Photo: Dennis Leupold

Jess Glynne

Following a three-year hiatus, Jess Glynne, one of the UK’s most recognizable voices, is ready to share more of her story with the world.

On April 28, the British singer opened the doors to a new era by dropping “Silly Me,” a more low-key offering from her catchy, radio-friendly hits that have continuously dominated the airwaves. Co-written with Knox Brown, Mike Horner, and Beyoncé collaborator P2J, the laid-back, soulful tune with a folky guitar line is what Glynne describes as a “relatable” song that is a “summary of life.” Upon deciding what should mark her comeback, she recalls receiving her mixes back for the first time and details playing “Silly Me” and another track back and forth in her car. “I don’t know what it was but the feeling in my gut was telling me that this is where I want to start,” she tells EUPHORIA. about how she came to make the final verdict. “You know, people haven’t heard me for a minute and I think there was probably this expectation of hearing me on a big dance record, but for me, the most important thing is that I come back and people hear me and see me rather than on a surface kind of level. I think ‘Silly Me’ allowed me to do that.”

Once the decision was made, Glynne was confident about her choice and didn’t feel the need to second-guess herself. “I felt really strongly and passionate about it,” she says. “I think at this stage, the most important thing is that I’m authentic to myself. I think in that moment of building a foundation of a return after five years, I felt like I don’t wanna throw that moment away for the sake of doing what everybody wants. It allowed me to say something and talk about where I’ve been, and how I’ve got to this place, and it just allows growth.”

With such a distinctive husky, soulful tone to her voice, it’s no surprise to find out that Glynne references the likes of Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, and Indie Arie as some of her early influences growing up. Making her debut during the early part of the last decade, Glynne found herself lending those profound vocals to a handful of dance tunes that would later leave a big impression on her career. In December 2013, she featured on Clean Bandit’s monster hit “Rather Be,” which skyrocketed to the top spot in over 10 countries, racked up over 1.1 billion Spotify streams, and won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Months later, she appeared on Route 94’s “My Love,” a deep-house banger that would become her second consecutive chart-topper in the UK. The music that followed on her debut album, I Cry When I Laugh, saw Glynne establish herself as a heartfelt artist who was commonly known for her big dance anthems, a sound which she claims has always been deep-rooted within her.

“I’m obsessed with pop music,” Glynne states. “For me, dance music is one of my favorite genres. I grew up going to all sorts of places like raves, Ibiza, Greece, all of those crazy places. It’s always been a massive part of who I am. It was meant to be that I fell into that, it wasn’t outta nowhere. I love those songs. Those Whitney, CeCe Peniston, and Chaka Khan vocals sit on those records amazingly. I love the blend of soul and dance, I think it sounds beautiful. It’s never been something that I’ve had to learn to love. It’s something that I’ve always loved.”

Photo: Dennis Leupold

Glynne is moving forward in a big way. Her most recent offering, “What Do You Do?”, hears the London-born songstress delve back into the signature dance sonics that the public has known to love her for. Co-written with Chrome Sparks, Simon Wilcox, and Stuart Price, Glynne was evidently in good company when creating this song. “I’d never worked with these guys before and it was a real experience,” she says about the writing process. The exhilarating vibrations the song exudes are what Glynne had been yearning for in the studio and as far as she is concerned, “We nailed it!” Glynne continues, “‘Silly Me’ makes me feel one type of way, but ‘What Do You Do?’ is a whole other realm. It’s like euphoria, literally.”

Like all the best dance records, the carefree, feel-good production has been laced with thought-provoking lyrics that are bound to resonate with listeners. “I think a lot of people who have been in love or been in relationships can maybe relate. I think a lot of us are probably not honest with ourselves a lot of the time and a lot of people kind of shy away from addressing how they feel and we go wild. We want what’s bad for us and we don’t kind of know how to navigate our feelings because we’re all trying to find the same thing I guess ultimately,” Glynne explains. “What I love about this song is that there is this deep meaning behind it. But it’s just like, fuck it, man. Just go out there and have fun and be free and whether it’s good or bad for you, just do what you feel.”

Glynne has always taken huge pride in her ability to songwrite, and rightfully so. Whether it be penning tracks for herself or other artists (she can be found within the credits on songs for Little Mix, Kelela, Paloma Faith, etc.), it appears to be a gift that comes naturally to her. That said, the ability to start writing the new material for her third album this time wasn’t all smooth sailing. Like many of her peers who found themselves in a similar situation, the global pandemic was partly to blame. “I had a complete switch off. I could not even think about music, to be honest with you. For months, I was tapped out of music. It wasn’t until the latter part of that year that I was like, ‘Yo, I need to get in the studio,’” she recalls. Once Glynne was able to find the inspiration and motivation, she contacted someone at her label and started to map out her ideas and the people she wanted to work with. When it was eventually safe to do so, Glynne honed in on her craft and returned to the studio, describing those early sessions as a “joyous” experience. “It was really refreshing because after 2019, I had been around the world touring and it had been nonstop pretty much for like seven years. I didn’t wanna see a microphone, I didn’t wanna see a stage, I didn’t wanna see a studio. I just needed a minute to just breathe,” she says. “It was really refreshing going back in the studio and looking at a mic and a piece of paper and hearing music when I was excited to create and being with people that were so inspiring and so enthusiastic to be a part of this. It just felt so magnetic.”

Photo: Dennis Leupold

For someone who has been releasing music for as long as Glynne has, she will have received her fair share of critical acclaim. And while the new music has left a positive impression on both fans and journalists, Glynne admits it’s not something she is bothered to purposely seek out anymore. Instead, she’d rather leave the music to do all the talking. “I haven’t gone searching for what people are saying. I like to read it sometimes when it comes my way but I don’t go searching just because I think my expectation is a really big thing,” she says. “I believe if a song is great, it will do the job. If you put all the right things behind it and you go into it with belief and the people you are working with are all on the same page and you know that you are dealing with something that feels good, I think you win. There’s no loss.”

In all honesty, it’s been nothing but constant wins for Glynne ever since her musical breakthrough. To date, both of her chart-topping albums have helped accumulate over 4 billion global streams while 11 of her singles have been certified platinum, 7 of which reached No. 1 —  the most by any solo British female artist in history. In addition to her golden Grammy trophy, Glynne has won three Ivor Novello Awards and been nominated for nine BRITs. She’s headlined festivals, supported the Spice Girls in stadiums, and even embarked on her own nationwide arena tours. In fact, she’s so successful to the point where Glynne was named one of the “Most Influential People Under 30” in 2019 by Forbes magazine. Her personal biggest achievement, however? To still be given the opportunity to live out her number one passion. “To be here where I am and to be able to do what I do is the biggest achievement I could ever have achieved,” Glynne says. “I’ve made it to this point, I’ve survived and I’ve been able to secure a career in this industry that was a dream, and to be able to do what I love at the level that I’m at and be able to still release music.”

So, what can we expect from Glynne for the rest of the year? “As it stands, the whole thing’s a surprise,” she teases with a giggle. “I’ve got a lot planned. The stuff I have created on this record are probably some of the best songs I’ve ever written, to be honest with you.” She ends our call by expressing her excitement for the upcoming “What Do You Do?” music video, expected to be released within the next month. “I’ve been slowly teasing visuals for this record. I cannot wait for people to see it. The puzzle is going to all add up.”