U.K. soul star Jess Glynne waited for success

At 15, British neo-soul stylist Jess Glynne was looking forward to appearing on her homeland’s reality series “The X-Factor.” Then she changed her mind and walked away from the opportunity. “I don’t think there was a problem with the show — it was just the fact that I was very strong-minded, I knew what I wanted, and it wasn’t that,” she says. Recently, at 26, she made a guest appearance on “The X-Factor,” a conquering heroine with a No. 1 album to her credit, “I Cry When I Laugh,” plus a Grammy for her single with Clean Bandit, “Rather Be.”

You won a Grammy two years ago, a full year before your debut was in stores.

Yeah. Which is so insane. It was a very, very surreal experience. And it was very weird being in a room with so many talents, some of which were my idols. But I was hanging out with my own people – I wasn’t hanging out with anyone exciting. So once I’d won, I went out that evening with my friends and my management, and it was just about celebrating and enjoying the moment.

Do you still hang with the same friends you always did?

Yeah. All my friends are all the same from back in the day. Always. And I think it’s really important, and really special when you can do that. And I also feel really grateful that I’ve had a lot of normal jobs and experienced a lot before I’ve gotten [fame], because I feel like I wouldn’t be as grounded and well-structured in my own mind if I hadn’t. I think if I was 15, 16, 17 and this was happening, I don’t know how well I would have coped.

How did you discover your own soulful sound, post-“X-Factor”?

I decided to write 100 songs and find myself as an artist, and where I wanted to go. And I knew that the only way that I’d find something solid is if I write, write, write and try a million different things and listen to a world of music, as well. Then everything started to change for me.

IF YOU GO
Jess Glynne
Where: Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St., S.F.
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8
Tickets: $25 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 625-8880, www.ticketmaster.com

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