Union Transfer


Jess Glynne

Event Postponed: Due to Winter Storm Jonas, Jess Glynne's show has been postponed to a date TBA. All tickets will be good for the new date once it's announced. Stay warm, everyone!

Jess Glynne

Conrad Sewell

Sat, January 23, 2016

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$18.00 - $20.00


This event is all ages

Jess Glynne
Jess Glynne
Who knew a trip to Pizza Express could inform a young teenagers life so greatly? One evening in 2003, Jess Glynne's parents returned home from a night in Soho with a signed CD by a new singer they had seen performing at the restaurant's regular Jazz night. "It had such a profoundly immediate effect on me," remembers Jess of her parents playing Amy Winehouse's debut album, 'Frank'. "I'd always loved the big pop vocals of Mariah, Beyoncé and Whitney, but hearing a woman's voice that was basically a jazz vocal, so full of individuality? Then realising she was British and still a teenager? That was the moment I knew I wanted to be as singer too."

Glynne is a woman in possession of a rather fantastically distinctive vocal herself. You've already heard the 24 year-old's richly evocative voice on Clean Bandit's No.1 classical-dance smash 'Rather Be', which is the highest selling January No.1 since 1996 with sales in the UK alone of over 600,000, earning platinum status.

The track very nearly didn't happen though. "I've never sung on a song that I haven't written myself, so initially I wasn't at all sure about doing it," Jess admits. "But then I met the band and we went to the studio and had such a great time recording it. I absolutely love the song and I'm so happy to have been a part of it."

She also lends her lead vocal to a second number 1, Route 94's incredible House-flavoured 'My Love' which also debuted at number one in the UK. When that track was premiered as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record, Adele tweeted "TUUUNE" with Lily Allen tweeting that Jess was "slaying the top 3!!!!!!!" as 'My Love' hit the top of the charts whilst 'Rather Be' held the number three position.

Now it's time for Jess to introduce her own sound, a distinguished mix of "Hip Hop with a soul voice and a sprinkling of pop." Hip-Pop-Soul perhaps? She laughs. "I'm really influenced by people like Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, but then I also love singers like Frank Ocean, Jasmine Sullivan and Anthony Hamilton." Jess also identifies 'Aretha Franklin's tone, Etta James's soul, Eva Cassidy's character and the songwriting of Lauryn Hill' as having been heavily influential on her, both as singer and songwriter. "Hearing Lauryn's 'Superstar' had a big effect on me because it made me realise you could write about subjects other than love and people could still hugely relate to what you were saying."

Her introductory song 'Home' - made available with its accompanying video on You Tube and Soundcloud - amalgamates many of her inspirations while ensuring the song is particularly individual to Jess. Produced by one of Grime's key figures, Bless Beats (Wiley, Roll Deep, Wretch 32, Skepta), 'Home' balances brooding cello and impish strings with Jess's reflections on putting the past behind you. "I love that it fits in with the dance sensibility that's so popular right now, but Bless's production takes it in such a different direction," Jess says. "It's a really subtle but strong sound, if that makes sense!"

Despite discovering that she could sing at an early age, Jess was initially put off performing by her school, which wasn't particularly supportive of her ambitions to be a singer. Often overlooked during performances, her confidence took a bit of a knock and so after her GCSE's, she decided to go travelling for a few months. When she came home from exploring South America, Asia and Australia, Jess decided she wanted to work in the music industry – but on the other side of the microphone. Joining the management team that would go on to sign Rizzle Kicks and Laura Mvula, Jess got an up-close, first-hand look at the business, but quickly realised that, despite her school's efforts, she didn't want to stay behind the scenes. "I paid someone to make me a four-track demo and from there I just went and met as many producers and writers as I could. I did a year of songwriting sessions with everyone under the sun but I felt like I was going round in circles because I didn't have one person to develop my own sound with."

It was while doing an Artist Development course at East London's British Academy of New Music that Glynne would meet someone that would eventually become one of her closest musical mentors. Bless Beats was known for his work within the grime scene, producing tracks including Wiley's 'Wearing My Rolex' and Roll Deep's 'Night Life'. The pair began working together and it was through Bless that Jess would eventually secure management and, ultimately, a deal with Atlantic Records. "I was signed on the basis of my own music rather than because I featured on someone's song," she points out. "The Clean Bandit single came about after I was signed, so I know that I have a label who is confident in my own musical vision. I'm so grateful for the platform 'Rather Be' has given me, but now I'm looking forward to being known as an artist in my own right."

As well as Bless Beats, Jess is also working with one or two other co-writers and producers on both sides of the Atlantic to hone her signature sound "I like that I'm not working with hundreds of people or working with the same names that everyone else works with. Ideally I'd like to just work with these people because I feel we've got a great thing going. I'm open to working with other people of course," she adds, "but so far I feel we are creating something really cohesive that is different to what anyone else is doing."

Jess's debut album will be out later this year, proceeded by live shows this summer: "I know that I'm one of a number of British girls to release this year," says Jess. "But I'm confident in who I am. What makes me different is my experiences, my personality, my songwriting. I've had different life experiences, like we all have, and all of that makes me who I am – me."
Conrad Sewell
Conrad Sewell
Finding a sound is everything," says Conrad Sewell, "especially since I love so many types of music and grew up listening to so many types of music. With my voice, I can sing a lot of different styles, and it was a real struggle to hone in on one thing. So since this is the first thing people are going to hear from me, I wanted to focus on the songwriting—write songs that I felt were timeless or represented what I really wanted to say."

Conrad's debut album marks the arrival of a major new talent, although the 25-year-old vocal powerhouse has already racked up some significant accomplishments. He has written songs for other artists in his native Australia; had a European hit with his previous band and, most recently, wrote and sings the hook on Kygo's global smash "Firestone," which already has over 100 million streams on Spotify.

Now, for his debut solo recording, Conrad has worked with an all-star team of writers and producers, including Jamie Hartman (Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone), Sam Hollander (Train, One Direction), and Eric Rosse (Sara Bareilles, Gavin Degraw). "Hold Me Up," the sparkling, exuberant first single, was written/produced by Brian Lee (Lady Gaga, Icona Pop) and Louis Bell. The results draw from pop, dance, rock, even gospel, and display an impressive command of styles, from the blue-eyed soul of "21 Questions" to the wistful "Neighbourhood."

Born in Brisbane, Conrad started chasing his musical dreams early. "Since I was 8, I've been sending out tapes, going to random places to record demos in people's garages," he says. "But in Australia, 'pop' was still almost a dirty word, so I felt like I had to get to America or Europe—and when I did, people reacted to my voice right away."

"I took out a credit card and maxed it out to make a demo when I was 18, and that's what led to the whole band thing. We got signed and had a bit of success in Europe, then that sort of fizzled. But early on, it was clear to me that the songwriting is what gets you to that next level. If you write a great song, people start to listen to you."

Eventually, Conrad found his way to Los Angeles, where he connected with Hartman. They began refining the material, and recording everything live in the studio. "I think previously people have tended to over-produce my voice," he says, "so we wanted to keep it simple and go with the old-school way of making a record."

In the process, the singer was discovering new, more nuanced approaches to his craft. "I've learned that sometimes I need to pull back," he says. "I have quite a big range, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I need to use it all the time. Sometimes it's nice to have those moments when you sing softer, so I've been trying to control it more."

He also developed the confidence to have faith in performances that were more spontaneous and natural. "Capturing moments is an important thing with me, not just singing the record 60 times and trying to make it bigger and more perfect," he says. "Some of the tracks on this album are one take—"Start Again" is the demo vocal that I sang once, and it sort of defined me, like 'I need to be singing soulful music like this!' Those moments are so key for me as an artist."

Conrad points to the classic pop sensibility of "Beautiful Life" as another turning point for the album. "It has this timeless rock feel, like an Elton vibe, and when we finished that one it was like, 'Cool, this is what it is'—it didn't sound hip or trendy, it just felt right." The anthemic "Hold Me Up" emerged out of a late-night, free-form session in the studio. "I've been doing this thing lately where I set up a mic live, put on some reverb so I feel like I'm singing in front of people, put on a track and just flow a melody over it," he says. "It's been hard for me to get up-tempo songs, because I love nothing more than sitting at the piano and melting your heart—that's definitely what I'll tend to do in a writing situation. So when that one came, it was just a fun track that you can dance, drive, sing to, and we can worry about the serious stuff later."

The album is coming out, of course, on the heels of the staggering success of "Firestone," which served as an ideal way to introduce Conrad's name and voice to the world. "We were looking for hip-hop or dance features, so I wrote something in the vein of Swedish House Mafia,' he says. "I thought 'Firestone' was a great title for a song, it sounded epic. Kygo heard it and loved it, and he sent back a first draft with that amazing keyboard line. It wasn't what I was expecting—I was thinking it would be a big EDM thing—but after a couple of listens, I loved it."

Millions of listeners around the world agree, and the pre-release buzz has only gotten louder since Conrad's initial, triumphant showcase performances. It's been a long ride for a debut artist, but everything seems to be lining up perfectly for his arrival.

"I'm putting this record out at the right time for me," says Conrad. "When I decided to do a solo record, that was exactly the time that I was having all these thoughts of 'What do I want to say, what do I want the music to mean to people?' With my band, I never thought about that. I loved singing and being around my mates, and I didn't think so seriously about it, whereas now, with my name on the cover, it's more important to sing about stuff that I feel and have it be real."

"I wasn't ready to do this three years ago. But now I'm ready to come in and be myself."
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123