Single mastered at Paul Weller's studio
Q How did Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Cradock come to be listening to your music over the phone? And I see that you had already been invited by Paul Weller to record in his studio. How did all that happen and I imagine it’s one of these turning points that come along when you are trying to start a music career?
A I met Bart O'Sullivan while visiting Christian O'Neil at university. Christian persuaded me to perform a song for him, he often likes to make me sing for people as his party trick! Before I knew it, I had some studio time booked in with Steve Cradock, after Bart played him a demo of mine at a wedding in Ibiza. None of us have looked back since, Bart and Christian now manage me! Using Paul Weller’s studio to master my last EP was very surreal, it's such an amazing studio, I can only thank Steve and Paul for allowing me to have that experience. If anything, that was a turning point within myself, not just my career, it really gave me self-belief.
Q Your musical influences seem very broad – Aretha Franklin and soul, 60s rock bands, plus grime and RnB. Did you have a musical family who let you hear great stuff when you were tiny? Or did you come across it further down the road?
A A bit of both really, my family are all pretty creative and musically involved. No matter what the genre, I love what I love, music just excites me. So naturally I’ve come across a lot that interests me, no matter the genre – I think that's why my music touches a lot of styles.
Q You have lived through some difficult times, taking a look at your story, I think. As someone coping with depression and growing up as a young gay woman in London, as well as finding your way through a broken relationship, does all that life stuff feed into your music. And does music give you solace and support back – and comfort you? Or is that too simple, compared with the reality of juggling life and a career?
A I think writing music is actually usually a reflection of how I have felt. It’s not quite that cliche thing where, you know, I write music to help me get over feelings. If I’m struggling with feeling depressed during a certain time I might not feel like getting out of bed let alone write a song! But it definitely allows me to access deep emotions, that then, on reflection, produces my music.
A lot of the energy from this new single came from feeling really good about something. Having felt so down before makes me appreciate feeling good even more.
Q Why has soul become ‘your’ genre (assuming I’ve got that right!) from all the many influences you have. Did your voice – or something inside you – decide that?
A I think out of all the things I listen to, my voice is mainly influenced from soul singers. India Arie stands out as someone in particular, especially as she played guitar too, that really appealed to me.
Q What has been the most exciting thing to happen in your music life so far?
A Playing at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow last December was something I will never, ever forget. It was my first gig at a large venue, seeing my name on the dressing room door was a bit surreal.
Q Will your dates in Scotland with Ocean Colour Scene be your first time up here? If so, have you anything in particular you want to do, try or see?!
A Well I’m in Scotland preparing for the shows as I write this and I have just tried haggis and black pudding for the first time! I think black pudding still scares me a bit, though!
Q For people coming early to see you at the OCS gigs, what would you want to tell them about your set and your songs?
A They can expect to hear some covers of some legendary artists, alongside some songs from the first EP, the latest single Desire and some unreleased material. I hope they enjoy it as much as I’m going to enjoy performing for them!
Q What is the story of Desire and why was that the song that you felt was the right one to be your single now? And just checking you will be playing that one with the gig in Inverness on Tuesday?
A It’s about the initial and undeniable connection you have with someone. I wrote in on reflection of me and my girlfriend meeting. For me, Desire is a good introduction to another side of my music as it’s quite different to material from my first EP, The Precede. I think it’s right for the moment as it’s a great summer tune, so it’s perfect for the current beautiful weather!
Yes, definitely performing Desire on Tuesday!
Take a listen to Yasmin's earlier song, Closer:
You can hear Yasmin in the support slot for Ocean Colour Scene tomorrow (Tuesday) night at the Ironworks, Inverness.