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A featured artist on Clean Bandit’s Rather Be and Route 94’s My Love, Jess Glynne reached No. 1 in the UK twice before anyone knew her name. Now, her solo single Hold My Hand — a song that showcases her powerful and evocative vocals — sits comfortably at No. 3 after holding the No. 1 spot for three weeks. Glynne tells tabloid! it was a completely different feeling, having a chart-topping single that was attached to her name.

“Oh my God, like, when Hold My Hand went to No. 1, I cried all day. Honestly. No, not all day — but I was emotional. It’s been No. 1 for three weeks now, and every time I’ve heard that it’s still No. 1, it’s been a really big moment for me,” she told tabloid! on the phone from LA last week.

“Seeing my name next to the song — like, that’s my song, that I wrote, that means something really special to me. And it’s about my journey into my album. So yeah, it’s a totally different feeling — and it’s probably the best feeling I’ll ever have.”

Hold My Hand was the second single Glynne released as a lead artist and was the first to top the charts in the UK. It peaked at No. 25 on Billboard’s US Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. Her debut single, Right Here, reached No. 6 in the UK but failed to make an impact in America.

On Friday, Glynne will perform at a new music festival in Dubai dubbed DXBeach, taking place at Zero Gravity. The 25-year-old is billed alongside Mark Ronson, Danny Howard, John Dahlback, Local Heroes, Nightmares on Wax and Sneaky Sound System. It will be her second time in Dubai, having performed at White Dubai last year.

“Oh man, I cannot wait to come out and perform in Dubai. I mean, I flew in and out last year, so I didn’t get to kind of see it at all. I don’t know if I have fans there, I don’t know if I do, but I’m really excited to come out there and play, and share the music with everyone, because obviously I’ll be playing stuff from the album,” she said.

Ahead of the performance, Glynne shared what we can expect from her debut record that’s set to drop this summer, why the X Factor was the wrong choice for her, and how a siesta became the most exciting part of her day. 

Q: It’s 8.20pm for you. What’s your day been like so far?

A: Today has been a pretty mad day. I woke up, had a photoshoot this morning in LA. And then I was in the studio, and now I’m off to a gig. I had a half an hour nap today, which was exciting. My days are pretty packed at the moment. I mean, I’m finishing the album, I’ve got a single out that’s doing really well, and everything is kind of — it’s taking over everything, which is amazing. Tiring at the same time, but I wouldn’t change it. 

Q: Does it ever hit you, what’s happening, or are things moving so fast that it doesn’t sink in?

A: It does hit me. I have moments where I just have like — things happen, and I’ll have a moment where it hits me. And then there’s other times where I have to just kind of keep moving, because if I don’t, everything’s going to run ahead and I’m going to be left behind. I don’t often get a chance to sit and take everything in at once. 

Q: Can you tell us where you’re at with your upcoming debut album?

A: The album’s finished, and it’s an exciting time for me because I’ve been on such a journey with the music, going into the album, and it’s just turned out to be exactly kind of what I wanted. It’s very soul-infused, [it’s] got some really cool, fun [sounds]. It will be kind of pop, everything beats. I think it’s like an album that people maybe aren’t expecting, and it might not be what they thought it would be, but [it might be] better than what they thought it would be. It’s going to be coming out third week of July. 

Q: What kind of collaborations can people expect on this record?

A: I mean, collaborations with producers or artists? I kind of kept the album just about me, really. I didn’t really want to collaborate with too many people, just because I feel like I’ve done that, and I feel like I now need to do my story as me. I mean, there’s one collaboration on there, which happened really organically, and I don’t know whether that will change or not. I’ve worked with some amazing people on the new album, but I’ve kind of kept it quite close to home. Because I don’t want to have a million people involved in it, because I think when you do that, you lose the vibe of it, and it doesn’t feel solid. 

Q: You have a really distinct, soulful voice, and it’s reminiscent of the oldies. Is that something that’s inspired you?

A: Definitely. Growing up, I definitely listened to a lot of soul records, and a lot of R’n’B, and a lot of big power voices. They all inspired me, from Whitney [Houston], to Aretha [Franklin], to Mariah [Carey], Beyonce, Amy Winehouse is a massive inspiration. People like Jay-Z and Kanye as well, just sonically, have all inspired me as well. Prince, as well. Massive inspirations. I’ve kind of taken everything that I love and I’ve made my own versions of it. 

Q: You applied for X Factor when you were 15, but things didn’t work out. Do you think things would have been different had you gone through?

A: I’m sure things would’ve been, but I mean, I walked away from that situation because it didn’t feel right for me. I don’t think it would have ever gone ahead. I guess everything happens for a reason... Now I’ll never look back. 

Q: Like you said, things are crazy at the moment. But where do you see yourself going? What’s the goal?

A: My main goal at the moment is to have an album out — and just tour the world, I guess.


*DXBeach is a 21+ event. Tickets range from Dh200 (early bird), Dh250 (regular) and Dh500 (VIP, which includes access to a raised VIP lounge). Tickets are available through platinumlist.ae and virginmegastore.me. For more information, contact 04-3990009 or 055-5009111.