Jess Glynne Plots a Big 2024 After Setting ‘A Foundation’ This Year

Jess Glynne can’t believe it’s already the five-year anniversary of her most recent album, 2018’s Always In Between. “It really is mad,” the British pop star tells Billboard of Always In Between, which turned 5 on Oct. 12. “So much has happened in my life, personally and in my career. … It was never the plan for that to be so long. But it’s just, life happens, right? And I think I’m now accepting of that.”

Over that past half-decade, the 34-year-old singer-songwriter — best known in the U.S. for her smash Clean Bandit collaboration “Rather Be,” but with nine solo top 10 hits on the UK’s Official Charts — experienced profound personal loss as an inadvertent professional catalyst. In 2021, one of Glynne’s close friends passed away, causing the pop star to pause her career and “do a lot of self-work,” she says. Glynne re-emerged from mourning with reevaluated priorities and a revamped team, signing with Roc Nation for management last year and with Republic Records as her stateside label.

With that in mind, Glynne has treated 2023 as an opportunity to ramp up to her third studio album, due out next year. “This year has been a foundation for me to get myself back into the world of music and creativity,” she says. “It’s really been a journey, and it’s been experimental, [but] I feel like I have a really strong vision for this album.”

Last Friday (Oct. 20), Glynne further previewed that vision with “Friend of Mine,” an absorbing pop anthem with production that pulls from drum-n-bass and vocal runs that remind the world why Glynne is considered such a powerhouse. Written with Jin Jin, Ollie Green and DJ Sub Focus, “Friend of Mine” allows Glynne to ruminate on the changing contours of a relationship: “We said some things and we crossed the line, “ she sings, “but will you still be a friend of mine?”

Glynne says that the main hook of “Friend of Mine” came within a 20-minute period during a studio session. “When you break up with someone, you’re mourning the loss of something, but you still want to be able to have that person in your life, because they mean so much to you,” she explains.

“Friend of Mine” is Glynne’s third single of 2023, following the fuzzed-out clap-along “Silly Me” and the thumping dance offering “What Do You Do?,” which were released in April and July, respectively. Those three songs not only suggest a more reflective tone for Glynne’s upcoming album, but also a diversification of sound, with different slants on her soulful pop bedrock.

“With this album, I feel like this chapter has been quite exciting, and refreshing,” says Glynne. “I feel like I’m in a good space.”

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