nominations from the BRIT Awards, MTV EMAs, and MOBO Awards.
On her new album Always In Between, Glynne incorporates more of her life story into her music with the help of some of her team. For this album, she decided to travel to the English countryside for a week and work with some musicians that inspired her. She believes the process was very “natural and organic” which led to some “nice, creative, good music.” However, the entire process wasn’t always so smooth. When she went into the studio in 2017 to start working on her sophomore album, she felt the process was “imbalanced” as she says that she made some “amazing songs but they weren’t quite right.” Some of the imbalance was probably due to the fact that she was working “with different people every day,” which may have caused a bit of dysfunction. Therefore, she decided to take things into her own hands and gather up a group of people she really connected with in order to create a record she felt comfortable with. She believes the process brought the best out of her as an artist, which was an “amazing experience.” It's also worth mentioning that when she looks at the current world situation, things are “a bit weird, and pretty sh*tty things are going on” at the moment but she believes that we all need to keep doing what’s right and focus on the positive things in life. That said, the first single off the album, “I'll Be There,” is actually the last song she wrote for the album – a heartfelt tune that champions love, support and comfort.
Writer: Leonye McCalla
Photographer: Bella Kotak
Photographer Assistant: Indy Sagoo
Stylist: Avigail Collins
Stylist Assistant: Fliss Rudd
Hair: Beth Kucic
Makeup: Jo Frost
Videographer: Wayne Lennon
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Abbey Road Studios (@abbeyroadstudios - www.abbeyroad.com)