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Jess Glynne: "I Couldn’t Even Walk Out My Front Door”

Jess Glynne: "Two years Ago I Was a Mess — I Couldn’t Even Walk Out My Front Door"

Image Source: Josh Wilks

After five years away from the spotlight, Jess Glynne is ready for her comeback. "I feel like I'm in a much better headspace," Glynne admits to PS UK. "I've now got the mental and physical strength to take this on. Two years ago, I was a complete mess. I couldn't even walk out my front door or walk into a crowded room, let alone work or do an interview." The Grammy-winning singer never planned to take such a long break from music. "I feel frustrated that I've been away for so long to be honest. Things have changed so much and it's like learning a whole new industry."

After a lot of healing, following burnout which led to hospitalisation for exhaustion after her 2019 world tour, and the sad passing of her grandma and close friend, the Grammy-winning singer feels like she is a more secure version of herself. "I've been in a lot of therapy and I've worked really hard on this new project," she says. "I finally feel like I'm in a stable place in my head and in my life."

Glynne's third album, "JESS" is on the horizon, but looking back on her career is a real learning-curve for the artist. The singer's break came in 2014 after she featured on Clean Bandit's Grammy Award-winning single "Rather Be". Then she made history becoming the first British female artist to score seven number one's on the UK's single charts. Her rise to success was quick and once she started, it was almost like she didn't stop.

Is it possible to describe that period of time in one word? "Overwhelming," she reveals. "It's obviously incredible for me, I'm so grateful for everything that happened and is still happening." She explains that the evolution of 'Jess Glynne' has been a roller coaster. "It was insane watching all my songs just take off and all the moments in between, from the TV appearances to touring the world."

Although a triumphant success, it was a time filled with highs and lows — and after reflecting on that time, she realises that she is ready to reveal a more authentic version of herself. "The most important thing is the music. If I'm being honest, I think a lot of my career I've been the voice and the music, but I haven't been the face because I haven't been fully open. I've hidden a lot of aspects about myself due to differing opinions with old teams and my own insecurities. I guess it's all in personal growth."

Image Source: Josh Wilks

The singer has also finally found the balance of staying true to herself but also prioritising privacy within her personal life. "I just want to take this opportunity to just be real but also have my personal and private life that I keep for myself. In the music industry everyone wants a piece of everything and it's been a rollercoaster trying to balance my private and popular life throughout my career."

"I think a lot of my career I've been the voice, but I haven't been the face because I haven't been fully open. I've hidden a lot of aspects about myself due to my own insecurities."

Glynne's relationship with former Arsenal player and football pundit, Alex Scott, has been heavily reported in the news cycle after they were linked together in summer 2023. "Yes, people are talking about my personal life and relationship in the papers and look, it's a beautiful thing and it's been really celebrated but I'm still figuring out how to handle it being so public," she says. The singer is adamant about keeping some elements of her life as sacred. "At this point, I'm in a place where I know what's mine and what I can come home to, what I can keep for myself, and I know what I can give," she says.

The singer's new album, "JESS", is an unflinching look into her growth over the last few years and becoming the artist we see today. The album's lead single "Enough" is raw, vulnerable, and honest — and it was the first song she knew was going to be a part of the record. At the end of 2020, Glynnne started writing this album just as the world was briefly re-opening after the pandemic. A deep discussion she had with her songwriters about struggling with the aspects of their career and self-worth sparked the meaning behind the single.

"When we were writing the song everyone was like, 'What the hell, how are you feeling worthless? You've had so much success yet you don't feel good enough? You've had all these number one songs, albums, and toured the world — you should be so proud of yourself.'" Glynne explains that these accolades don't mean much when you're struggling internally: "All of that doesn't really matter. You can be the most successful, rich human being in the world, it's still a mental health issue, isn't it? How you view yourself and how people make you feel affects that and I think writing that song was a super honest, vulnerable moment, which I think was really needed. Writing "Enough" really set the tone for the album. "I needed to be this version of myself as an artist - I couldn't pretend," Glynne admits.

"Yes, people are talking about my personal life and relationship in the papers and look, it's a beautiful thing and it's been really celebrated but I'm still figuring out how to handle it being so public."

When she first entered the writing process, she was still trying to hold on to an old version of herself. She says: "I'll be honest, I remember going in the studio with this mindset of writing some bangers and upbeat records. I kid you not, everything I tried to write sounded like sh*t. I'd like the song for half a day but in the end it just didn't feel like me or I was forcing it." Glynne quickly realised that she didn't need to replicate the success of the songs that worked five years ago. "I need to just be free with it and not chase something I've already done - look forward, you can't look back," she says. "That was a really big learning curve for me. I think that's why I titled this record "JESS" because it's me just being me."

Image Source: Josh Wilks

What's very apparent is that for Glynne, her artistry is the most important thing. "I feel like this album is my moment as a true artist and showcasing the artist I've always wanted to be," she says. "The industry has become incredibly diluted — I miss those artists that are real and authentic where you go into their shows and feel like you can immerse yourself in an hour and a half show and think of nothing else." She's also yearning to get back on stage and perform her music. "I can't perform and put the show together," she says.

But after all these years away from the stage, does she feel nervous? "I do feel nervous about the release of the album but it's a normal feeling," she says. "Whenever you put a body of work out there that you poured your heart and soul into, naturally you do. I want the album to spread its wings, I've been working on it for years. I just pray that it gets its moment that I feel like it deserves, and I hope people connect with the songs and it resonates with them."

JESS is the upcoming album by Jess Glynne, out 26th April via EMI Records.

Aaliyah Harry (she/her) is the associate editor at PS UK. She writes extensively across lifestyle, culture and beauty. Aaliyah also has a deep passion for telling stories and giving voice to the voiceless. Previously, she has contributed to Refinery29, Grazia UK and The Voice Newspaper.

Image Source: Josh Wilks
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