“I just want people to hear my music and to feel something, to react to it,” Jazmine Flowers tells me, “and if that helps people, inspires them or gets them out of bed in the morning then that’s the point of art and music. That’s what I appreciate anyway, and why I’m willing to put my innermost emotions out there for people to hear.”
“I’m happiest making music and singing. It’s something I have to do.”
So speaks 20 year-old rising star Jazmine Flowers without a hint of self-consciousness. Signed with Island Records in 2019, the Alt-R&B singer/songwriter today releases her debut single Awkward, while bunking up with her parents in Woodstock during Covid.
Compared to the likes of Sade and Jhene Aiko, Jazmine is definitely one to watch, and yet the self assured, passionate musician seems anything but awkward.
“People say I seem confident but it doesn’t feel like that to me. Perhaps I’m more confident than I used to be – music helps and living independently in London, but fundamentally I’m an awkward person,” she says. “So when we were trying to choose a single, we kept coming back to this one, because it seemed a great way to introduce myself.”
Jazmine is understandably nervous and excited about the launch of Awkward: “I am so relieved because it’s been a long coming… to get to this point. I wrote it in Norway by the sea where it was super chilled and really inspiring, with my record producer.
“I was and still am developing as an artist and a person, so I needed someone who would help me grow, and believe in the music I believed in,” she adds.
“We are meant to be out there, finding out about ourselves and the world, and that sucks for sure, but we’ll get back to it”
Signing to a record label at 18 comes with a whole new set of problems if you believe the media, but Jasmine is more than happy with Island Records. “It was more a case of finding the right people, who understood me, my music and where I wanted to take it – who I wanted to work with, so it wasn’t that much of a struggle really,” she says.
“So although a record deal does sound like signing your life away when your friends are all travelling, or working out what they want to do with their lives, I’m happiest making music and singing. It’s something I have to do.
“I’m just riding the wave, so I’m pretty open to stuff, especially as things are changing so fast at the moment.”
“I’ve missed playing live so much – that energy you get back from people in a field bouncing off each other”
So how has it been for Jazmine during Covid? “Creatively I’ve been up and down. Sometimes I’m very unmotivated, not knowing what to write about, so I came home to Woodstock and its been really refreshing. I have a studio here and have been making music. I’m calmer here,” she says.
“Of course I wish I could be out on a promotional tour playing the single and meeting people, so I’m excited for when that can happen. I’ve missed playing live so much – that energy you get back from people in a field bouncing off each other.
“So while we are keeping people safe, if there is a summer festival circuit I hope to be on it,” she laughs.
“Sometimes it’s only afterwards that I realise what the song I’ve written was about or why, and I’ll remember how I was feeling that day or what had happened”
And yet releasing Awkward during a pandemic when young people’s mental health and development have been so topical is aptly coincidental.
“When I wrote the song I had no idea where we would be now, and yet it’s really relevant. We are meant to be out there finding out about ourselves and the world, and that sucks for sure, but we’ll get back to it.”
In the meantime, Jazmine has been building up her song bank and has collaborated with Norwegian singer/songwriter Iris on a single coming out in March, followed by “a bunch more” of Jazmine’s own songs.
“I keep notes on my phone of random lyrics and words, or chords that I use when I’m writing a song. Sometimes it’s only afterwards that I know what the song I’ve written was about or why and I’ll remember how I was feeling that day or what had happened,” she says.
As for revealing her innermost thoughts, does Jazmine mind? “It’s weird because it’s as if 10 mins after meeting someone they know all my deepest feelings which is a bit strange. But I’m happy in myself and very grounded so I’m ready for whatever happens next.”
“You’re not going to get anywhere with music unless you’re really passionate about it, and I have been lucky to grow up amongst creative people (her mother is a singer/songwriter and artist), so have been aware of the pros and cons of the industry. But so far there haven’t really been any problems.
“The support I received at school (Jazmine went to The Marlborough School in Woodstock), family and friends has helped – my first open mic night was in the local pub and I played at Woodstock Live – but for the last few years it’s been up to me. I’m a very different person now.”
“Having said that though, the music industry is pretty crazy,” she laughs, “but I’m ready.”
Listen to Awkward by Jazmine Flowers here: https://jazmineflowers.lnk.to/Awkward