Jasmine Thompson is drinking her coffee vigorously as I sit down to talk with her. “I’m addicted to coffee,” she apologizes, “and the hotel I’m at didn’t have any so I’ve been drinking it ever since I got here.” We’re at the Atlantic Records offices in New York City, and the English singer-songwriter is in America to promote her latest EP, Colour.
“Most of it [the EP] is very much about coming out of a dark place and realizing that things are going to be okay, but accepting that everything will always be up and down,” she says.
You probably know Jasmine from her part in Felix Jaehn’s worldwide smash “Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better).” What you probably don’t know, was that Jasmine was 14 when that came out. And she was even younger when she appeared in the public eye. She started taking singing lessons at 8. At 10, she was filming YouTube covers with the help of her mom, self-releasing her first EP at 13, and touring by the time she was 14, which is quite the trajectory for someone who didn’t grow up in a musical household. “My mum can’t even shake an egg shaker on time and my dad, if you take him to karaoke, people will leave,” she jokes. She got her musical education listening to Britney Spears, Aerosmith and Florence and The Machine as a kid, the latter which she cites as her biggest inspiration up to this day.
After the success of “Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better),” which was actually a remix of an acoustic cover she had posted on YouTube, a very busy time ensued. For almost 3 years, Thompson describes her life as having three spheres: “There were the covers I did on youtube, which was the world I loved being in. Then there were the feature tracks with EDM artists, which was the complete opposite of what I was doing on youtube. Finally, there were the EPs I was putting out of original music, which was very singer-songwriter pop, but it all felt very young and messed up,” she details. As a result, she spent that time not really knowing who she wanted to be or having the slightest clue of what type of music she wanted to make. The more she did, the bigger her uncertainty got, until she realized “I’m not really happy with music, I’m not happy with my work life or my personal life.” So she moved back to London and started waitressing. The change in scenery proved very cleansing for Thompson.
“I didn’t have to think about anything. With music, you can get caught up in thinking about where you’ll be in 10 years, whereas when I was working the restaurant, I was just thinking about when I would finish my day and go home.”
After going six months of not even doing as much as touching an instrument, she reconnected with Eg White, a producer she’d worked with for about three years. But rather than writing with the pressure of making it on the charts, Thompson and Eg were simply experimenting in the studio for fun. The singer hadn’t even the slightest intention to return to the music industry. However, this refreshing approach to music is what rendered her able to enjoy music again, more than she ever had before.
Her new EP, Colour, which dropped on March 29th, speaks to the personal growth the experience has taught her. The title represents the good bits in life that make it worth living, even though you sometimes have to go through darker times sometimes. Her favorite track?
“There’s a song on the EP, ’More’, which starts off very dark but turns into a positive song filled with loads of brass and strings. It’s about escapism and being quite self-destructive by nature, and it manages to explain a lot about who I am.”
You can expect acoustic and music videos from Thompson in the coming year. But if you were expecting a full-length album from her, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. The 18-year-old isn’t ready for that just yet. “I’ll probably release another EP and make sure I’ve really found my sound before working on an album. I don’t like doing something unless I’m ready for it. [An album] is a big step and I don’t want to regret anything with a first album.”
One thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to hear more from Jasmine Thompson.