Meet Jess Glynne, The Girl Who's Going To Soundtrack Your Summer
You will have already heard her collaborations with Clean Bandit and Route 94...
Jess Glynne. You know, JESS. GLYNNE. Still confused because you recognise the name but don’t know why? That’s because Jess has already had some amazing guest vocal appearances on number one smash hit songs Rather Be by Clean Bandit and My Love by Route 94, but we are yet to get to know the person providing those insanely catchy vocal melodies.
Something that needs to change, rapidly, because Jess has now caught our attention with her first solo offering Home, which is giving us a taste of her true star quality. MTV UK caught up with Jess in a jazzy American diner in East London to find out what makes this future superstar tick.
MTV UK: Hey Jess. How do you feel about the fact that when searching your name in Spotify, the first thing that comes up is a remix of Clean Bandit on Joey Essex’s Essex Anthems?
Jess Glynne: The fact that I’m on Essex Anthems makes me happy, especially because half of my family’s from Essex. I love Joey. I don’t know him, but he’s an amusing guy, he makes me laugh. I was watching his programme the other day when he was in Africa. It was great.
MTV UK: It must feel weirder knowing that people have heard your voice and love it, but so far they only know you via other people’s songs?
Jess: It’s a really weird thing. Firstly it’s kind of great, because everyone knows my name, but I’ve kind of hidden, which I’m happy about. Being on the two tracks as a name is amazing, but what I got signed for wasn’t that, which is the weird thing. I’ve got my other stuff. Being thrown in to the public eye is a weird thing. I’ll say to people like, “Hi, I’m Jess Glynne,” and they’re like, “JESS GLYNNE! You’re Jess Glynne!” It’s a very weird thing, but what comes with it is good; I want people to listen to my music, so I’m happy.
MTV UK: How does it feel to know both songs you feature on are going to be everyone’s holiday soundtrack this summer?
Jess: It’s the most amazing feeling; these are things you dream about, having these big songs and playing festivals. I feel really grateful to be on two really great tracks that have done so well. It’s a good feeling, definitely.
MTV UK: What was the song of your summer last year?
Jess: Chris Malinchak So Good To Me! [sings] Been so good to me… that was my tune last year.
MTV UK: Were you a going out or a staying in sort of teenager?
Jess: I was going out. I’ve always been quite an eccentric character, I love going out and partying, I’m a very sociable creature. Since secondary school, I just had the most fun, I wasn’t the best studier but as a young girl I went out and had fun - I still do.
MTV UK: What was on your party playlist when you were growing up?
Jess: I just remember Ignition by R. Kelly, Destiny’s Child and Kevin Lyttle? All of that. Mario. That reminds me of my house party days.
MTV UK: What was the first time music really affected you?
Jess: When my dad played me Eva Cassidy’s album, that was the first time music affected me emotionally. I remember him playing Songbird and connection-wise that was probably the first time I felt it. That was a big moment for me. It must have been in my early teens, about 10 years ago.
MTV UK: What made you start writing music yourself?
Jess: Again it was my parents, they introduced me to Amy Winehouse’s music, I got her album Frank. I remember listening to F*ck Me Pumps and Stronger Than Me and I just remember thinking ‘Oh my God’. Firstly, another girl who loves soul, another girl who’s got a bit of scat and when I found out she was from North London and Jewish – I’m Jewish – I was like, “We’re like sisters! If she can do this, I can do this.” She was a massive inspiration to kind of do it myself. She did a lot while she was here, she broke a lot of boundaries and I think to us UK artists who have visions and are really creative she’s a big inspiration. She did her own thing, she did what she wanted to do.
MTV UK: Can you remember the first time you performed?
Jess: At primary school me and my best friend used to do DIY assemblies and we’d do it as many times as we could, until we got banned! We used to sing Hero by Mariah Carey; it was like my favourite song, we were obsessed with it. We’d do it as a duet and it’s the first I remember performing. At secondary school I did a talent show and what did I sing? Hero [laughs].
MTV UK: What’s been one of your most significant performances so far?
Jess: One that I felt was quite important was performing at the Google offices. They’re doing this new live thing and I was the first to do it. That was quite a big thing for me, in front of quite a lot of people.
We're a thousand miles from comfort, we have traveled land and sea
But as long as you are with me, there's no place I'd rather be
I would wait forever, exalted in the scene
As long as I am with you, my heart continues to beat
With every step we take, Kyoto to The Bay
Strolling so casually
We're different and the same, get you another name
Switch up the batteries
If you gave me a chance I would take it
It's a shot in the dark but I'll make it
Know with all of your heart, you can't shake me
When I am with you, there's no place I'd rather be
N-n-no, no, no place I'd rather be We staked out on a mission to find our inner peace
Make it everlasting so nothing's incomplete
It's easy being with you, sacred simplicity
As long as we're together, there's no place I'd rather be
When I am with you, there's no place I'd rather be, yeah
Beeeeeeeeee, hooooooo oh
Be Yeah-e-yeah-e-yeah-e-yeah-e-yeah, yeah, yeah
When I am with you, there's no place I'd rather be
MTV UK: Which musicians do you look up to?
Jess: Frank Ocean has been a massive inspiration to me over the past few years; the way he’s done it, stuck to it, created something so unique, put a stamp on it and done it well. He didn’t go to number one, but he got a Grammy for best album.
MTV UK: How did it feel to put your first solo track ‘Home’ out?
Jess: It was scary. I’ve never put anything out and the first thing I wanted people to hear from me was really important, because I wanted to set the right tone, I wanted to set my attitude, I wanted to show where I’m from, what I like. I think ‘Home’ represents all those things, because I’m not a softie, but then I’ve got a lot of different sides to me and I think ‘Home’ is a very good reflection of that.
MTV UK: What are you passionate about right now?
Jess: I feel really passionate about getting my music right. There are a lot of artists around at the moment, so I think it’s important to have a stamp and a mould that people connect with.
MTV UK: Does Jess Glynne have any secret hobbies we should know about?
Jess: I have a secret passion for horse riding. I haven’t done it for ages, but I used to have a horse. I love it, it’s one of my favourite things.
MTV UK: What would make you feel like you’d made it as a popstar?
Jess: For me to have achieved something would be to do a sell-out show. I think that’s really important, to know that people are buying your music and loving it, and wanting to see you live. And then singing your songs! Brixton Academy would be the one. I would say the O2 Arena, but no, let’s aim for Brixton first - although we’ve got to aim big eventually…
Jess Glynne will be performing at Great Escape, Wireless, Wakestock, Lovebox and more festivals this summer. Check out her video for Home, which is out now.
By Georgina Langford @MTVUK