After completing a lengthy tour in 2019—for second album Always in Between—and weathering the start of the pandemic, Jess Glynne felt trepidatious about trying to create again. “I was like, ‘Can I still write? Can I still sing? Who am I?’” the singer-songwriter tells Apple Music. She began writing JESS in August 2020 and, to ease herself back in, she teamed up with her “safest human,” producer Knox Brown, with whom she worked extensively on her 2015 debut I Cry When I Laugh. She also invited her regular songwriting partner Janée “Jin Jin” Bennett to join their sessions. “At first, we were trying loads of different things and just figuring it out,” Glynne recalls. “But then we wrote a song called ‘Enough’ and I was like, ‘This is going on the album. This is a version of me that I like.’” Though Glynne’s gritty rasp was front and center on her previous albums, she was best known for a string of glossy dance-pop hits including “Hold My Hand,” “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself,” and “Rather Be” with Clean Bandit. But, this time around, she found her sound was naturally evolving. As she shuttled between sessions with top producers, including Greg Kurstin (Adele, Foo Fighters), Malay (Lorde, Frank Ocean), and Jim-E Stack (Dominic Fike, Bon Iver), Glynne was writing everything from soulful bops to country-flecked rock, plus uptempo tracks with hints of disco and drum ’n’ bass. She soon realized she needed a new team to achieve her musical vision and, in January 2022, Glynne parted ways with Atlantic Records—her home since 2013—and signed a new deal with EMI. She also left her longtime managers and later joined JAY-Z’s Roc Nation stable. “When you have success with a certain type of song, the industry wants you to keep on repeating it, but everyone changes,” Glynne says. “I’m not the same version of myself that I was 10 years ago. What I want to sing and listen to has evolved.” The result is Glynne’s richest and most revealing album to date. Read on as she supplies a candid track-by-track guide. “Intro” “Knox sent me a beat late at night and Jin Jin, who I write with a lot, said, ‘Just sing whatever’s in your head.’ The lead vocal you hear now is exactly what came out; we didn’t change it from the first take. I love the message because it really sets the tone for the album: ‘I’m being me—unapologetically me—and you can take it or leave it. But I’d love for you to listen with a free mind.’” “Silly Me” “I wrote this song during a late-night session with Knox and [producer] P2J. We were talking about our lives and the jobs we’ve done and reflecting on our mistakes. And we were like, ‘Well, if I hadn’t done that then, I wouldn’t be here now.’ I think having this song quite early in the album is important because reflection has been a massive part of my journey. I’m saying, ‘I’ve accepted that part of me, now onto the next.’” “Easy” “This was the last song I added to the album. I didn’t think anything was missing, but then I did ‘Easy’ and it was like, ‘That’s the missing piece!’ I really love the message because not everyone has that person in their life that makes it easy, but I’m really fortunate to have found that someone. I’ve been on such a roller coaster so I really appreciate getting to the point where I have an incredible support network.” “Say No” “I made this with Malay, who produced one of my favorite albums, Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE. I was actually quite nervous about getting in a room with him but we connected from the get-go, and I wrote ‘Say No’ with a real fire in my belly. It’s about the changes I’ve made in my career recently in order to get to where I’m at now. It’s a reminder of the power of saying ‘no’ because, for so much of my career, I felt like those ‘nos’ have been compromised.” “Enough” “Before I wrote ‘Enough,’ I was almost trying to regurgitate what I’d done before. I was making all these upbeat and dance records, but when I listened to them back, I’d think, ‘This doesn’t sound like me.’ Then I wrote ‘Enough,’ and it felt right. I was like, ‘You’ve just been really vulnerable and real in this song and that’s what’s working right now.’ It set the tone for this whole process—don’t try to be something you’re not; just be you.” “Friend of Mine” “I made this track with [DJ/producer] Sub Focus at the end of last summer. It was a different process for me because I’d never done a drum ’n’ bass record before. It’s a song about forgiveness, but also about acknowledgment and being able to hold your hands up and accept you’re not perfect. Sometimes in a friendship it’s not necessarily about asking for forgiveness, but just [about] asking to have an awkward conversation.” “Lying” “I was super excited to write with [producer] DaHeala, who’s worked with The Weeknd, and I brought Jin Jin into the session. We were starting loads of ideas but nothing was happening, and I remember saying, ‘I need some air.’ Jin Jin and I were actually wondering whether to call it a day. But when we went back in, this musician called Charlie [Coffeen] was playing the piano and we were like, ‘Let’s just sing over it.’ And, I kid you not, ‘Lying’ came out within half an hour. I ended up finishing it with another producer, Emile Haynie, and some singers I’ve worked closely with over the years. I love the sound and the sentiment. It’s a ‘look hard in the mirror’ moment.” “Save Your Tears” “It was really fun building this track from scratch with [producer] Jim-E Stack. We paid a lot of attention to structuring the chords and melodies in each section. When we got to the chorus, I wanted a kind of euphoric payoff with electric guitars. Then we FaceTimed Jin Jin who came through with extra lyrics and melodies—she actually changed the way I sing the hook. Because we spent so much time on this track, I couldn’t listen to it for a minute, but when I came back to it later, it was a real treat. It’s such a vibe.” “What Do You Do?” “I was in the studio with [producer] Chrome Sparks and got this notion of doing a house record. He was playing around with sounds, and we got into a really deep chat about past relationships. We were talking about how sometimes you can love someone so much, but it’s not enough. When that happens, when do you know to let it go? It’s about being in toxic relationships that are really damaging because you end up becoming co-dependent. It was quite liberating to write because I think we sometimes shy away from acknowledging experiences like that.” “Say It Isn’t True” “I wrote this song with [producer] Greg Kurstin and [singer-songwriter] Mozella. It’s got a country element and some Fleetwood Mac energy. I love the drums, but the funny thing is, when we finished the record, I remember saying to Greg, ‘Do you think the drums are a bit rocky? Should we make them calmer?’ And he said, ‘Jess, I think the beauty of this record is that it’s classic.’ I’m so glad he took a stance because now I love how they sound.” “Chair” “This song is one of my favorites because it’s incredibly vulnerable. I was going through quite a heavy breakup and I’d just had this really awful loss [of a close friend]. I didn’t really know how to manage my emotions, so when I went into a session and started singing, this song just kind of fell out. I called it ‘Chair’ because that’s what I see when I hear it: an empty chair of loss.” “Do You Know About Love?” “This was also liberating for me to write. I love Malay’s production and the ambiguity of its message. It’s about allowing yourself to fall in love, be it right or wrong, because you want to find out more. That’s one of my favorite things about love: when you meet someone and there’s a fear on either side, but you acknowledge it. Like, ‘I want to take that risk for you because what’s the worst that can happen?’” “We Had Something” “This track is very disco. It was on the album, off the album, on the album, off…I wrote it quite early on and couldn’t make sense of how it made me feel, but this is why it’s important to have people around you who can remind you why songs matter. I’m so glad I decided to keep it on the album because it’s got such a euphoric feeling and reminds me of where I started in this whole process.” “Love Me” “This is a confident, sexy record I made with Chrome Sparks. This journey I’ve been on the past few years [has been about] finding liberation as a woman: being able to stand confidently and be authentically myself. For a long time, I was made to feel bad if I showed that side of me. I was told, ‘That’s not what people want from you. Be relatable.’ So now, this song reminds me that being confident and sexy is just another part of being a woman and it’s important to embrace all sides of who you are.” “Promise Me” “I wanted to seal the album with a kiss, and this song felt perfect. I’m saying, ‘As long as you promise me love, then we’re all good.’ ‘Promise Me’ was a real turning point for me because [Roc Nation vice-chairman] Jay Brown heard it and wanted to know more. I went into that meeting feeling so insecure and unworthy but he reminded me that I’m good enough. I’ll never forget him saying, ‘There’s always a way forward. You can do what you want.’ A little later, when the time was right, we started working together, so this song really did bring in a new beginning.”

Other Versions

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada