Jess Glynne: “I need music all the time”

Chart records and streaming success are Jess Glynne’s reality right now, but the world hasn’t really got to know who this British pop queen is yet. She has taken herself to the top just by releasing excellent songs. We met up with Jess Glynne to find out more about her and the open hearted hits she’s making.

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Jess Glynne’s debut album “I Cry When I Laugh” should be mandatory listening for everyone with a broken heart. With productions that are both modern and timeless at the same time, she tells a story in 13 tracks about how rain always is followed by sunshine.

– I think it’s important to see the light when you’re feeling shit. We all go through hard times and it feels like it’s gonna stay like that, but you get through it. When people say “time heals everything”, you think “no it doesn’t, I just wanna feel fine again”. 

“I came here with a broken heart that no one else could see, I drew a smile upon my face to paper over me”. Those aren’t just the first lines of the song “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”, but also the state Jess Glynne was in when she started making the album. “I Cry When I Laugh” turned out to be a fitting title for many reasons.

– Firstly because I do cry when I laugh, and I always wanted to call my album a fact about me. And after the two years of writing it, getting to the point that I am in now, it makes more sense than ever. This is an album of hope. I started it in a place of sadness and tears, and ended it in a place of pure happiness.

Right now, Jess Glynne has all the reasons to be happy. In her home country the UK, she recently broke the record for a British solo female artist on the single’s chart, nailing her fifth number one track with “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”. There is no doubt that people are connecting with her, and having listeners relate to the songs is a very emotional thing for Jess Glynne. It was Amy Winehouse, who lived just down the street from where Glynne grew up in North London, that inspired her to make music that meant something.

I only write songs out of life experience. I did “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” when I came through with feeling shit, and realized that I had actually taught myself a lesson the way I dealt with my heartbreak and feeling rubbish. I had taken on what was positive in my life, drawn a smile on my face and got through it without beating myself up. Writing that song was a bit of therapy really.

Besides being an emotional outlet, songwriting is also a craft to Jess Glynne who has always paid attention to the structure of songs. As a kid she could listen to for example “Hero” with Mariah Carey, write down all the parts and lyrics and simply make her own version from that template. A bit more of an unexpected and yet somehow obvious influence of Jess Glynne’s sound and song structure is is hip hop.

– I love listening to rap because of their melodies. It’s not like a songwriter’s way of writing. If you listen to the way a rap is put together, the flow is so different and that’s how I like to write. Also, I love the lyrical content. Eminem for example, the stuff he talks about is so deep. I love the idea of songs coming from somewhere personal, and a lot of rap music does that.

Does music have a different purpose to you depending on what place in your life you are in?

– I think so, but I need music all the time. I love it when I feel good and I love it when I feel sad. Then I want something to give me a nudge and strength.

What’s your favourite uplifting song?

“I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers. I heard it years ago, my parents was playing loads of their stuff. I heard that song and just fell in love with it. It’s almost like a jam, the structure is all over the place and it’s sounds like they were just feeling it that day. I love that it’s a song but it’s not a song. It always makes me feel good.

 

Listen to Jess Glynne’s album “I Cry When I Laugh”: