Jess Glynne talks accepting her flaws, musical therapy and sticking two fingers up at critics

The singer, 28, smashed records earlier this year when she became the first female British artist to land seven No1 hits in the charts here.

Chatting ahead of the release of her second album today, the striking singer reveals how she overcame being downtrodden by male record executives to become one of the ­biggest names in music — and admits she is pleased to have the last laugh.

Jess says: “It has been difficult. There have been circumstances where a male, dominant character prevented things from happening and I’ve had to work through that.

“I wouldn’t say necessarily that I’ve been stunted at any point — but I’ve definitely experienced things as a woman I wouldn’t have experienced if I wasn’t a woman, 100 per cent. At times, I’ve not even been ­considered to have an opinion because I’m a woman.”

One male executive warned Jess to give up entirely on her dreams of chart success.

She says: “It is a nice feeling to have had success when someone said to me, ‘Don’t give up the day job, Jess!’ Someone senior in the industry said that to me. I was like, ‘Wow!’

“I remember getting that email. I still have it. I love that. Those moments make it all worth it. Because yes, obviously it’s nice to feel I can put two fingers up to people who weren’t supportive.”

In her latest album, Always In Between, Jess opens up emotionally after emerging from a difficult relationship break-up. She hopes the record’s searing honesty resonates with fans.

Growing up in the affluent North London suburb of Hampstead, her father Laurence was an estate agent while mum Alexandra worked in the music business.

Jess admits she was not academically minded, taking jobs at a hairdresser, a fitness centre and later at the BPI, the body that helps musicians process royalty payments.

While working at a music management firm, Jess crossed paths with influential songwriters and producers. A path to stardom emerged as her own songwriting talent became clear.

But Jess reveals that she struggles with fame and is uncomfortable with the media’s scrutiny of her. She says: “I’ve never been the most secure person.

“Everyone has insecurities and coming into the limelight has been very difficult for me. I am who I am. I’m not going to change. If I have a bad day, I have a bad day. If I have spots, I have spots. If I wear the wrong outfit, I wear the wrong outfit.

“If I say the wrong thing, something you don’t like, I’m only human and I make mistakes. For a long time, I’d beat myself up about it all and panic about it. Now I accept I can’t change who I am and it is what it is.

“It’s amazing, as a woman, to be able to make yourself feel good and dress up, put on make-up and embrace yourself.

"But it’s also really important as a woman to embrace yourself naked. That’s really important.

“You need to do that in order to be happy in yourself. Accept your flaws, even though you’ve got them. That’s what I’ve done.”

On the new album, Jess opens up about her personal life following that distressing break-up.

Jess, who is bisexual, rarely talks publicly about her relationships.

But the new record lays bare the extent of her anguish.

Yet the singer is determined to maintain a positive message in her lyrics — to help fans deal with their own problems.

Some fans have told Jess that the lyrics in her previous album even saved them from suicide.

She says: “When I write music, it’s like a self-therapy — something I do to release my own emotions, to say things I wouldn’t necessarily say to someone because I struggle with ­talking about it.

"It’s an amazing thing to have that platform. I learned that by releasing my first album.

“I wrote this album for me, obviously. It’s all my personal journey.

"But at the same time, I guess I didn’t have in mind last time that I’d be changing or even saving someone’s life.

"I guess I had that in the back of my mind with this album.

“I’ve met people who were on the verge of killing themselves and I’ve had letters from people who were going to kill themselves until they listened to my music.

People who have been bullied and discriminated against for being who they are but saw ­something in me.

“I got letters and messages and you meet these people and you somehow change their life. It sounds so extreme but it’s a fact.

"Just listening to my song, that’s helped. It blows my mind.”

On Always In Between, Jess sings about love and loss, making it clear she “doesn’t need a man”. But she will not reveal the gender of lovers mentioned in ­specific songs.

Three years ago — despite music industry pressures to sing about heterosexual relationships — Jess revealed that a girlfriend had inspired tracks on her debut record.

And the superstar, who is single, insists she would never change a song for purely commercial reasons.

Jess says: “I don’t ever ‘genderfy’ lyrics. No one’s ever said to me it would be better to say ‘man’ than ‘woman’ in a song.

"If someone said that to me, I’d die.

"In fact, if someone actually did say that to me, it would blow my mind.

But I guarantee that has happened (to other artists) and I ­guarantee someone would still say that. Right now, in 2018, it will still be said — and I think it’s s**t that sort of thing still happens. I’d like to think that times have changed.

“No one would ever say that to me. They wouldn’t dare. Everyone who works with me knows that.

"If I’m writing a song about someone, I don’t need to tell them. That’s just how I feel, you know? It’s personal to me and it’s not anyone else’s business.”

With the new record — two and a half years in the making — out today, Jess admits the pressure is on to repeat her amazing success.

But she will not be obsessing over its chart position.

Jess laughs and says: “I don’t know what I’ll be doing. I’m too scared. I won’t be stalking the charts. I can’t even think.

I know I’m not going to sleep on Thursday night but hopefully I’ll have a drink and it will be fine.

"When I was told about the seven No1s record, that was surreal.

“I still feel like I’m so early on in my career, so it’s weird to have something so big under my name. It’s incredible. I’m so proud, obviously, of everything that I’ve achieved so far.

“I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great artists, with some amazing songs and stuff that we’d written. But people forget I’ve still only released one album!

“I know for a fact I still have to earn my stripes. I need to work my ar*e off in order to make this s**t last. It’s not a given. My focus now is on making it last for ever.”

Jess Glynne Album Special

TODAY Jess Glynne releases her second studio album, Always In Between.  The record is packed with her radio-friendly brand of pop but is deeper and more revealing than anything she has released before.

Here, she talks through the album and reveals the sentiments behind the songs.

NO ONE

No One’s the first song I wrote for this album two and a half years ago. It was a conscious decision to put it first, because I think it states my frame of mind at that point in time where I was falling into a world of the unknown.

From the first album to now, I’ve been on a mad, mad rollercoaster and I guess this song kind of states a lot of that. It’s saying to someone, would you be there if it all fell down? It’s hard to be in a relationship when you’re living the sort of life I have been. When you’re living your life and they’re living theirs, you have to invest a lot of emotional time in someone because they become insecure.

I’LL BE THERE

It’s very chart-friendly but a really personal song. It was about my friend. She was going through a really s**t break-up and was in a really dark place. I hadn’t known her that long. She’s a songwriter, but sometimes you just get on with people and we spoke quite a lot. She knew I’d been through an awful break- up, I guess, and understood and related to how I got through it.

When I saw her next, she said, “I’ve started this idea, can I play it to you?” And it went, “When all the tears are rolling down your face” . . . “And then It feels like yours was the only heart to break.” I was really emotional. I just cried again, and I was like, “Have you written that for me?” We sat down and she asked if I wanted to finish it. It was a really nice moment between us.

THURSDAY

I think this is a song that’s just saying, “I’m not going to abide by what people expect, I’m going to do me.” That’s enough and anyone who wants to be a part of that should respect that. Me saying things like, “I’ll build my own independence, I don’t always need a man” is a statement saying, “If I want to build a f***ing chest of drawers, I can do that.

And it’s like I’ve learnt a lot, you know. I’m not with anyone now, I am on my own, but that’s OK. I have amazing people around me but I don’t need someone to do anything for me. I can do it on my own as a woman.

ALL I AM

It’s celebrating all the people who make me who I am.The people who allow me to be free as myself and free to love, and those people who love me just as much.

At times we forget to embrace the people around us and tell them how we really feel.  So this is a song where I just sum up how much everybody means to me who stood by me in the past when I’ve had down periods and who stands by me today.

123

This song is about being open to love. I went away and I was with a group of people. Everyone was going through things and we all became really close. And it was a song that just said, “Ah, why can’t love just be easy? Why do we have to be scared?”

NEVER LET ME GO

It’s a really great message for somebody, just saying, “Do you know what, just trust me, I’m not going to let you down.”

BROKEN

A song that is really deep. This album is about self-acceptance a lot, and what I’ve been through. I was at a bit of a low but this is about my two best friends, two girls in my life who have got me through everything and anything.

The three of us have this incredible bond because we all work in the same industry.We understand what goes on and understand the trials and tribulations more than anyone else. We’re just there for each other. When I’ve felt broken and done something stupid, disappeared and had moments, they’re the people that have appeared.

HATE/LOVE

A definite painful break-up song. It’s about when you go through a split and you really hate someone but you would never do anything to hurt them. You hate them because of how they made you feel but at the same time – it f***** me off because I could never hurt them.

When you fall in love I don’t think you ever not love someone, you’ll always love them. That sums this song up. A lot of people will be able to relate.

WON’T SAY NO

I think it’s a song that everybody needs in their life. You always need a moment of feeling free – like I’m going out with my mates and I just want to let go. If a friend says, “I want to go wild and do something crazy,” this is me saying, “Cool, I’ll come too.”

ROLLIN

This is the same sort of thing as a couple of the others. It’s about learning to appreciate yourself and self-worth. It also says, “If you want to come along with me, you have to earn the right.”

NEVERMIND

My favourite. Every song on this album has been a challenge. It’s the most honest I’ve ever been in music and I think it’s my best songwriting. Nevermind says, “I gave everything my best shot, at least I can say I’ve tried.”

I guess it’s me saying I’ve realised not everything works out in life and unfortunately we hurt and we go through things – but never mind that because it’s done and there’s no point dwelling on it.

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