British soul music is having itself a nice little moment. There is of course Adele...the reigning queen of the scene who likely won't be giving up the throne anytime soon. Smooth singing Sam Smith might be several years removed from his massive debut, but you just know he's lurking on the fringes somewhere, waiting to croon his latest velvety tales of woe into the ears of the masses. Then there are artists like Years & Years, Hozier (OK, he's Irish...but in the vicinity I guess), John Newman, Banks, Jessie Ware, which we could get into. For the sake of time, let's not...I think you get the point.
If you dive into all the aforementioned artists you're likely to encounter a lot of sadness...heaps of it, in fact. Which is one reason why the music Jess Glynne has been assaulting the charts with of late is so incredibly refreshing. Yes, there is obviously melancholy there too...there has to be when you slap the title I Cry When I Laugh across the cover of your album. But there is also something euphoric about her personal musical style. The bouncy beats, handclaps, and call and response choruses don't fit with what so many of her sad sap contemporaries are doing.
Sitting in a hotel room in NYC's Lower East Side, the 26 year old artist ponders the label "euphoric heartbreak" that we've presented her with. "That's a really cool way of describing it," she decides, reasoning, "I could have easily written an album about feeling low and broken and hurt...but for me it was about writing an album that made people feel good and hopeful."
Which, as we've discussed, is one way Glynne distinguishes herself from her peers. But it also might be why so many people have taken to her tunes, with mind boggling results. Let's geek out on some numbers for a bit, shall we? In the event you don't think you know this titanic newcomer (because, let's face it...you're probably American. She's gangbusters overseas), give Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" a spin. I'll wait...
Oh, you do recognize that voice? Thought you might. Since its release in late 2013, "Rather Be" has racked up some 273 million plays on YouTube and gone platinum twice over in the US. I Cry When I Laugh, Glynne's proper debut, was released last summer, going platinum in the UK in only 10 weeks, producing 5 (!) number-one singles in her home country, selling over 10 million singles worldwide, and adding another 1 billion YouTube views to Glynne's already healthy tally. In other words, the girl's an absolute force.
In our latest Just Met Up With, we score a little time with Glynne, fresh off appearances on both The Today Show and The Daily Show, and mere hours before leading a sold out party at NYC's historic Webster Hall. Here Glynne gets into the personal motivations that drive her music; how difficult circumstances have inspired tracks like "Hold My Hand" and "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself", but don't define them, and a determined spirit has guided her through her career to date. It's an inspiring chat with an inspiring artist the whole world is getting to know.
and you just have to deal with it, yeah. Okay, cool. Break my bones but you won't see me fall, oh - Yeah I remember coming to New York last year and I was doing some promo. And we got in the car, we were going to the next place. And yeah, it was so surreal hearing it on the radio. One of the radio stations just started like, "Hold My Hand" came on and I was like "What?" I didn't know whether someone had their phone plugged in or not, but yeah and I didn't believe it was actually on the radio, but it was, and it was pretty special. I'm ready for this, there's no denying I'm ready for this, you stop me falling I'm ready for this, I need you all in I'm ready for this, so darling, hold my hand It was like a really spontaneous photo, the album cover. It was really random, like they were just pouring water on my head and taking photos. We were just doing an experiment and it seemed to work really well for the album. I chose "I Cry When I Laugh" for title of the album purely because I do cry when I laugh, as a fact. And I always wanted my album to be a title that was completely relative to me as a person and the journey that, I guess, the album is about. And you know, this album for me is all about hope and it started in a dark place and then ended in a happier place. And I guess crying and laughing is all a part of that. I was going through a break-up as I signed my record deal and met my management and everything started to fall into place. So I was really sad and really happy at the same time. Yeah I guess that's a really cool way of describing it, "euphoric heartbreak," you know. And I could've easily written an album about feeling low and broken and hurt, and I could have songs in there that are just sad and make people feel sad. But for me it was about writing an album that made people feel good and hopeful. And regardless of whether you go through a hard time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it just takes time. And I think, for me that was one of the best pieces of advice I was given by someone. It was hard, and I just needed time, and I think that's why it's so important to me is that, you know, amongst going through such an awful time, there was hope and there was good things going on around me and I wouldn't let that blind me for a minute. Don't be so hard on yourself, no Learn to forgive, learn to let go I guess, like people who heard the songs before, like "Rather Be" and stuff, it was a lot more of a dancer kind of side to me. And people who would buy the album now, the album's a very... I guess it's more soul-based. It's still got an uplifting spirit to it, and it has got a dance element to it, but in a very different way. More of a kind of Prince dance, if you ask me. I just feel like, yeah, it's just another realm of Jess Glynne. Don't be so hard on yourself, no Learn to forgive, learn to let go Everyone trips, everyone falls So don't be so hard on yourself, no Because I'm just ... I think one of the most defining songs for me of that album is "Ain't Got Far to Go. " Cause I spent forever waiting And it's no longer a dream And now I've landed on my feet And I ain't got far to go I'm here to stay, I'm here to stay It was the first song I wrote with Knox Brown and it was a moment where the music, the lyrics, the story all kind of fell into place. And I guess working with someone like him, becoming like the spine of the record and making the album all kind of started there, really. Hey, hey, I know, I ain't got far to go I know (I know, I know) I know (I-I know, I know) I know (I know, I know) That I ain't got far to go, go, go I hope my fans take away, you know, a stronger mentality. I hope it makes them feel good and positive about their lives. I hope it makes them feel like they can believe in themselves. I hope it makes them feel like they're not alone. I hope it makes them feel good and want to dance and go out. I want it to make them feel a number of different things. And now I've landed on my feet And I ain't got far to go Hey, this is Jess Glynne and you're watching Baeble Music.
The deep and soulful vocal tone of London-based Jess Glynne became widely known when streams of "My Love," her collaboration with Route 94 -- the house-focused alias of dubstep producer Dream -- appeared online in late 2013. The track went on to hit the U.K. number one spot in March 2014, but not before "Rather Be," featuring another Glynne guest spot -- this time with the inventive chamber music-meets-house act Clean Bandit -- had reached the same chart position that January. "Home," a solo track produced and written by Bless Beats of Big Life Management, appeared online that February. Two further singles became Glynne's first to chart under her own name: both "Right Here" and "Real Love" (the latter featuring Clean Bandit again) hit the British Top Ten before the end of the year. In 2015 Glynne hit number one again as a featured act (on Tinie Tempah's "Not Letting Go"), but she also topped the chart as a solo act with "Hold My Hand." Glynne's debut full-length, I Cry When I Laugh, followed in August of 2015 on Atlantic. Buoyed by her success on the singles charts, I Cry When I Laugh debuted at number one on the U.K. albums chart.