10 Questions With… Jazmine Johnson

10 Questions With… A series that delves into fresh new releases from some of our favourite artists. With a focus on our Melodic Distraction hosts and wider community, this lil natter gives us an insight into their musical escapades when they’re in their studio, not ours. 

For this edition, we sit down with Merseyside’s next soul sensation Jazmine Johnson! Following the release of debut single ‘If I Ever’, we chat with the pop songstress about how it feels to be a brand new artist, the importance of collaboration and mental health. Have a read…

Hi Jazmine, congrats on your debut single! How does it feel to have your music out in the world?

Hey! Thank you so much. It feels like such a relief to finally have music for the world to listen to after working on my sound for a couple of years. It’s really exciting because it’s the very beginning of my career in music and so I’m really looking forward to seeing where things go. 

How would you describe your sound in 3 words?

Soulful, authentic, vibrant.

You worked on ‘If I Ever’ with TEE. How important is collaboration to you? What’s the most important thing you get out of it?

Yes I did and it was a pleasure! TEE has been such a mentor to me in terms of discovering my sound, support and networking. Collaboration allows me to step out of my comfort zone, because you feel a lot more vulnerable sharing your thoughts and emotions through music with somebody else. It has also enabled me to go down roads musically that you wouldn’t necessarily do when working solo. 

We hear you open up about your mental health in ‘If I Ever’. How do you manage your mental health while working in what can be a tough industry?

I think taking every day as it comes is important, and through time it becomes easier to not let the pressure of the day-to-day challenges affect me as much as they used to. I just keep busy and focused on the end goal whilst balancing a social life too, which can be difficult but is necessary for me. I spend time with loved ones and always try to talk whenever I’m feeling lost. 

What’s been the most exciting part about planning your first ever release? Any challenges along the way?

The whole process has been exciting but definitely stressful too. I’d say going to Parr Street Studios with the band to record and hearing the song come to life from the demo to the finished thing was just an absolute joy. I found the technical side of planning the release challenging, i.e. socials and just generally learning the process of what goes into a release! There are certain things I would definitely do differently the next time around,which I take as a positive because it’s all a part of the learning process.

‘If I Ever’ is the first to be released from a collection of songs. What can we expect from the tracks to follow?

I’d say that every song to follow is contrasting. Some are more downbeat and emotionally driven with important subject matters, whereas others are less serious, lighthearted and upbeat. They all come from a place of honesty and enthusiasm to open up about personal experiences in one way or another, whilst maintaining the fusion of authenticity of real instruments with current production techniques. I’m really excited to release them!

Who have you been listening to a lot whilst making the record?

I’ve been listening to a few different artists whilst making the record, but the top one is probably Allen Stone (who is such a hidden gem, not many people in the UK know his music but it’s soooo good!). Also Thirdstory who are a trio, we used their track ‘Only Love’ as a reference point for ‘If I Ever’. I’ve also been listening to PJ Morton’s ‘Gumbo Unplugged’ album – I remember when it first came out and TEE texted me like, ‘you HAVE to take half an hour out of your day to watch this!’ and of course, I did and never looked back. Such a great album that has influenced this release and my singles to follow!

After what’s been a fairly monotonous year, where have you been finding your inspiration for writing music from, if anywhere?

Definitely not my day job in retail! I think because everything has been so boring and mundane over the past year, writing was the thing that kept me going. We have been prevented from doing lots of things we used to enjoy, but I always found comfort in the fact that creating new music will never be taken away, even if writer’s block does come occasionally. Lockdown meant I had some time to stop and reflect, so I think that conjured up a lot of reminiscing, which is where I took most of my inspiration from. 

If you could have written any song in musical history, what would it be?

There are so many songs I wish I had written when I listen! But if I had to pick one, it would probably be ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

What’s next for you? 

Actually getting back to reality! Releasing more singles, a couple more features and hoping to book some gigs soon. Some festivals would also be nice, but baby steps – I’m really excited to see what the future holds!

‘If I Ever’ is out now – have a listen below and be sure to follow Jazmine to stay up to date!