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Jess Glynne to headline Dubai’s Meet D3 festival

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British singer and songwriter Jess Glynne, 27, got her big break singing on Clean Bandit’s Grammy Award-winning single “Rather Be”.

A gig lending her voice to Route 94’s “My Love” followed and she has since enjoyed five UK number one singles and a number one debut album “I Cry When I Laugh”, released last year.

In an exclusive phone interview Jess spoke to us ahead of her headline performance at Meet D3 this Friday about fame, nerves and how she very nearly performed on stage with Taylor Swift.

You have performed in Dubai before, is it good to be coming back?
I love performing in Dubai. Every time I’m here everyone is so warm and friendly, the crowd is always great. I mean Dubai is hot and I don’t deal well with the heat, but that’s the only thing I don’t like about it. It’s always a pleasure to visit and a pleasure to perform here.

Have you had much of a chance to take a look around the city?
Sadly each time I’ve been here I’m in and out quite quickly. I’m not sure why to be honest, but I always seem to be holed up in a hotel before I perform and then whisked somewhere else straight after. I’d love to get out into the desert and get on a quad bike – what do you call that? I don;t know, but I’d love to fly over the dunes on a quad bike out in the desert.

Would you say you still have expectations of the place each time you visit?
Do you know what, I don’t really know enough about the place to have an opinion of the place? I haven’t seen enough of Dubai to comment, but I don’t really have any expectations. I’ve really enjoyed performing in the city and that’s about it. I hope that doesn’t sound wrong. I’ve love to explore more of the city. I guess my perception is that it’s sandy. In my head when I think of Dubai I think sand!

You’ve collaborated with a few big names like Tinie Tempah and Clean Bandit, anyone else on your list?
Oh there are so many people I want to collaborate with… artists I’d love to work with, there are thousands! Oh you want names though don’t you? Man, there are so many I could say! Ok Mark Ronson. He’s definitely someone I really want to work with soon. I’ve wanted to for ages, yeah I’ll say Mark Ronson.

Any artists you missed out on working with for any reason?
Taylor Swift asked me to perform with her on stage at Hyde Park in London. She called and asked me to go on stage with her last year, but I had to say no because I was going into hospital the next day to have an operation on my vocal cords. I was so gutted! I would have loved that, but there was nothing I could do.

You’ve cited your early influences as Whitney, Aretha, Amy Winehouse, who are you listening to these days?
There’s one girl who’s grabbing my attention right now. She’s called Ray Blk. She’s amazing! What she’s doing at the moment is great, she’s such a raw talent. She’s definitely got my attention.

You seem to get a good balance between success and fame – does fame ever get in the way of your life?
Yeah it does get in the way of my life. I spend so much time in front of people it’s hard to get away from the fact people know who you are and recognise you. It’s still weird that people come up to say hi to me when I’m out with friends. It’s impossible to lead a normal life now, but I mean it’s amazing! My fans are always so lovely and it’s so good to get that instant feedback, hear them say my songs helped them through a tough time or made a positive impact. They’re always celebrating what I’m doing, so the fame thing just comes alongside all of that.

Do you get nervous before performing in front of large crowds?
All the time. Every time I perform I get nervous. I mean walking on stage to sing in front of thousands of people is just such a surreal thing, it’s so bizarre. It’s not normal. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t get nervous before doing that. But I just have to suck it up and get out there and by then the adrenaline kicks in.

What has been your career highlight so far?  
I’d have to say playing the O2 Arena in London last night. That was seriously a dream come true. It really was. I think the capacity is 20,000 people, but 18,000 with the stage in there. It was incredible!

You’re on tour right now, do you get homesick when you’re on the road?
I’m in Cardiff right now, so I’m not far from (London) at the moment. But even when we’re across the other side of the world I love being on the road. I always have so much fun. It’s wicked. Of course I have times where I really want to sleep in my own bed or have a proper shower, but no it’s all good.

What are your plans for Christmas this year?
I’ll be at home for Christmas with my family. I’ve got some time off so I’m just going to chill with my family and that’s as far as I’m looking ahead. Next year I’ll think about what’s next and about getting back into things, but I don’t really have a plan. I’m not a planner. I just go with it and let things happen.

Jess Glynne will be headlining Meet D3 on Friday December 9 

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