An interview with Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne, I am told, is not feeling too well, and therefore needs to postpone the interview for half an hour. Her ailment, which I learn is sheer exhaustion, comes as no surprise; in the sixth months since Rather Be debuted, Glynne has sung on two Number One hits, and played a constant rotation of both solo and festival shows both home (in England) and abroad. The night before we spoke, Glynne had played the second night of her first ever solo UK tour in Glasgow, a tour which will wind its way to Norwich on October 29th.

I propose that we get the Rather Be questions out of the way at the beginning, and she kindly encourages me to “go for it”. The song, by fellow relative newcomers Clean Bandit, on which Glynne’s vocals take centre stage, was last week named the UK’s most streamed song of the year so far, having been listened to 32 million times across platforms such as Spotify, Napster and Deezer. To put it into perspective, that’s more times than Pharrell’s charmingly inescapable Happy, as well as John Legend’s ubiquitous All of Me. That number also makes it the second most streamed track ever in the UK, according to the Official Charts Company. Funnily enough, Glynne’s tour bus while we speak is parked next to Clean Bandit’s; the song really does travel with her wherever she goes.

Asked the strangest place she’s heard the song, Glynne explains that the list is simply too long, but that “the other week we were walking down the street in Wales, we’d just had Nandos, and blasting out of this club was Right Here. I didn’t even realise until one of the girls who sings with me in the band was like, ‘Jess, it’s you!’” In case you were wondering what Glynne goes for at Nandos, it’s a strict routine of “medium chicken, sometimes Peri-Peri chips but usually spicy rice, with corn on the cob, a side salad…and always Halloumi.”

With less than a year of releases under her belt, Glynne has already been through most of the UK’s musical rites of passage. This summer she graced the stage at Wembley Stadium for Capital’s Summertime Ball, performed at Glastonbury and, perhaps most meaningfully to her, was featured on ‘Later… with Jools Holland’. For Glynne, “It [Jools] was something I had grown up with. My parents are massive fans of music and have always watched it, and they’re also quite close to the people who run the show so it’s always been a big part of my life, and to perform on it was probably one of the most insane things that’s happened…I was bricking it all day, but then eventually we’d waited so long to perform that I was just like, ‘Get me on!’’

Since that appearance, Glynne has received a MOBO Award nomination for ‘Best Newcomer’ alongside a roster of artists that includes MNEK, FKA Twigs and Ella Eyre. The nomination is something she “couldn’t believe” when she was told, and as she puts it “everybody nominated is so talented, and I know quite a few of them, so whatever the outcome is just to be nominated is amazing.” She may have only been in the business for a year or so, but Glynne’s learnt how to answer a question about an award nomination.

On Right Here, Glynne sings ‘finally I’m where I wanna be’. Is it fair to say that this is an appropriate representation of how she feels at the moment? She laughs. “It’s weird, when I originally wrote the song it was about someone, but the meaning’s changed over time. But yeah, you could definitely say it’s related to how I feel right now.”


About Author

louischeslaw Louis Cheslaw once was the substitute on his school basketball team, until lack of skill derailed his career. Hoop dreams behind him, he now writes about arts, culture, and social media. See website (below) for more information and a video of him attempting to cover Bonnie Tyler.

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May 2022
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