Tuesday, 6 September 2011


This Northampton based singer/songwriter
owes it all to Avril Lavigne.

When did you first start getting into music?
Oh my god. It was ages ago, I…I’ve always been able to sing. I never really started playing guitar till I was about ten, eleven. Erm, when, when Avril Lavigne first came out. Don’t laugh!
She’s really cool and she was the main reason that I got into song writing. And erm, stop smiling! You’re putting me off! I was really inspired by her because I used to be a skater girl. And erm, I used to be like ‘Oh! I love Avril Lavigne!’ because everyone in my school absolutely adored her. So I wanted to be that girl. My mum and dad bought me my first acoustic which was like ten pounds from Argos. You gotta, you know…reppin’ the Argos acoustics. But erm, from there, my parents, when I was seven, paid for trumpet lessons for me, which I…which didn’t really take off for me, to be honest. So they were like ‘ok, we aren’t going to pay for guitar lessons for you because we spent so much money on trumpets’.
I went on my own initiative, bought myself a guitar book with chords and everything, sat down for maybe two hours a day doing chords and everything. Going over them…that’s just how it came about because…and also! I did GCSE music in secondary school, so that kinda helped me decide what I wanted to do as well. As I was playing guitar and singing before I went there. From there I met a woman called Eleanor McEvoy. She’s a well-known singer/song writer from Island. And she came and she showed us a few things. She said that I was really good and err, it was a…
Another boost.
Yeah. Exactly! Another boost for me to keep going. And it’s basically how I started off with music. It’s really my parents, who bought me that good old acoustic, you know!
So we have Avril Lavigne to thank really.
When I think about it, it’s really silly because everyone is like ‘eugh, Avril Lavigne’.
She’s still good, she’s still releasing hits!
She’s still got it.
And she still looks the same. She doesn’t age.
Yeah. Constantly, forever young.
How many instruments can you play?
Ok. I’m going to sound like a…I play guitar, piano, mandolin, kinda, a little bit of ukulele. And obviously I sing. Erm. I play bass as well, which I don’t play very well. I’ve never played it very well. I’ve tried to pick it up when I went to college. Erm. Because I was like ‘oh dad, I wanna buy a bass, I wanna buy a bass!’. So I spent like seventy pounds on Ebay buying this bass. I picked it up twice and my dad is still trying to sell it on Ebay now.
Hopefully someone will pick it up.
Yeah, exactly. It’s got a nice Beatles sticker on it as as well.
You do quite a lot of covers, what is your favourite song to cover?
This is really hard! Erm…
Are there a few favourites?
When I think of covers, I think of crowd pleasers. I mean, I have covers that I like to play when I’m on my own. And then I have them when I like to gig. I’ll tell you the one when I play on my own, or when I pick up my guitar. When I pick up my guitar I always play “Thinking Of You” by Katy Perry. It’s such a…I love the chord structure. And I love the lyrics. And the way she sings it as well. Erm. I try and imitate that, because she has got such a unique style of singing. I just love singing that, so that’s one that I always play when I pick up my guitar. My favourite cover to play? Erm. Just thinking…I don’t really have an all-time favourite but the one I lately like playing is “Pyro” by Kings Of Leon. I do an acoustic cover of that which is quite a crowd pleaser at the moment. And I’ve got quite a few fans that are like ‘do a recording of it!’. And then, and also “Hey Yah!” by Outkast. One that I do at gigs as well, probably erm, “No Sleep Tonight” by Amy MacDonald. Everybody loves that one, they are all just like ‘wooh!’. Erm. When I went to Turkey, I used to get up on karaoke and do that song every night for the two weeks I was on holiday. I was surprised they didn’t get bored of me. It was like ‘ok, let’s go again!’
Did they love it each night?         
Yeah, they were just like ‘this girl is so good!’. They used to call me Lily Allen as well because my hair was really long then and I had a block fringe. They were just like ‘it’s Lily Allen!’.
Maybe you could be a Lily Allen covers band one day.
That would be awesome. She’s very pretty, she’s very talented. But she gets a lot of stick for her bringing out her accent in her singing and her lyrics especially.
But it adds personality doesn’t it?
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. She’s got a great personality.

Do you think image is a big part of being a musician?
It really is. Erm. About, when I was about thirteen I started getting into vintage clothing. It was kind of like, I loved being different from everybody else. I know like, I know this is a stereotypical story but I got kinda bullied when I was little for wearing glasses and what not. I kind of took that and like, it kind of gave me a buzz being different. So from then I started getting into vintage and incorporating that into my music style. Like I play a lot of folk, but then I dress up when I gig. So it’s kind of a bit different. So you’d expect someone who like plays folk to erm wear. I don’t know , I don’t know peoples stereotypes of that.
Yeah, exactly, yeah. Someone who doesn’t really care much about their appearance. They care more about the music. Which I do, I really do but erm, I also love dressing up as well because… When I was in my band No Man’s Land, I dressed up for every single gig and it was nice because it brings people back. Because they are like ‘oh! This girl dresses up.’ You know. You wanna see what she is wearing next. And I kinda ran out of things to wear in my wardrobe. I started going to all these vintage shops, buying all these flamboyant dresses…and it would get to one gig where I would wear the same dress again. But people would still love it because it’s dressing up. And I don’t think people do that a lot now because I mean…I see like acts like Ellie Goulding in the charts where she like wears amazing clothes. And Lady Gaga for example. She’s awesome! When I was in No Man’s Land, I kinda modelled myself on Lady Gaga.
Going all out, like over the top! Just craziness. It does, it really does, I mean like bands like Mumford & Sons. They incorporate their style into their music. Because they dress in waist coats, smart trousers. They got a certain folky look, yeah. Which I love. And I love bands like that. But for myself I like to dress up and look pretty. You know. Even though I’m sat playing an acoustic.
That’s nice of you.
Just thinking of the fans.
Who is your musical idol?
I’m going to have to say Dallas Green of City And Colour. I mean I’ve got tattoos you know, of him. He’s just…when I listen to him. Like, there is just something that goes on in my head where I just go into this different world. I’m just like ‘how can this guy be this good at music?’. You know, he’s a true inspiration to me. Songs like “Day Old Hate”, the lyrics speak to me in like, a way that no other song has really spoke to me before. Just because I can relate to the lyrics so well. And it’s just, his voice is flawless. And I’ve never seen him live but I’ve seen videos of him on Youtube and like I said, he is flawless live as well as his recordings. I just get such a buzz from listening to him. I’m just like, I wanna be as good as him. Because he is just fantastic and I cannot praise him enough for being such a wonderful musician. He’s just fantastic.
What inspires your song writing?
Mostly relationships really. Erm, I’ve never really…well it is a relationship song called “The Blue Rabbit And The Magical Dinosaur”. And people did say ‘meth is a wonderful drug’. (Laughs) So…but it’s not actually about that, I have a friend that lives in Australia. And the lyrics are “miles away, hours apart but still got each other’s heart.” She was a good friend of mine. And we used to call each other ‘the blue rabbit’ and ‘the magical dinosaur’. So when I like tell people that, they are like “oh, it’s innocent!”.  But yeah, mostly relationships, dodgy break-ups, stuff like that. You know, like Adele “Someone Like You”. Just with not, well, I can do emotion. I just can’t portray it as much as she can but mostly relationships. I really want to try and get into song writing about just going out and having a good time. Like, erm, like I love James Blunt’s new album. It’s really cool, like really laid back and fun and about having a good time. And like meeting someone, that sort of thing. I really want to get into doing that.
So you’ve dealt with the sad emotions, and now you want to…
Now I want to just go out and have fun. I think it’s because I’ve turned eighteen now so I can go out and have a drink.
You can drown your sorrows.
I can drown my sorrows in erm, in a Jager Bomb!
So, do you think you write those songs for yourself or to help other people to deal with it as well?
I must admit there is nothing better than listening to a song by someone who you have never met before and they can explain just how you are feeling. Which I absolutely love putting across in my music. One of my favourite songs that I have written at the moment is “Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst” which is about a relationship obviously. And everything I write in songs, normally I kinda add bits in songs that didn’t actually happen but you know, it’s just for like, the song writing. But “Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst” is one song where everything is just true. And when I listen to it, I still kinda get emotional about it. So when I play it, I get a little bit teary eyed and everything. Even though it’s an upbeat song. And I love songs like that as well, that are upbeat but have like really sad meaning to them as well. But yeah. Mostly about dodgy relationships. Which is good, in a way.
What are your plans this year in terms of gigging and recording? Have you got any EPs coming out or anything?
Well, I actually released an EP called “The Forget Me Not Acoustic Sessions”. That’s out, I mean it’s in production at the moment to be like on CD or anything but erm…I’m going to be releasing it as MP3s as well. It’s already on Spotify.
Keeping up with the future.
Exactly, you’ve gotta keep up with Spotify. I absolutely adore that website. And also, I have lots of singles on Itunes as well. But yeah, that’s my newest one “The Forget Me Not Acoustic Sessions”.
Have you got any gigs coming up?
I’m doing a festival in August, that’s in Daventry near where I live. It’s a really cool, laid back, folk festival. I’m thinking…I’ve just been asked to do a gig, yes! Erm, I got asked to do a gig on the 6th August. Which is going to be at The Fishmarket. I love that place. It’s just all about women, all women who have guitars and they sing. And who are awesome. Also, the 20th August, I’m going to be doing a charity event in Daventry. Because I’m doing a sponsored run and erm, I actually got suggested to play there because they’re going to be having a massive booze up at the end. At the pub. (Laughs) And they were like ‘we just need someone to entertain us’, so one of my friends suggested me because she works there.
Exactly! It’s all about connections in this industry! Erm, she was like ‘Jasmine, pick her’. And she like messaged me and she said ‘are you free to do this?’ and I was like ‘yeah of course! Always!’.
For someone who hasn’t heard your music before, what can they expect from it?
My friend James told me I’m like a mixture of The Smiths, mixed with Laura Marling as well as The Cranberries. But in acoustic. If that makes sense.
Cool. Hopefully that makes sense.
It probably doesn’t but I don’t mind.
What do you want people to get from your music?
I want people to, enjoy…well obviously enjoy my music. I want people to kinda listen to it and kinda get to know me as a person through the music. Because it’s all true, it’s all written by me, it’s all original. And I don’t really know what else to say really because when people like listen to my music they are like ‘oh that’s really great’. They really love it but they never really say ‘oh yeah I can relate to that in so many ways’. Which a lot of my friends have but a lot of people I’ve met at gigs, I think they are kind of just a bit shy to say anything. Which is good. I just, I don’t mind. I just want you to enjoy my music and maybe, you know. Give me a little bit of feedback if you want to?
Do you think it’s easier to get to know you through your music or through you in person?
I’d probably say my music. Erm, well I’m not, well…I can be when I want to be. But I’m not a very open person. I am in some ways, but in other ways like emotions and stuff, I kinda hide everything inside. I also do photography as well, and I kind of express that…on my Flickr, I post a photo that kind of shows what I’m feeling and then post a massive paragraph underneath. About how I’m feeling, but yeah I think it’s better to get to know me through my music because I have such a big back catalogue of songs that every one is related to one part of my life when I’ve felt some emotion or another. But obviously if you want to see me in person, you gotta come meet me in person!
So you never have to release an autobiography or anything, you can just release the volumes of your music.
This is my music! That would be pretty cool though, releasing an autobiography. I’d be like really cocky like ‘oh yeah I’ve done this, and this and this’. When actually I haven’t done that much. One day, I mean with music at the moment, it’s just a hobby that I’m trying to pursue. As my parents want me to get a full time job. Which is understandable, you know, I understand that.
You’ve got to come back down to earth Jasmine.
(Laughs) I’ve got my head up in the clouds, thinking that I’m going to be this massive star. But erm, lately I’ve been uploading my tracks to the radio show BBC Introducing.
Have they played you on the show yet?
They haven’t played me on the show yet. Because all my tracks are M4A…M4A tracks and I need to convert them to MP3 and get in touch with Natasha. I’ve been played on there before. I’ve been played twice, they were kinda like live lounge kinda things. Where they recorded it in the studio, which was really fun. Quite cool.
Was it scary?
Yeah, it was quite scary because I messed up one of my songs but like no one noticed. It was just me. That’s why I love playing my original songs because it’s just me. It could be wrong, it could be right. No one knows! But yeah, I really need to get onto that.
Do you have any final words?
Just, I’ve really enjoyed this. This has been my first proper interview. Just wanna say, add me on my Facebook page, just like it. Also, erm, check out my songs on Spotify. Erm, message me on my Facebook page if you’d like to buy my EP. Erm, and just thank you to all the people who have been followed me recently. Moving to Northampton, it has been a bit, just…
A roller coaster ride?
A roller coaster ride! It has been like that because erm, when I moved here, I started college literally the day after when I moved here. It’s all I’ve ever known. Now I’ve finished college, it’s like eugh, real world. And just erm, people who constantly comment on my music saying it’s brilliant, gives me that extra push to keep doing it. So I really appreciate it. Appreciate it, thank you.
High five!
High five, wooh!

Photography By Jack Parker

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