How does it feel to be on Dontstopthepop?
It’s a very awesome feeling. I have been working very hard to get to this point, and now to be featured on your site marks the beginning of something amazing for me!
What are your thoughts on the music industry as it currently stands?
The music industry is something that I still really believe in, and pop music is taking center stage! Things are changing, and right before our eyes, but I think this is part of the evolution of industry. I have faith that at the beginning and end of every day, that people love music and want music in their lives.
I mean you've seen it from so many sides. Singer, songwriter and now you're returning to the front once again. Excited much?
Sooooo crazy excited about it, you have no idea! Being right at the front of my own project has been the “everything” of my life, and everything on the way has been like stepping stones to this moment. I love performing my own stuff, and I’m syked about creating my own show to my new music too !
How did Ripping up the Disco come about?
Well the amazingly talented Cutfather, who shares the same publisher as me, was looking for someone to write on top of this track he had done with his partner Jay Jay, and our publisher suggested that I should be given the chance to put some of my magic on it. It was a “chance” because at that time I was fairly unknown as a songwriter, but I took the challenge head on and decided to totally “pimp out” the song lyrically and melodically! It was carefully crafted using high tech and visual lyrics (which I’d heard Kylie really likes in her songs), and then Cutfather, Jay Jay and I went back and forth on the internet, making little changes, and perfecting every moment of it. The best part was that many of the background vocals that I recorded myself ended up staying on the final product – quite cool!
Did you meet Kylie in the process of it all?
I would have met her, but I was on tour with Nelly Furtado at the time she recorded the song. The guys all knew how bummed I was to be missing this groovy day in my songwriting career, so they got Kylie to call me on tour… it was SO sweet… I was actually in my hotel room in Toronto Canada and the phone rang really early in the morning. I answered it, and the person on the other line said “Hello Jasmine this is Kylie”… and we talked for about 15 minutes! As you can imagine, I floated on cloud 9 all day with a giant smile on my face!
Cool! Would you consider working on her 11th album?
Absolutely, yes indeed!
Right back to your music! In the Dontstopthepop review, I said your sound was a bit of Cyndi, Prince, Kylie, Madonna and I'd now like to add New Order, Sam Sparro and Eurythmics into that heady mix. Is that a fair description?
Wow that is so insanely flattering! That is a highly impressive list of artists you have there. I think that I have been influenced by many of them, especially Cyndi Lauper, Prince and Madonna… I have been a fan of their music from the very beginnings of their careers. I have danced on my bed as a teenager, and sung my heart out to their songs in the mirror my whole life, so I guess it wouldn’t be far to think that I had created music that encompassed a bit of their sounds… all a part of my musical roots.
"There is a safety in lovers who can risk it all". Wow! How (and where) did this line come from? Its amazing!
I am a risk taking, die hard romantic, and I can get pretty deep about it at times. I believe in taking risks. As far as I’m concerned, nothing great has ever been achieved without taking a risk somewhere along the way. I think this brings along a certain type of safety. There is safety in just trying, because there’s no more fear of the “what ifs”. The safety may just be in your heart, but it is safety nonetheless.
Lets talk more about your songs. I truly love The Truth! Its very 1980's but not in the electronic way. Its 80's and yet it isnt. Confused. I am! Whats that song about and where did it come from? Its just so irresistibly catchy. Also it perfectly introduces you, your sound and what your about. (Listen The Truth here)
I’m so glad you like it. It was a song that was started on a beat and some claps. I wanted to write something fresh, hot and original, but still really pop, and something people could dance to. I realized that in order for my music to rise above, it had to take the same type of risk I spoke of before. I needed to be brash and sassy lyrically on top of the sickest rhythm and melody I could invent, so what’s more sassy than pointing out that lying sucks! The crazy thing about lying is that we’ve all done it from time to time. But lying can be like a disease, a virus, a spreading component that has it’s own life, and things can quickly spiral out of control. Respect goes to those who just “mean what they say” and that is “the truth”.
I love the way you belt out notes at the end of songs. You've got some lungs on you and yet you restrain your ability to "Bonnie Tyler" your songs. Why the restraint?
Because “overkill” on anything just takes away from the beauty of things. Too much “belting” can get annoying if it’s everywhere, besides I think there are many dimensions to my voice so I try to feature them all.
Restless Heart. Purely amazing. A post-modern power ballad. We don't get many of those these days. How on earth did you construct that song? (Listen to it here)
If I were the type who were prone to to exaggeration, I would say writing Restless Heart saved my life. I was going through a tough time and really felt I needed to pour my guts out in a song. I wanted to write something that was as meaningful and had some type of epic quality like the song “Nothing Compares To You”. It didn’t need to be overcomplicated in it’s construction, just explore and expose naked emotion. Writing the song literally started with the first instrument you hear on the song. My friend and co-writer Toby Pitman just was fiddling through sounds, and suddenly he played that note, and I started to sing “It didn’t matter to you baby…”. The song was completely written, recorded and mixed in about 7 hours of just insane writing. We couldn’t stop. I wanted it to be epic and have legendary qualities. I wanted undeniable 80’s instruments and big toms in the drums. I wanted those drums to kick in the 2nd verse with a desperate knock out feeling like I had in my heart. I wanted to explore the fragility in my voice like Kate Bush, and face my fears in the belted moments. I guess you could say that the song came straight from my heart and soul.
Don't Go is simply fun. I can see Madonna of Desperately Seeking Susan strutting to this right after she danced to Into the Groove. Its your most popilicious moment. You can smell the bubble gum. Will it be a single? (Listen to it here)
I really hope it will be a single. It’s one of my favorite songs and really shows the fun quirky side of me that is in fact the biggest part of my life. I’m a fun and crazy girl, and being cute like the chorus is actually kinda sexy to me.
Yeah its a it's a real sing-a-long song!
Yeah I sing it to my fiancée almost every time he leaves for a tour… it’s pretty much inspired by him haha! We both work in music, and we both travel a LOT. I used to be so sad when we would be separated for long periods of time, whether he was on tour, or whether I was on tour, so I just made light of it so he could see a smile on my face when we say bye-bye at the front door of our house.
Is the album done yet? Or are there more songs still to be recorded?
I’ve written over 45 songs for the album, so I really think I have enough to chose from, but I still get some amazing ideas, so once we decide on which label we’re going to work with, then I will probably explore a few more ideas… who knows, I never say never!
You've recorded a lot in Sweden which seems pretty much like a hub for great pop songs. What were your experiences like?
I love Sweden! I think they put something in the water there that just breeds brilliance in song writing. I don’t know what else can explain so many people in such a small country that just completely “get it” when it comes to pop music. Pop music and rock music too.
She Like's To Say No is another song that'll get people on the dancefloors. Again, there are traces of Quincy Jones and his tricks we all adored on Thriller. What are your musical influences?
To say that I was influenced at an impressionable time in my life by the music of the Genius. Quincy Jones, would be an understatement! At my house growing up there was music on all the time. A lot of it was soul like Barry White, Quincy Jones and Peobo Bryson, or mainstream funk like Rick James, but there was also a lot of classical music like Mozart and Beethoven, and there was even some Nana Mouskouri and Julio Iglesias! Writing She Likes To Say No was like trying to invent a new sound so I tried to put on my “Madonna Shoes” and think about pushing the boundaries and re-invention. I have been exposed my whole life to so many different types of music, so it was kind of like reaching into my magic bag of tricks and seeing what I pulled out.
So what makes you go "Oh that that's gotta be on the album?".
Writing with certain people has brought out the real Jasmine as a sound, so when the song sounds like it has that special quality, then the first box is ticked. Then I have to put on an a&r hat and think about what is right for the project, what songs complement each other and make a good compilation or series of songs. In the last few months I have become aware of what types of things I’ve been missing from this “compilation”, so I create boundaries and set goals in my songwriting. I know it’s working because I suddenly had this feeling that I had finally made an album.
I've heard ten songs you've done so far and you've clearly managed to engender your sound. I know I've used comparisons with other acts but that's just to help myself get to grip with what your presenting. A bit like a map. Beyond this, you've constructed the sound that is distinctively Jasmine. Two questions that spring to mind. Who helped you with this and how do you feel about writing something that's clearly 'you' so early on in your music career?
The people that have helped me craft my sound are the writers that made me feel like I could “let my hair down” and be “myself” in the studio like I would be with my friends at home. In fact I have become pretty good friends with many of them. They have made me feel like I could express my ideas and try new things without the fear of being judged or told that my ideas are not worth trying. They are also the guys who trust me when I say that I know exactly what I’m looking for, so they also let me take the lead when we write songs for me. They are all amazing and different guys, and that’s why there is a groovy cross section of songs.
Where are you based? Canada, Rome, Norway, Japan or the UK?
Well I was born and raised just outside of Toronto in Canada, but I have been living in the UK for 4 years now. I still go back to Canada a few times a year because my family and my closest friends are there, but London is home now.
Can you tell me something about your first "leg" of your pop princess career in Canada. You had an album out there already is that right?
Yes I did my “pop apprenticeship” out in Canada. It was a lot of fun, and such a valuable experience for me to go through. It was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped shape the artist that I am today.
Indeed. Through the magic of youtube, there's a video of you singing an old PWL hit by Princess. How did that come about?
The a&r guy from the little record company I was signed to had always been a huge fan of the song Say I'm Your Number One, and really thought I would do a smashing cover of it, so I did. After the song was released my best friend J Deschamps (director and editor of Late Night Cinema) suggested we do a music video for it… we sat around my living room in Canada and hashed out some ideas of how to do something that had clean and crisp lines, but was a bit futuristic too and would fit into the super low budget that we had to work with. It was fun, and was the last thing I really did on that album.
PWL/SAW are really evident in your sound. In a good way! What about that sound makes it so addictive? People often say they were the motown of the Eighties. Do you think that's true?
Hell yeah… I think that’s a great description! There was just something so undeniably cool happening in the 80’s, and they just created brilliant pop that reflected their own style of it. The melodies that were written in the 80’s instantly take you back to a feeling, or a moment. I can write addictive melodies because I am addicted to listening to music… in fact I am that girl who listens to a song over and over and over again!
So, Jasmine if there was any other female singer out there who would you most want to do a duet with?
At this point in my life I would say that this person is Nelly Furtado. We have been friends and I have worked with her for close to 10 years. She is incredibly talented and fun to be around. Our voices have a brilliant blend too. She’s got great ideas for songs and she writes amazing lyrics so I know that together we could come up with a masterpiece!
I like to surround myself with people who have a positive spirit and are very goal oriented. I have watched from a front row seat how she has focused on her dream, and then made it happen. Nelly is my girl, and I hope that we’ll get a collaboration going soon!
\You've got an amazing live voice...are you going to put this very electro pop album on stage and tour it?
Absolutely yes indeed! I love touring and performing live, and if I have anything to do with it (and I will have everything to do with it) this will happen in conjunction with the release of the album.
What is your heritage?
My mother is French-Canadian, and my father is from the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.
If you could work with the Freemasons would you?
Absolutely!… in fact there is a track of theirs that I am dying to work with. If it’s written in the stars it will happen.
Do you ever dance to your own music and if not...then which female singer has had you going wild in public?
You have caught me red handed! I dance to my music all the time LOL! It may sound a bit crazy, but I am a fan of my music, and I think I should be no less. I can simply explain this by saying that if I don’t love my music enough to want to dance, why should I expect that anyone else will want to. As for other artists…. I would say that nothing makes me more wild on the dance floor than Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper! There are others too, but the list would just be too long… just bring on the sweetest compilation of early Madonna, The Bangles, Micheal Jackson, Kate Bush, Prince, New Order, The Cure and a host of others that take me back to my
Is it truly fair that you should own so many good songs?
Hahaha… I giggle to start… but if I’m honest with myself, I guess the answer would be yes. I don’t mean that to sound conceited, its just that I have taken a lot of time to really explore “who” I am as an artist and what my sound really is. I take nothing less than I deserve for myself… but I also write songs for other people too. Some of which I wish I could keep for me, but they are not right for what I’m doing as an artist… they are right for someone else’s dream, and we work very hard to get them into the perfect hands.
Because I love fun, I love cute, I love brash, I love sexy, I love cheeky, I love serious, I love real, I love deep, and I love to dance! I’m just a pop kid at heart!
Yeah, I can clearly hear in your music that your passionate about great pop songs with wonderful structures and sounds. Where did this passion come from?
I am passionate about the things that I love, and I love to sing, so I wanted to be the best singer I could be, and then I realized that I could write good songs, so I set myself out to be the best songwriter I could be, and I love to make people happy and make them smile, so the passion lives here and lets the three become one.
Thank you Jasmine!
Thank You to Don’t Stop The Pop and its Readers!
Right, check out Don't Go and The Truth (perhaps the finest pop songs I've heard this year) on her myspace account which you can access here. Its well worth it!