By Chris Hammond
Born in Manchester but raised in Kilmacolm just outside Glasgow, DJ and singer-songwriter Yasmin’s early releases have her firmly pencilled into every music journalists’ one to watch list. Quirky and energetic, Yasmin’s singer-songwriter work has hints of everything from 90’s pop to trip hop.
Teaming up with MOBO winning rapper Ms. Dynamite on her third single ‘Light Up (The World)’, Yasmin’s latest release is a feel good, reggae tinged antidote to the winter blues. The video, filmed in Cuba, seems to have brought the best out of the quirky artist. “Cuba was a joy. It was the most incredible place to film. The city is beautiful and full of colour. Everywhere you go there’s a new backdrop and something different. It was a good place to film because the song has a really good vibe and so does Cuba. It’s got this sort of really worldly feel to it, but there’s still that element of the Caribbean. The locals were great too. They were really up for it; they were so natural it was like they’d been acting their whole life. The director had shot there before so he was really confident it would work and I think it did. I’m definitely going to be going back.”
Since she started out in London two years ago, Yasmin has toured with the likes of Example and worked alongside a whole host of prominent industry figures. She speaks enthusiastically about picking up tips from the likes of DJ and producer Shy FX who worked with her on her latest single, as well as Tinie Tempah collaborator Labrinth who produced her second release ‘Finish Line’. Trip hop and dance it seems have a much more tight knit community than some of music’s other genres, as Yasmin explains: “I think there is a lot of camaraderie within music. Everyone really does pull together and we’re always right behind each other pushing each other on. There are so many talented individuals with our own unique sounds but we’re all pretty close and it’s good to have that support network of friends there for you. Obviously working with someone like Shy FX was really good, he was such an important figure in ‘90s underground jungle and is still at the forefront of his field. He gave me a lot of knowledge and insight . . . Labrinth is also a genius and helped me to think outside the box. I’ve met a lot of inspiring people and I’m really happy so many of them are doing well.”
Having experienced her first festival touring season last summer, Yasmin is already looking towards getting her teeth into some more in 2012. Before she hits the fields and stadiums of Britain though there’s the small matter of her first album, which she’s hoping to release at the start of summer: “I’m just wrapping the album up at the moment so I’m not really thinking too far beyond that and the next single. No two tracks on the album are the same really. My music has more me in it now, I’ve gotten to grow into my music in a way, there’s a lot of experimental stuff on the album and there are a lot of different influences involved like reggae and jungle. All the tracks are going to be different. As for what’s next, I don’t really think single to single.”
While Yasmin wears her musical influences on her sleeve, she’s also caught the attention of many for her sense of style. A quick browse through her blog and you’ll see that she’s just as keen to write about Mulberry handbags and vintage Versace as she is about music. Though she’s keen to point out her dress sense doesn’t have much to do with her music: “I love fashion obviously. What girl doesn’t like nice clothes? But it’s not the most important thing for me. I do think that if you’re too conscious of your image and sense of fashion you should probably be working in fashion not music. I like the fact that music has given me the opportunity to get involved in fashion and do some nice photoshoots, but it’s not that big a part of what I do.”
With ‘Light Up’ due out on January the 15th, fans of the MOBO award winning artist shouldn’t have long to wait for another taste of her work. Scottish fans though should be sure to keep an extra close eye on her touring dates as it seems Yasmin is determined to get across the border as soon as the opportunity arises. “I always love coming back up to Scotland because I’ve spent most of my life there. I never get a bad reception and it’s always good to see Glasgow again. Wickerman festival last year was also really fun. There was such a great energy there with the fans. Hopefully there’ll be more in Scotland next year.”