Jess Glynne is heading for No.1 with sophomore album Always In Between, the follow-up to multi-platinum 2015 debut I Cry When I Laugh (1,119,327 sales - OCC). Glynne’s been breaking records this summer with the most No.1 singles for a British female artist, but she’s also a believer in the long-player and signed up as an ambassador for National Album Day.
It’s a big Q4 campaign for Atlantic, though as our recent Jess Glynne cover story revealed it wasn’t a straightforward process for the singer, who changed tack following unsatisfactory LA songwriting sessions. The recording process was overseen by co-head of A&R, Briony Turner, who opens up to Music Week about Glynne’s comeback...
Jess Glynne has broken chart records as a singles artist. Why do you think it is important Always In Between is appreciated as a body of work?
“I remember having lunch with another A&R (who I greatly respect) sometime during Jess’ first album campaign, and they said to me that Jess’ success as a singles artist was really impressive but that it was unlikely she’d ever sell albums. I knew that just wasn’t true. While Jess’ vocal and amazing songwriting speak for themselves, in terms of chart success she’s an unusual proposition because she’s a true artist - and she connected to her fans on her first record because of this. While working on Always In Between, it was obvious that her sense of self and what she wanted to say had become laser focused. The best way of fully understanding who Jess is as an artist rather than Jess 'record breaker of the charts' is to listen to the album in full.”
Her debut is approaching four-times platinum. A lot has changed in the albums market since 2015 - what are your ambitions for this record?
“My ambitions for artists making music are always twofold: That people love it and that the artist achieves all or most of their goals. Consumption habits are always changing, but if there is passion for the music from Jess’ existing fanbase and, hopefully, some new fans both at home and further afield, she will continue to have a fantastic career and we can look forward to making her third album.
“It's a challenge to keep a digital audience engaged in a full album when there's so much choice and distraction, and it’s very dependant on the artist. How will Jess' campaign pull people into the album? As I’ve said, people are into Jess beyond her hits and hopefully this will be reflected in the consumption of her album. People are pulled into a record because of the music and how it all sits together within the album format. The tracklist is excellent and it’s a really enjoyable listen.”
How important are the songs and Glynne’s voice in making this a successful comeback?
“I remember when we were looking at signing Jess, Alec [Boateng], my co-Head of A&R at Atlantic - we also work together with Jess - said ‘she’s got a proper cut-through radio voice’ (he’s also a radio presenter, so knows!). It’s definitely a real attribute to have such a distinctive voice and such strong songs; it means you have hits which generally lead to record sales. But I think with Jess it goes further. People genuinely connect with her no frills, honest and genuinely caring personality. And I think it’s this, as well as her voice and songs, which makes her truly connect.”
To read our recent Jess Glynne cover feature subscribers can click here.