In this day and age a news cycle is very short. The same might be said when it comes to music, with single songs only getting a few weeks of radio airplay. Even an album released by an artist will only last in the minds of their audience for a year or less. However, every once in a while an artist will give us a special collection of songs. Such was the case for this weeks’ featured artist Jess Glynne, who released her début album I Cry When I Laugh over two years ago. Yet, much of her music is still finding new fans. That’s why I refer to her début as a strong album. There might be a good reason the songs from I Cry When I Laugh continue to be very popular. Let’s look at her start in music and life.
Jess Glynne was born in Hampstead and raised in Muswell Hill, North London. Her father is an estate agent and her mother worked in A&R in the music industry. When I learned that Glynn’s mother was an industry executive, I thought it might be a great boost to her career. Nevertheless, Glynne had to pay her own dues to find success. She applied for the television show The X Factor when she was 15 years old, but dropped out of the audition process following a disagreement with the producers. She attended Rhodes Avenue Primary School, then attended Fortismere School, where she completed her A-levels in 2008, and took various jobs at a boutique, a fitness centre and a hairdresser’s. After a period spent travelling the world, Glynne worked for a music management company in her late teens and began networking with songwriters and producers, eventually honing her artistry for four years.
Glynne completed a year-long music course at an East London college, Access to Music London, where she met her future collaborators: songwriter Jin Jin and producer Bless Beats. One of Glynne and Jin Jin’s compositions caught the attention of Black Butter Records, who signed Glynne to a publishing deal and introduced her to music managers and lawyers. Black Butter co-president Joe Gossa said of Glynne, “her voice just flipped me out […] There was a fierceness to it. She can talk about everyday things in this way that’s just epic”. She signed a contract with Atlantic Records in August 2013, consequently leaving her job at the time in brand management for a drinks company.
After a lot of odd jobs and music studies Jess Glynne finally got that record contract she sought for a while. Of course, she would now need to work hard to prove worthy of that recording contract.
During 2013, deep house producer Route 94 approached Glynne about rewriting and providing vocals for a song of his, called “My Love”, which at the time contained a sample that he was prohibited from using. “My Love”, featuring Glynne, was released on DJ Annie Mac’s compilation album Annie Mac Presents in October 2013. Electronic group Clean Bandit heard “My Love” and approached Glynne to feature on their song “Rather Be”. The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the third fastest-selling single and the most streamed song of 2014. The track attained number-one and top-five positions on charts across Europe and Oceania, and was a top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. In February 2014, Route 94’s “My Love” was released as a single; it also debuted at number one in the UK. Both “Rather Be” and “My Love” received nominations at the BRIT Awards for Best British Single. For her work on “Rather Be”, Glynne won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording and was nominated for Song of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Awards.
From the very start, Glynne demonstrated that she was an artist who would sell music. Moreover she was able to achieve critical acclaim. The only thing she would need to do is deliver more hit music. Would she?
Jess Glynne’s début solo single, “Right Here”, was released in July 2014 and charted in several countries, including at number six in the UK. Glynne appeared at several British music festivals during mid 2014, including Bestival, Glastonbury, Lovebox, Summer Series at Somerset House, V Festival, and Wireless. She toured around the UK from October 2014, beginning in Sheffield and finishing at the Electric Brixton in London. Glynne also did a lot of songwriting collaboration during the year, with Iggy Azalea, Little Mix, MO, Rita Ora, Rudimental, and Tinie Tempah. A second collaboration with Clean Bandit, “Real Love”, was released in November 2014 and reached number two in the UK.
The next year, 2015 brought about the singles that would be included on I Cry When I Laugh. One setback that occurred during the year was Jess Glynne’s need for vocal cord surgery and subsequent cancellation of several live performances. Her illness did not stop the success of I Cry When I Laugh. Jess Glynne became the second British female solo artist after Cheryl to have five number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart when “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” reached number one. I Cry When I Laugh entered the UK Albums Chart at number one.
My first introduction to Jess Glynne was by way of YouTube. I was able to view a couple of video’s that immediately established Glynne as one of my favorites. As I listened to all the songs on I Cry When I Laugh, I realized that the young talented singer/songwriter had something appealing and special. I’m not alone in my assessment of the album. John Aizelwood from Evening Standard wrote that “it’s a relentless listen, probably best served in single exhilarating portions rather than as a whole, but the kitchen sink production on “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is a windswept delight and bold is always more fun than mealy-mouthed”. Digital Spy called I Cry When I Laugh a “mix of emotions, blending heartbroken lyrics with uplifting melodies. The overall formula isn’t particularly forward-thinking, neither is it pushing the fringes of pop, but somehow it comes across as strikingly distinct I Cry When I Laugh is […] an accomplished and uplifting début album.”
I urge everyone to download or stream I Cry When I Laugh and form your own opinion. I guarantee Jess Glynne music will leave you wanting more.