NCS Music Ambassador Jess Glynne has had one eventful year. It all started when the talented chart-topping singer-songwriter joined the NCS journey, and took lead as an inspiring advocate for the programme. On top of that, Jess has been busy touring around the world and writing songs for her new album currently in the works.
We sat down with the singer at Twitter HQ moments after she surprised team Welly Wangers with the Social Action Star Award, and talked about what it’s been like as an ambassador this past year. After such a busy year, she revealed that she needed to take a few months off to recharge and learn more about herself. Now she’s ready to come back and have one incredible summer performing at hit festivals including Love Box. Check out what Jess has to say about NCS, her biggest change this past year and the new album!
At NCS YES Live, you were handed the baton from Tinie Tempah and became the new NCS Music Ambassador. How has the experience been this past year? Has it changed your view of NCS?
Jess Glynne: It’s been really cool and inspiring meeting all the teenagers. When I first got asked to do it, Tinie contacted me and it’s been a big eye-opener since then. You don’t get taught about livin’ at school. You’re taught geography, science and maths, not real life things like how to pay bills and the expenses of living on your own. Dreams are also restricted. For me, when I was at school being a musician and an artist was unreachable. It was something I wanted. If someone would’ve said you can go to music school and pursue your passion I would’ve loved that. I really think NCS is a great way for young people to learn more about the real world and pursue their passion.
You visited a group of NCSers at the Haggerston School during Phase 2 of NCS, where you even taught the group to sing one of your songs! What were some of the highlights from that day?
Jess Glynne: That was amazing – I walked into the room and surprised everyone! These kids had dreams, looked up to me and what I do. For them to see me with my backup singers and bandmate, I think it was special for them to be a part of it. When they got the chance to ask me questions, some of them stood up and said they felt like they couldn’t do it, it’s hard. One of the girls even said she couldn’t sing in public and I just told her to sing right then and there. If you want to sing, then just sing. No one is going to judge you, so she did it and it was beautiful! To give someone a little bit of confidence, was a great feeling.
You got the chance to present Welly Wangers with the NCS Social Action Star award! To raise money for homelessness, they wrote a song which made it to iTunes! What did you think of their social action project, especially being in the music industry?
Jess Glynne: I was so taken back that this group wrote a song, directed the video and put it all together themselves all for a great cause, and it actually got air time. It’s just absolutely incredible. They worked their ass off to make sure it got seen and heard. It was so emotional watching it. I couldn’t imagine doing all that at 16 – they were so driven.
This year our campaign is about change, and how NCS can change more than just your summer. What has been your personal transformation this past year?
Jess Glynne: In the past year, I got to a point in my life where I feel at one with myself. Throughout the campaign of my first album, I feel like everything was a whirlwind and my life was everywhere and there were so many emotions. Basically I’ve had time off these past few months, and it’s taught me more about myself and that actually I’m not a stressful person – I know how to relax and I don’t need anxiety to rule my life. I’ve learnt how to cope with my anxiety and stress and the pressure of life. Paying attention to what other people are doing has a negative effect on people I think. I’ve been off social media since December and it’s been so refreshing – my phone doesn’t own me. When I come back and do all my music, obviously I’ll be on it again since it’s an amazing way to communicate with my fans but when you’re trying to do you, you have to sit back and just enjoy yourself.
After being involved with NCS this past year, going on-programme and meeting young people, what would you tell teens who are deciding whether or not they should do it?
Jess Glynne: To any young person figuring out their map of life, I’d say go on NCS and open your eyes to a world that you don’t know. I feel like it’s a programme that gives so much more than you can imagine. NCS makes anything accessible and possible and that in itself is a reason to go on it. Schools should apply it to their curriculum because I think it’s just so important especially now with everything going on in the world today.
Currently, you’ve been recording a new album. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Jess Glynne: I’ve wrote songs in the UK and I’ve done some song-writing in LA. I’m taking my time with it all. I’m excited to get back and have new music out, but at the same time I’m enjoying time for myself. I’m taking it day by day.