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Alice Gee |28/04/2024

Jess Glynne is back feeling better than ever. Following a hiatus prioritising her health and the back of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was a well-deserved break after 9 years of nonstop writing, touring and being in the public eye. For Jess this period of rest has set a green light when moving into a new era of music, a self-confessed moment to breathe. With an accolade of awards to her name being a Grammy Award winning singer with two studio albums under her belt Jess is ready to talk about everything in between from loss, love and boundaries to her new self-titled album, Jess.



ALICE: You're bringing out new music, you've had a couple of years hiatus. What was important about taking that time for you? Has it felt good to reset? 


 JESS: Sometimes with writing, there's always that block and I find that I can't write if I don't know what's going on or where I'm at. The plan was never to have such a long break, it just kind of happened that way. I came off the road in 2019, and I needed a break, I was just so exhausted from touring, from performing, from the studio, from everything, and it had been seven years of nonstop. Then COVID happened and I changed my teams. I can't even believe it's been that much time at this stage. I think I needed a break at the beginning, but then I would obviously be invigorated and inspired but there were loads of obstacles. Being on the road and everything going on was super exciting, everything took off super quick, and then I was hitting everywhere. It was incredible. I had all this success, and I had a toe in around the world. It catches up with you at a certain point, and then not finding structure and balance and all those kinds of things is what is difficult. For me it just got to that point where it's been so long that I hadn't had a light moment for myself, so at the end of that world tour in 2019, it wasn't that I was sick of any of it in a negative way. It was more like I needed a moment for myself to breathe. 


ALICE: It must have been strange, coming off it all and then going to the polar opposite.  - you went into the polar opposite with everything shutting down during lockdown. 


JESS:  Having that moment to be, I don't have anyone calling on me for work and they couldn't call on me for it, so I didn't feel guilty. For me saying no to work or not turning up is my hardest thing. I think that's what I struggled with massively, not being able to avoid or not do work. 

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ALICE: We cover culture, mental health, and we talk a lot about it. I think we forget about all the contributing factors that goes into those things, and environmental things, being one of them, let alone pressures of the industry. Did you find that in your time off?  


JESS: I think I didn't feel pressured to be creative; I knew that I was going to be taking that time anyway, so I think for me, I didn't, at the beginning, feel that way. I think I enjoyed actually making my house a home just doing me- cooking and actually just living normally, the only thing I could do was walk, and be a little homebody, which I really enjoyed. It wasn't until the end of a lot of downtime; I started to feel inspired again and wanted to start creating. I started to try to teach myself how to produce.


ALICE: Having so many eyes on you, being in the public eye- how do you manage the pressures of people always having an input, the eyes constantly on you?  


JESS: It's a really complex question. There are so many elements, there's such an incredible part to it, the excitement, the payoff, living and breathing and doing, what it is you've always dreamt of doing. The fame side of it, for me, has always been  the hardest part especially being a woman with all eyes on you, judging. There are all these aspects of it at the beginning, that I didn't necessarily notice so much. It wasn't until I started to burn out and I was ill and people were just treating me like a product, and then all of a sudden, my voice was gone, and I couldn't sing. It's those moments where it's okay I really need to re-evaluate how I'm working. It takes its toll. The pressures of the press and being criticised for every little thing. I've been quite fortunate in my career. I've had some moments, early on and then, I guess, towards taking a break, there were a few moments that 100% set me back. You can't make a mistake without the whole world jumping down your throat. But then those moments that are really tough to teach you. How do I want to be in the public eye? How do I want to present myself, and how do I want to interact with my fans and the world? There's been so many elements that I've had to juggle with. I think I'm actually in the best place I've been now but that's after doing a lot of therapy and having a lot of changes put in place. I had a really tragic loss in my life that sent me back again. But from that loss, I've done a lot of work. There are so many different elements. But the public eye and being in the spotlight constantly definitely make it harder to find the balance but then again, it's a beautiful thing, at the same time, when people are celebrating you. 


ALICE: Grief in itself isn't really talked about a lot and there's this idea that it's very linear, and it just passes, and I don't think that's the case. I think when you have so many eyes on you and opinions of input on how you should do things and deal with things -I can imagine as much as it's wonderful for people to have input and be excited, you must hit a point where boundaries have to be put in place. 


JESS: Boundaries are massively important. I've definitely put that in place in a lot of areas, with my work, and with my personal life. I think finding the confidence in yourself to know that that's alright, as well. I know, for myself, I worry about how people judge you or react to certain decisions that you would make. For me, it's about finding what's important to me, and owning those decisions and owning those moments and keeping those boundaries. It takes a long time to get to a place in your life where you actually feel calm. Well, for me, it took me a long time to actually feel comfortable putting myself first. 


ALICE: Did you find having those couple of years to kind of re-evaluate and take some time, has cemented your foundation now? 


JESS: When I first wrote "Enough", I think it had a different meaning from what it has now. I think it's taken on a whole new meaning to me at this stage. I wrote it literally in 2020. That's coming up to four years. And I think when I wrote it, it was a conversation about everything that I suppose I was going through and where I was getting to, and it was probably me trying to remind myself that I am enough and that it's all good to make the decisions that I'm making and be who I want to be. Whereas I think now, listening to it feels completely different, and singing it because it represents exactly how I feel and how far I've come. I think it is an important message massively for me and I think for people. I think the world that we live in at the moment, especially down to social media and whatever impacts so heavily on our insecurities and how we look at our life and ourselves, and are we doing enough? Are we looking good enough? Are we there? So we go into another event, or we go, have we got a good enough job? Are we earning enough money, like, whatever that is. And it's important to remember that everything is relevant to your situation. And you're good enough. You've got a roof over your head, and you can pitch, and I mean, there are people out there who really are going through it. And I think, the world that we live in, especially my world, the music world, and whatever, I think sometimes we forget, you know, you're alright. 


ALICE: Your album that's coming out at the end of April, was that a similar process in terms of writing over a couple of years and finding its place through these years of evolution and changes that you've been through? 

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JESS: I think it's been a really different creation from previous records, and it's happened in so many different stages. I started it in the lockdown when I was still with my old label and my old management, then I left my old management and left my old label. After that I was doing everything on my own for a while. I also did sessions, before I jumped into a new management and then a new label. Then, I went back in and started writing again. On the course of that, so much has happened in my personal life that sowing the seeds, and actually, bringing the whole project together has been such a journey and this album is a very good representation of where I've been what I've been feeling over the past four years. The reason I've self-titled [the new album] is that it's not because it's any more Jess than any of the other albums, but this is me now. I think it's just me wearing my heart on my sleeve, allowing myself to be vulnerable, allow myself to talk and allowing myself to say the things that maybe I wasn't comfortable enough to do before. I'm really excited for everyone to hear this record because it's still Jess Glynne, and it's never going to be an indie record, but it's definitely something I'm looking forward for people to sit with. 


ALICE: Do you find that being so vulnerable, was more nerve-racking or liberating? 


JESS: When we're creating, whatever the situation presents, that's how it comes about. It's never a plan. I think that’s the beauty in what I do; you never know what's going to happen or what you're going to get out of a session or what you're going to write, this record just turned out to be the way it is because I've just been free with myself and to be honest with you, I've such an incredible team around me to just let me do me and I haven't been controlled. I don't think it's ever possible to do anything all alone. You need a team, different eyes, and different opinions to be the best version of yourself. That's how you get any great success to the top. I think it's been massively important for me to be free to do what I want to do. It's also great having inspiring people around me who have been such an inspiration, and their work is very different from my old team. My mind is open to so many different things. It's an ongoing thing as it's still frickin hard out here and I'm working my ass off. As great as this journey has been, I'm at that phase where you always want to be the best.  I'm competitive with myself. I always want to do the most. I always want to be the best. I always want to do everything and anything. It’s always been who I am; it’s always been in my nature, so I'll never stop being that person. 


ALICE: What's something that you've solidified in the foundation of everything right now that is super important?


JESS: Getting back on stage, but I'm not gonna lie it's been so long. Yes, I've been releasing music, but I haven't been massively present, onstage. I'm just excited to have the record out, perform new songs, and just really let people hear the music. For me, that's the most important thing. I'm also really excited for the next song to come out because I love it. I think it's gonna be a nice little moment. I think it's also just finding that place in the industry and finding that place with my music and what I mean, how it works for me at this point, with social media and stuff. Part of it's taken the authenticity and real music out of it for me but then part of it, there's an excitement to it in a way as well. I think it's just a very different world. At the end of the day, music is so important to the world and it's something that will never die. I love how it makes me feel. I love being able to escape. I love being able to go to a show and feel and breathe and be in music. I think music for me, the artists that inspired me, the Amy's, the Lauren's, the Whitney's, the Justin's, of the world, why do I love them? Why do I love those songs? Some people are gonna love it. Some people are gonna hate it. Some are gonna be indifferent. But that's what I love about music because everyone has a different opinion. I think that the way it's been sold, to the younger generations now, scares me a bit because are they enjoying music?  


ALICE: We've focused this idea of joy because I realised a couple of months ago that I didn't really think about what brought me joy and it wasn't necessarily a priority because other things came up or life is life. So, we've started asking people, as we go to the end of podcasts and interviews, the question of what brings them joy, no matter how small it is or whatever it is. I just think it's important that we consider it more, if that makes sense. 


JESS: Joy is an important part of life. I've learned to put myself first and do the things that are important to me because I think before it was always work is the most important thing every day. Whereas now you need to enjoy your life. I had a friend that was here one day and gone the next day, that's how short life can be. You don't know what's around the corner. Besides, you just need to make sure that you do the things you want to do and enjoy the moments because you don't know how long you’ve got. I think prioritising yourself is also a massive part of joy.


Jess’ new album, JESS is out 26 April! 


Words Mia Caven

HATC Alice Gee

Photopraphy Cosmo Rush

Photography Assistant Kiera Simpson

Styling Chloe Oldridge

Styling Assistant Georgia Armitage

Styling Assistant Olivia White

MUA Marie Bruce

Hair Stylist Beth Kucic


Dress, C Ritter.

Trench, Sylk.

Coat, TopShop.

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