Jess Glynne has one of those most recognizable voices in the industry. The singer/song-writer is back and has just released her latest album, JESS, a 15-track album full of candid moments and relatable lyrics. In an exclusive interview with girlfriend, Alex Scott, Jess takes us back during her early days before becoming the artist we know and love, her struggles and how she fought her way through some of her toughest times. We’re pleased to have Jess grace our annual Proud to be Cover. Stream/download Jess’s latest album HERE.


ALEX: Okay so I’m gonna start with when I took you to the Arsenal (soccer) game recently. We
were in the posh seats as I was a guest of Arsenal this time, you were my plus one. We sat down
to have our food and started introducing ourselves to the other people on the table. Straight away
your face changed because the woman beside you introduced herself, and what happened next?

JESS: And this woman sat next to me. She was like “Hi, Jess, I work at PPL” and she went on to
say “Yeah, and I still work there now, don’t judge me.”

ALEX: Just a quick one, what’s PPL?

JESS: PPL is a music licensing company and I worked there about 10-12 years ago. The mental
thing is that when I saw that woman, I laughed straight away because I got fired from that place!
But one of the best things was I got given an award, quite a prestigious award, and life being
life…the crazy thing was the head of that company who fired me, was the same guy standing on
the stage that day now handing me this award. (Jess bursts out laughing as she is retelling this
story, but what I saw in Jess as she was telling the woman this story, wasn’t someone boasting
and trying to show off, it was something else…)

ALEX: I’m not sure if you got embarrassed , because it’s like you quickly tried to change the
subject to all the reasons as to why you weren’t so good at the job and how they were right to fire

JESS: I just wasn’t good at it, that is the truth. My attention span didn’t last a day because the
computer work was so intense, and I struggled.

ALEX: I bring this up because I really was actually surprised at the different amount and range
of jobs that you had, before you became “Jess Glynne”. Can you share some of the stories?

JESS: Yes I can

ALEX: Thanks. Go on then….

JESS: Where do I begin? I got my first job when I was fourteen, working at a tiny hairdresser’s
shop. I remember walking by on my way home from school, going inside, and asking, “Do you
have any jobs, like Saturday jobs or something?” The guy said, “Yeah, you can come in and
wash hair and sweep the floors,” and just like that, I was hired! I worked there every Saturday,
earning cash in hand, and I saved all my money.
I opened a bank account, and I loved having my own money and the independence it gave me.
From that point on, I knew I always wanted a job. After leaving the hairdresser’s, I started
working at a boutique. I had gone to a shopping mall after school one day, handing out my CV
(résumé) to different stores. When I got home that evening, my mum asked, “Jessica, did you go
to a shopping mall?” I said yes, and she said, “Well, the woman who’s opening the shop is my
old boss Lynn.” Not just any boss, but a really close one. I ended up getting the job, though I’m
not sure if it was because of my charm or because my mum knew her.
I moved from the hairdresser’s to the boutique, working for Lynn for years. She became like a
second mother to me. She really took care of me. I’d come in on Saturdays, sometimes after late
nights out, and she was very understanding. She’d have a talk with me when I got out of line.
Sometimes my mum would call her, asking her to have a word with me because I was acting up,
and I’d get the “Jessica, we need to talk” lecture. But I loved Lynn. She was a very important
figure during my teenage years, a wise and experienced woman who helped guide me.

ALEX: How so? 

JESS: She had a unique approach to the creative world. She wasn’t your typical office worker.
She had been working in television for years in a really high position. She loved her job, and she
was a woman, so she had been through a lot. She shared many stories with me about what it took
to get to where she was. It’s hard enough being a teenager, but being a teenage girl can be especially tough. She was really good at boosting my confidence and guiding me in the right
direction. There were certain conversations I felt I couldn’t have with my family or my mum, but I felt
comfortable talking to her. She understood things that my family might not have. Now I can give
back to her in the same way. So, yeah, that was the job.


JESS: Yeah, basically I didn’t really go to school that often; it wasn’t for me, and I didn’t feel
understood. I started working more during the week, then eventually left school and got a job at a
gym, LA Fitness, as a receptionist. It was a fun job—my favorite one up to that point. I really
liked it because it was great training with early starts, having to be at work by 6 a.m., and shift
work. It was just a really fun environment. Plus, I really like exercise, so that made it even better.
It felt like a nice escape from everything else.
I worked there so I could save up and travel with a friend. I stayed at the gym for about a year,
saved up a decent amount of money, and then booked a flight to Asia, Australia, and South

ALEX: So you went away and traveled for a year, and when you reflect on that, what did you

 JESS: When I looked back on that time, what did I learn?
That independence is hard

We were totally naive/bloody stupid, looking back. We didn’t plan anything; we didn’t research a
single thing. We just booked the flight and went. We landed in Bangkok, Thailand, and it was
probably the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. I remember getting to our hostel, locking
the door, and then bursting into tears, asking myself what on earth have I done. I called my mum,
feeling completely lost. Even though I had worked different jobs and hadn’t really figured out my
life, I was still in a sort of protective bubble—I had family around to catch me if I fell.
That year of traveling made me realise what independence really meant. We had to live on a
shoestring budget and find a way to survive on the other side of the world, with no one to rely on
but ourselves. S***/It got real, really fast. By the time we reached South America, it was game
over. We had to make the tough decision to come home early, which I was gutted about.

ALEX: Why does it feel like you failed? The reason I think I’m asking the question, is because
I’m trying to understand, in all these jobs, what were you thinking about the future? How did you
see that for yourself? I remember all the various jobs that I was doing, one of them working in a laundromat, washing the soccer players dirty kit, one day sitting there staring at the washing
machines thinking…this is not my life I know there is more!

JESS: I think I felt gutted and I never wanted to come home, because I was terrified. I really
was, I just wanted to continue the fun, ’cause we were just, you know, on this jolly, I mean, it
was incredible, like, seeing the world, learning different cultures; the experiences were
incredible. I didn’t have a job to come home to.

ALEX: So you went back to walking through different shops and handing out your CV, and you
eventually got a job in retail. I must say, I’ve never seen anyone fold clothes so neatly and put
them away in a wardrobe as you do—they’re always immaculate. Wait wait / By the way, I want
to hear about Jess Glynne – the shot girl.

JESS: I had this other job working for an alcohol brand. During the day, I had one job, but at
night, I worked as a ‘shot girl’. Basically, I’d go around different venues for an hour with a tray
of shots in my hand (remember Jelly shots?) and offer them to customers. I was really good at
it—I was a top seller. I got promoted pretty quickly, first to team leader, and then to manager. I
even had my own team. It might sound a bit glorified, but in reality, my workplace was a small
lock-up in Bow(East London). Everything was about money, and I had to report back to my
manager every week with all the hours worked, all the sales, and I had to make sure everyone got
paid. It was hectic, but I felt like I was finding my way/ I’ve found myself.

ALEX: Where is the ‘I love music, I love singing’? And where does music come into all of

JESS: I missed out on a few jobs along the way. I came back from traveling, and everyone I
knew was heading off to university, with plans for their future. I thought, “Wow, what am I
going to do?” That’s when I really started thinking about what my life was going to look like.
Then it hit me: the thing I love most is music. I had a family friend who worked at Sony and
knew someone in music management who was looking for an assistant. My mum suggested I
talk to Michelle about it, saying, “There’s this job in music management. Do you want me to put
you in touch?” Of course, I said yes, so she made the connection.
So kind of by chance, I landed a job as an assistant, basically an intern, and started working with
artists, learning everything I could about the industry. It was incredible. That job made me realise
I wanted to be an artist, even though I hadn’t figured that out yet. Back in school, I knew I loved
music, and I knew I could sing from a young age because my best mate Robyn and I sang “Hero”
by Mariah Carey at a school assembly.

ALEX: WOW Big song to sing that!!

JESS: We sang it together on a small stage, and everyone loved it. We got so gassed by the
reaction—it was a special feeling. Robyn and I became singing buddies because she could really
sing. However, when I went to secondary school, it was a similar experience. I sang at the school
assembly, this time on my own, and I sang the same song, Mariah Carey’s “Hero.” Once again,
the reaction I received and the feeling it gave me were like confirmation that people appreciated
my voice, which really boosted my confidence.
But throughout school, the teachers in the music department knocked my confidence and made
me doubt myself, like I wasn’t good enough. I remember in Year 9, I put together a band to
perform Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’,” but the discouragement from the teachers made me question my

ALEX: Another BIG song (laughing).


JESS: Yeah, haha I was the one who put the band together and we learned all the parts and
melodies. But at the last minute, the teacher decided to take over and rearrange everything. She
took away my lead role and stuck me with the bridge at the end of the song. At that moment, I
was like, you know what? No, I’m not doing this. It just didn’t feel right. After that, I didn’t want
to go to music class anymore.
Working as an intern at Sony, though, rekindled my passion for music. I was getting incredible
experience and learning so much. There was this one guy there who loved teaching and was
really patient with me. That’s what young people need—patience and guidance. You have to
understand that we’re all just trying to learn.
At Sony (Jess Glynne the intern), I was working with an artist who had every incredible
opportunity you could think of, but he took it all for granted. He was only interested in fame and
girls, and it was tough to see. I was thinking, “I could do this. I want to do this.”
It wasn’t until I left that job that I got some valuable advice from a music manager who’d been in
the industry forever. I asked him how I could make it in music, and he said, “Go away and write
100 songs.” That really opened my eyes.

ALEX: A 100 songs, not just a few but a 100?

JESS: His point was basically you need to figure out who you are. Figure out what you want, go
network, go to events, go perform. So that’s what I did.

ALEX: Ok I get it now, so this is when you were still working in retail, still being that ‘shot girl’
as you were trying to figure it all out, but like most things, when you’re figuring it out you still
need money to live!

JESS: Yes, and I was kind of choosing jobs that gave me the flexibility to go to the studio and
write what I could, as my eyes were fully on the music, but I just wasn’t shouting about it at this

ALEX: If I could sing “Hero” and “Fall,” you’d never be able to get me to shut me up, haha.

JESS: not gonna lie, all these different jobs gave me a load of different skills that have helped
me now. Being in front of a shop and having to sell things to people, to being a ‘shot girl’; it’s
actually taught me how to perform in a way.

ALEX: Do you think you could sell me something right now?

JESS: Yeah of course yeah 100%
(We both start laughing maybe the wine is getting to us)

Anyway, the management company taught me everything about the industry. They got me into
meetings to learn about contracts, and they had me attending press events, radio sessions, and
studio time. I went on tour, and it was amazing. I remember going on tour with this artist—it was
so wild. The lineup included Chipmunk, N-Dubz, Tinie Tempah, and another artist I won’t name
here (big UK artist that were doing amazing at the time). I was working with them, along with a
few others, and there were five of us in total and it was mad. I was out on the road with them,
and it was like—I was standing on the side of the stage with these artists, hanging out with them,
but I was just an assistant, an intern, or simply “Jess.” It’s crazy to think back on all the jobs I’ve

ALEX: No, I haven’t yet. 

JESS: All right, do you like red wine? 

ALEX: I do, do you? 

JESS: I don’t think I’ve told you about my time working as a waitress, serving food at big events.
One memory that stands out is the event I worked at Battersea Power Station for a James Bond
premiere. I was walking around with these massive trays of hors d’oeuvres when I saw Simon
from the band Blue. It was such a surreal experience because at the same time, I was trying to
make it as an artist, yet there I was, balancing heavy trays at this fancy James Bond event. And
there’s bloody Simon from Blue, along with a bunch of other actors, including Daniel Craig. It
was just so strange to be serving canapés to all these people who were living the life I was
dreaming about.

ALEX: This is hilarious, I feel like you need to do some comedy sketch of you going undercover
at an event and serving all the guests their food and drink, then just burst into a little song!

 JESS: Jokes aside, I’ll never forget that day because I was serving all these celebrities and music
artists, and it made me feel a bit down about myself. I was thinking, “What am I doing here?” It felt so real. I was in the kitchen, my hands were aching from carrying hot plates, and I just needed a minute.

ALEX: Reflecting on that story, it’s incredible how things come full circle. Instead of working at
these events, you’re actually invited to the premieres now.

JESS: I’ve never been to a James Bond premiere; maybe I need to check out the new one.

ALEX: Or perhaps you should be singing in a film. How cool would that be? You mentioned singing along to artists like Alicia Keys—is that the type of vocalist you naturally gravitated

JESS: Yeah, I think I always knew that I loved a powerful female voice. Vocal range was always something that fascinated me/was super exciting. I think it’s because I’ve always struggled with my voice from a young age. I never had a vocal coach or anything, so I didn’t really know how to care for my voice to get it to where I wanted. The way I taught myself was by listening to people like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Alicia Keys, and then trying to copy them. I’d find a part of a song I loved, rewind it, and then record myself singing it. Back then, I’d use tape recorders, and I’d listen to the playback to see how close I could get to those amazing voices. It was pretty basic, but it was how I learned. Thinking about it now, it’s funny to see how much we’ve advanced in technology, but there’s something special about those old recordings and the journey they represent.

ALEX: And when you listen back, what were you thinking, what was that? What was the
process? “Oh, I need to do that again, I need to get it right.”

JESS: I needed to nail/hit this riff and that one, so my friend had this old-school boombox with a
recording feature, and we’d just sing into it. It was kind of crazy, but it worked. I felt confident in
almost every job I took on—throw me a task, and I’d get it done. But when it came to music, it
took a while to build up my confidence. Everyone around me seemed to doubt me, like pursuing
music was just a pipe dream. People would ask questions that really made me doubt myself. Stuff like, “How do you think you’re going to pull that off?” or “Do you really think you’re good enough?” I’d go to family events, and all my cousins were either training to be doctors or working in finance, and they’d
ask me, “What do you do?” I’d tell them I worked in retail, and they’d say, “Okay, but what do
you really want to do?” I’d mention wanting to be an artist, and they’d just laugh—it felt like no
one took me seriously.

ALEX: I mean imagine me back then – “I want to be a professional soccer player”…the laughs
that came along with that! (We both burst out laughing at our stories).

JESS: These little girls with dreams—people just kept turning their noses up at us. I mean that’s
what the questions would be like, “You think you can make money doing that? But what’s your
real plan?” It got to the point where I wouldn’t even tell people I was going to the studio because
I didn’t want to keep having that same conversation about trying to become an artist. I wasn’t
asking for opinions, but everyone sure had one to give. So I just stopped talking about it
I wouldn’t lie—I just avoided the subject. When people asked what I was up to, I’d say, “Oh, I’m
just working.” I kept it vague and low-key because I didn’t want to deal with the skepticism. I
decided to keep my head down and focus on my work in private. I was just going to do my thing
and let it all play out. If anyone asked, I’d just shrug it off and carry on.

ALEX: It sure did figure itself out with more stories along the way and a few more wines. I’m
going to pick up this story in another part right now…

ALEX: So let’s fast forward to when you got your first number one. What were the feelings and
emotions you experienced during that time?

JESS: As Jess Glynne or the collaboration? Because they’re two very different things.

ALEX: Collaboration first, because that happened first right?

JESS: Its mad because I signed my deal but I was so scared so I still keep my job and was still
working. It was a bit of a slow burn, some people think you sign a deal and then your number
one. it doesn’t work like that…I did these collaborations (My love route 94) And then rather be
came out and that was doing its thing, then all of a sudden BOOM January 2014, number one. I
was in L.A. at the time. I got this phone call. I was shooting a music video, actually, for my first
song, Home. Oh my God, I was in this hotel. No sorry, it was an Airbnb. with my best mate, Jolene and
Margarita from my management. We got this phone call from Radio One (UK radio station).
Oh, it was insane!! she was like, you’re getting a phone call from Radio One.-I think I was ill
actually. I don’t think I was very well. I was actually really sick. I’d Been in bed for a few days.
And I got this call, and I’ll never forget. I burst into tears, because I just remember them saying
Jess your number one. Like, number one. Jolene was running around this air BnB, I Swear I’ve
never seen her run like that ever!!! We had booked this Airbnb and we loved it by the way on
skid row we didn’t even know….we were so young, like we got in the car got to this place from
the airport, my managers hadn’t arrived yet, got there and were like oh this just feels weird,
anyway we got in the car one day and driving down this road. This guys stood in the middle of
the road, and you could see what this guy had in his hand.. it was the scariest thing for real..
Jolene looked at me and said with terror in her eyes “I feel like we might be on Skid Row.” And I was like, “Skid Row.” We were terrified but , anyway. You know, a little air bnb apartment and
now my frist number one . It’s definitely a different way to remember it,haha I also think that
moment was like Okay I did it!!

ALEX: So you’ve had that feeling. First number one, do you feel like everything was 100 mph
after that? Like it was literally all happening fast.

JESS: Yeah, it felt like bam, bam, bam, bam—everything was happening at 300 miles per hour.
It was non-stop recording in the studio, running to perform here and there. I was with Clean
Bandit at one event, then at another. It was this whirlwind of activity, and just a month or two
later, “My Love” hit number one, and I was like, “Whoa, another number one!”
Everything seemed to be happening all at once. I had to finish my album, and there was this
constant pressure to get everything done. I often didn’t know whether I was coming or going—I
felt like I was having meltdowns every five minutes because there’s no way to prepare for that
kind of sudden success and I would be in my own head and questioning can I handle it all am I
going to let everyone down.
It was like everything was on fast forward, and I just couldn’t say no to anything at the fear of
feeling ungrateful. It was always, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” A performance in America, a gig in
Germany, another one in New Zealand—it was just non-stop traveling, then back to the studio. I
kept asking myself, “How do I keep up with all this?” It was intense. I remember losing my voice
that Summer because I was pushing myself so hard. There were so many highs and lows, and I
didn’t want to let anyone down, so I kept going.
But honestly, looking back, those were some of the best times of my life. It was so exciting and
rewarding. Even those meltdowns— I can laugh about them now because, in hindsight, I’m like,
how hilarious, right? What a ride it was.

ALEX: Could you give me an example of what you mean by a meltdown?

JESS: To be honest, there were a few meltdowns—it was the pressure, and sometimes I just
couldn’t handle it the way I would now. There were moments when I’d be on the floor, hysterical,
and my two close friends, Jo and Jin, wouldn’t even know what to do with me. I think I was just
completely exhausted, yet I felt guilty for feeling this way because I knew I should be grateful,
right? So many incredible things were happening, but why did I feel so awful and helpless?

I’ve always considered myself incredibly fortunate to have such amazing people around me who
genuinely care for me, not just about what’s happening in my career, if that makes sense. They
were there for me as friends, and that made all the difference.

ALEX: How do you go from being known only to family and friends to suddenly having the
whole world know the name Jess Glynne? How do you handle that? What was it like?

JESS: It’s just really surreal. You’re like, “Wait, what?” I remember the moment I realised that
people actually knew who I was—it felt like, “Oh wow, I did it.” I mean, I’ve spent my whole
life working toward this, you know? It was incredibly gratifying to be recognised for my singing.
But it can be overwhelming at times. Privacy is super important to me, and I try to keep my
personal life within my own space, just between me, my family, and my friends.
Sometimes it feels like a lot, but it’s also really beautiful when people come up to you and say, “I
love you” or “I love your music” or “Thank you—you saved me.” Moments like those are just so

ALEX: So let’s talk about your 1st solo number one then?

JESS: My first solo number-one hit was “Hold My Hand.” It was a mind-blowing/insane
experience because I had already released several songs throughout 2014, including “My
Love,” “Rather Be,” and “Right Here,” which were my first significant releases. “Hold My
Hand” came out the following January, about a year after “Rather Be.”
It stayed at number one for around four weeks, which was exhilarating. I was thrilled but
also a bit scared because I had done all these collaborations, and I worried that people
might not invest in me as Jess Glynne—they might just see me as some girl featured on
other records. So having my own song top the charts was really special.
It was an emotional time because Janae (co-writer/best friend) and I had met during a
writing course, and we faced many challenges on the way to releasing music, in my own
right, in my own way. “Hold My Hand” was the first song I truly wanted to release, and I
loved it. It was surreal—it was successful in the U.S., Germany, and all over the world. I
was blown away, thinking, “Wow, I’m really doing this!” Initially, I didn’t want to
collaborate—I wanted to be a solo artist. It wasn’t that I was snobbish, but I always saw
myself as a writer with something to say. So when I wrote “Hold My Hand,” which carries a
message that means a lot to me, and it resonated with so many people, I was like, “Holy
shit, this is happening!”

ALEX: What’s the deeper message behind this song? Right now, I’m just vibing with
it/singing it as a fun pop track, but I’m curious to know/explain to me what it really means.

JESS: The message of Hold My Hand? (She starts laughing and singing to me “Darling
Hold My Hand”)
“Hold My Hand” is about being in a crowded room and not seeing a familiar face, but
then someone pushes through the noise to lift you up. It’s about that friend who has
your back when no one else does, who holds your hand when things get tough. It’s like
saying, “I’m ready to freakin’ take on the world, and you’re ready to do it with me.”

It’s a friendship song, and the inspiration came from a moment I shared with Janae.
What made it extra special is that we started off not having any form of success, to then
like working our asses off, challenging the industry, and breaking through all the
barriers. After all the struggles and fighting against labels and opinions, we were finally
taken seriously. And then, we hit number one.

ALEX: That’s real cute.

JESS: Yeah.

ALEX: ‘Cause sometimes you forget when you just hear the song especially now ots on
adverts and like me you’re just singing along to it, you can actually forget the real message
that’s in the song. It’s like a little reminder.

Yeah, It really just all went crazy after that it’s all a bit of a whirlwind of tours, celebrations
and travel. I remember being on Jimmy Fallon and thinking, “Oh my god, I’m on Jimmy
Fallon!” Then I got back home, finished the album, and started another tour. I think it was
around April or May, and I just couldn’t sing. I was literally like, “I don’t know what to do.”
So, I went to the doctor, and then I called Sam Smith.
Sam and I were both on the rise at that point. He was a bit ahead of me, and he’d already
dealt with some vocal issues, so I was panicking and freaking out. On stage, my voice just
wasn’t there—I couldn’t sing “Hold My Hand” in its original key. I had to sing an octave
lower because I just couldn’t hit the high notes anymore. I called Sam and was like, “Sam,
help!” (laughs) We had this long talk, and he told me about this doctor, Steven, who had
helped him. Sam said, “Jess, Steven saved my life. You’ve got to call him—he’ll know what
to do.”
We ended up having this deep conversation about how much of a grind the music industry
is, and how important it is to take care of ourselves. We realized we were going through a
lot of the same things, which was kind of wild. So, I called Dr. zeitels , and within 60
seconds of talking to him, he was like, “You need to stop singing and get on a plane to
come see me. Your voice is in bad shape.”
I called my manager and said, “I need to go to Boston. Can we book a flight?” So we did,
and when we got to Boston, Dr. Zeitels looked at my vocal cords and said, “You should
have stopped singing weeks ago. This is one of the worst cases I’ve seen, and Jess, I’ve
seen a lot of top artists.”

JESS: Alex, I really thought my career was over. I had to cancel so many shows and tours.
My first album was about to drop, and I was convinced I had ruined my voice and would
never be able to sing again. I thought it was all over.

ALEX: Your voice came back and you could perform again, did you feel anxious?

JESS: Terrified!

ALEX: Of what? Were you worried that your voice wouldn’t be good enough?

JESS: I mean, all of it. I was like, what’s going to happen? Will people even show up? Did I
lose everything? Is my voice gonna break? I was filled with so much excitement to be back
on stage, but also a lot of fear—a lot of everything, really.
That first show back, it was probably one of my all-time favorites. Stepping onto that stage,
I’ll never forget the feeling. I’ve never seen so many people in one place. There wasn’t a
single empty spot in the crowd, and the screams were just unreal. And then I sang “My
Love,” and it was the first time I ever cried on stage. I couldn’t hold back my emotions. I was
so overwhelmed—happy, but overwhelmed. It was a moment when I thought, “It’s all going
to be okay.” Yeah, I was back.

ALEX: ok so….I’ve had certain moments, I still get them actually, when I look around
certain rooms I’m in and I’m like… how the heck am I even here? What was the first
moment that you ever felt that?

JESS: I’ll tell you.

ALEX: Tell me.

JESS: It was the Grammys, the 2015 Grammys, to be exact. “Rather Be” was nominated.

ALEX: Was that phone call also like, “JESS, you’ve been nominated for a Grammy”? And
by the way, how do you even choose what to wear for the Grammys?

JESS: I have no idea. But my stylist at the time was like, “You’re going in a suit.” So I went to Savile Row, a famous place in London, and got this green velvet suit. It was just so overwhelming; I couldn’t believe I was actually going to the Grammys. Walking around, seeing all those famous faces, it was wild. But the one event I really wanted to attend was the Roc Nation Brunch, and I was so disappointed I didn’t get to go. I was desperate to be there. How bloody crazy is the world though and how things change? Now Jay Brown is my manager, and he’s invited me to the last three brunches, but I haven’t gone! (laughs) It’s
kind of ironic, right? But yeah, that’s a long story.

ALEX: I mean all in good timing, because you have now met Jay-Z and Beyonce.

JESS: Yeah, I’ve met them both. Yeah.

ALEX: So confession on my part, the first few times I came to your house, I was really shy.
I tried not to look at anything, just to make sure I didn’t seem nosy. It was mostly head down
and keeping it casual. But there was one thing I couldn’t help but notice—you have your
Grammy award out on display. It caught my eye right away.

JESS: Yes it is. I’m massively proud of that ’cause I think it’s an insane achievement.
But also just to go back to the original question, the moment where I was like oh my God, at
a party at an event was Sam Smiths. ’cause that was the year that Sam Smith won a lot of
Grammys. going to Sam after party was the most surreal moment of my life in a room where
there was Taylor swift.
Also The weekend…. Here’s a story for you because it was hilarious!! I went to the toilet
and there was a guy in there with this girl stood to the right me. It was a small toilet and I
was waiting with Jolene my best friend. And I was like, this guy’s hair is pretty wild Like his
hair was really different. It was only the bloody weekend, Then when I walked out the toilet
having seen the Weekend I walked into Taylor Swift and was like, noooooooo. Jolene we’re
getting a picture. <laughs>

ALEX: Did you get a picture?

JESS: She had walked off at this point and I’m not that girl. I was just so overwhelmed that
night. I mean, I’d just won a Grammy, and now I was at this party with artists like that!
But then I thought, “F it, I’m going to get a picture with Taylor Swift.” So it was me and
Jolene. Janae had either disappeared or fallen asleep somewhere, so we couldn’t find her.
But this was our one shot to get a picture, so we were like, “Taylor, can we get a picture
with you?” She was super friendly and said, “Yeah, of course! How are you?”
Just as we were about to take the picture, some random girl who’d been talking to us at the
party jumped in with us. It was kind of hilarious—we were all fangirling, trying to keep it
together. Anyway, we finally got the picture and eventually found Janae asleep on a sofa.
She was like, “Where have you guys been?” We showed her the picture with Taylor Swift,
and she was like, “Who’s this other black girl? You replaced me!” We had to explain that
she’d disappeared, and she laughed, saying, “I can’t with you two!” It became this running joke between us because she totally missed out on the moment.

ALEX: Where’s that photo?

JESS: I’ve got it, I’ll give it to you.

ALEX: I want to see it.

JESS: It was surreal and crazy because the year after that, Taylor Swift was performing at
Hyde Park, and she invited me to join her on stage. She called my manager and asked if I’d
sing “Hold My Hand” with her at Hyde Park.

ALEX: Taylor is a total girls’ girl I love it!!

JESS: Yeah, she was like, “I’d love it if Jess could come and join me onstage and sing ‘Hold
My Hand’ with me.” She wanted to perform it with me, and it was just as I was about to have
vocal surgery. I couldn’t do it, and I was devastated. It felt like a real kick in the teeth. It hurt.
(laughs) It really hurt. I was devastated. Really devastated.

ALEX: We’ve gone through what feels like a “This Is Your Life” interview, reflecting on all
these key moments. How does it feel to sit here and look back on everything you’ve
achieved? Seven UK number ones—that’s more than Adele, Jessica! Wow. And then
there’s all the awards you’ve picked up along the way. How does it make you feel?

JESS: I haven’t won any Brit Awards yet. I’ve been nominated about 12 times, but that’s
something I’m really hoping to achieve in the future.

ALEX: Ok so lets call it a chapter. Looking back, how do you even describe it all and who
you were then?

JESS: It’s really hard to sum up who I was back then because I don’t think I even knew. I
think I was on a journey of self-discovery and success, and it was just a rollercoaster. There
were so many incredible moments that I can’t even begin to summaries—being at the
Grammys, winning a Grammy, performing at the Brit Awards, seven number-one singles,
touring America and the world, performing at the Prince’s house in Bahrain, and appearing
at events with people you’d never expect to meet. I was invited to do private gigs for high-
profile people—I can’t even name them. There were helicopter rides; it was just a whirlwind.
I was on a journey to discover who Jess was, and now, looking back, it feels like that person
was me but also not really me. It’s kind of wild because I’m the type of person who’s up for
anything. You can throw anything at me, and I’ll handle it. I’ll do the job, even without
guidelines. I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. So when I look back, I get this really nice, happy feeling. But it’s also quite emotional because it saddens me to see how much the industry has changed. Coming back now to release a new album, I’m excited, but it’s just so different from what it was when I started.
Some changes are great, but others are a bit sad. It’s a whole mix of emotions.

ALEX: Do you feel a different pressure?

JESS: I think these days, I put pressure on myself instead of feeling it from others. But I also
find myself a bit lost because I know why I love music—the reason I started singing and
writing. I’m concerned that the authenticity, rawness, and patience people had for creativity
that used to be valued in music does not seem as common anymore.
When I think about the artists who inspired me—Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Aretha
Franklin, Joni Mitchell, and just the other day I was listening to Janis Joplin—I wonder if
they would have the same impact today. You know what I mean? Would Sam Cooke, Justin
Timberlake, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Timbaland, or Missy Elliott be received the same way in
this era? I don’t know if people have the same attention spans now, given the way music is
fed to us with short time frames and the constant stream of social media content.
Live performances have always been crucial for me. Creating a show, incorporating real
strings, real drums, real guitars, and collaborating with actual musicians—these have been
central to my art and the art of many artists I admire. It feels different now, and while
change isn’t always bad, it’s a bit scary for someone like me. It’s daunting because I don’t
know what’s coming. But then again, I never really knew what was coming; I just rolled with
it, took my chances, and did what felt right.
So I guess I just have to keep that same mindset—take every shot and see where it leads.
It’s all I can do, really. Just keep going, doing what I did the first time, and hope it all works

ALEX: So you’ve the new Album JESS has are you really feeling, and don’t
give me a pre-scripted answer. Like how do you really feel?

JESS: I had a conversation with the head of my label a couple of weeks ago, and I told her,
“I don’t know if I feel ready for the album to come out. I don’t know if the album itself is
ready.” And she said, “Well, Jess, when will it ever be ready? There’s never a perfect time,
but we just have to keep moving forward.”
She’s right—I have this album, and it is has been ready for a while. I’m always going to be
scared, always nervous, always excited, with a million thoughts racing through my mind.
I’ve invested so much into this project, and it’s been a real journey. It feels more precious to me because of all the changes in my life and career. I don’t want it to go unnoticed, if that
makes sense.

So it’s tricky, but in the end, the people who’ve been with me on this journey—the ones who
really know me—remind me that if I love it and believe in it, that’s all that matters. That’s
what keeps me grounded. I can keep waiting and waiting, but it’s been almost five years
since my last album. It’s time to go for it, I just have to roll with it and just take every shot
like let’s go!

ALEX: It’s been five years. How does that feel to you?

JESS: Five years—way too long. I can’t believe it’s been that long. It’s kind of wild, actually.
Wow. It’s frustrating, and I wish it hadn’t taken so long, but I can’t control the circumstances
of life. Shit happens.

ALEX: Shit does happen. Since the last album, there’ve been a lot of changes—switching
record labels, personal losses, moving houses, and relationship stuff (WE BOTH LAUGH).
So, do you feel like you’re starting a new chapter?

JESS: I feel like I’m entering a very, very new chapter, and it’s exciting. It feels like a more
grown up chapter. Just reflecting on everything we’ve discussed, I think, “Wow, that was the
younger version of me.” But it’s in a good way. The early artist I used to be—it’s crazy to
think I’ve only released two albums in the past ten years. Consider artists like Taylor Swift,
Rihanna, and Beyoncé—think about how many albums they’ve released in that same span
of time. It’s mad.

ALEX: Do you think you actually needed time?

JESS: Yeah, maybe. I can’t say I didn’t need the time—it just worked out that way. I feel like
I clearly needed it, and I can’t force my creativity. I write everything and I’m the driving force
behind what I do. So if I’m not in the right headspace, I just need to take the time.

ALEX: So you have titled the new album “JESS” – what are we seeing then now? What are
we hearing?

JESS: You’re hearing Jess now. I think at this point I want to explain why I named the album
“Jess.” It’s not because I felt the need to have a self-titled album. It’s just that so much time
has passed since my last release, and I think people have struggled over the years to
understand certain parts of me—both as an artist and as a person—and to really see who I
am. This album is my way of showing all sides of myself. I’ve been incredibly vulnerable and real on this album. It’s not just about singing and being Jess Glynne; it’s also about sharing my story and inviting you into my world. I think that’s why I wanted to call it “JESS.” I want everyone to know who I am, and that’s why it felt right.

JESS: it’s exciting, but it’s a bit scary too. It’s like, “Hey, here I am.

ALEX: Wait, do you think part of that journey and part of you feeling ready is due to your
experience with therapy?

JESS: Yeah, therapy has been a huge part of reaching this point. I think the music industry
is insane, and when you’re a woman, it sometimes feels like you’re constantly fighting,
which can feel heavy at times. Every day is a mix of tests, challenges, rewards, excitement,
highs, and lows.
There’s no preparation for that kind of pressure. And as someone who’s naturally sensitive
and in touch with my emotions—just by being creative and vulnerable—it really takes a toll.
Therapy has helped me understand where these feelings come from, why they exist, and
how to manage them. It’s been a significant part of how I’ve been able to approach the
studio, interact with people, work, and live my life. I’ve made changes in both my personal
and professional life to cope with everything, but it’s still freakin’ hard (laughs)! I definitely
don’t have it all figured out.

ALEX: Who does?

JESS: No one.

ALEX: Exactly.

JESS: Apparently it’s a lifetime of working and apparently you never get there anyway,
(laughs). So here we are.

ALEX: So how would you describe Jess Glynne today to all the new people/fans as well as
those who’ve known you for a while but are seeing a new side of you?

JESS: That’s a good question. Do you know what? I don’t feel like I know who Jessica
Glynne is. I don’t think I could summarise and say to you, this is who I am.

ALEX: Ok, how would you describe Jessica?

JESS: Jessica isn’t figured out. Jessica’s out here, she’s told us some stories, she’s sang
some songs, she’s cried, she’s laughed and she’s ready to get back on stage, be present, and just enjoy the moment. But I couldn’t say she has everything figured out or that she
knows exactly who she is. There’s still a lot to discover.

ALEX: Where do you feel you are now?

JESS: I feel like I am in a place in my life where I’ve had insane experiences, insane
success, I’m about to embark on a whole new journey with this album. I don’t know what’s
to come for work for whatever, but I’m about to put my all into it and embrace whatever it is.
Then Jess in her personal life is in a much more self-accepting, settled place.
I know what I will tolerate. I know what I will not, I’m happy. I am accepting of love and, and
I’m very much trying to do the best I can. So don’t fuck with me. (laughs)

ALEX: Jessica I think we can leave it there, we are about to land and I think you have let
people in enough for now, and I’m excited for people to see the unguarded Jess; the
Jessica I have seen since that first day when you walked straight up to me and said those

You had me at Hello (We both laugh)


Interview: Alex scott

Makeup: Etienne ortega @etienneortega

Hair: Cesar Ramirez @Cesar4styles

Styling: Branden Ruiz

Nails: Jenny longworth @jennynails

Photography: Savanna Ruedy (@savannarruedy)

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