Underground Artist of the Month September 2018

Emotion is at the heart of Jasmine Thompson’s music. Each song resonates with feeling and offers the listener a sense of sincere cathartic release, reflecting her experiences onto audience’s own. The 16-year-old musician, who grew up in Central London, may be young, but she’s also been through a lot and she spends much of her time considering how life works and why we do the things we do.

Thompson was born to a Chinese mother and English father and spent her childhood living in low-income housing. Her parents divorced early on because of her father’s alcoholism and Jasmine found herself facing the reality of a split home as a young kid, and Jasmine turned to music to get her through the hard times. Although she doesn’t come from musically inclined parents, Jasmine’s older brother sang and played instruments, encouraging her to follow in his footsteps. She learned piano and bass, and listened to every song she could get her hands on, and attended a performing arts high school. She especially connected to British indie rock like Florence and the Machine and Noah and the Whale, who continue to inspire her. Music, from the beginning, was in Jasmine’s soul.

This upbringing resonates throughout Jasmine’s EP Wonderland, her second following 2015’s Adore. Wonderland is about London itself, recounting growing up and coming of age in the city. It’s about the confusion one feels as a young adult – or, even, as a grown-up – and it affirms that there’s something ultimately sweet about not really knowing. “A lot of the songs on the EP talk about feeling lost and confused,” Jasmine says. “For the past year I’ve been thinking, ‘What’s my life supposed to be like?’ It’s addressing the fact that no one has a clue what’s going on.”

The songs on the EP were recorded over the past year and a half, in Los Angeles, London and Stockholm. Jasmine partnered with a selection of songwriters and producers, who helped her create a series of tracks that reflects the highs and lows of being a teenager. These co-writers include Meghan Trainor, Ross Golan, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, Max Martin's Wolfcousins, Johan Carlsson and Mark Crew, all of whom brought fresh, exciting perspectives to the project.

“Old Friends,” co-written by Trainor, centers on coming to terms with seeing your friends less as you grow up. “It’s about missing your mates,” Jasmine says. “You meet new people every day and talk to them and get to know them, but it’s not the same as what you have with your best friends who have been there for you. I love the song. It feels like a part of me.” “Someone’s Somebody,” on the other hand, is an unabashed love song – a first for Jasmine, who is new to the feeling herself. It’s about falling in love, splitting up, and the heartbreak of seeing your ex with someone new. It’s a poignant, soulful number that aches with feeling, as is “Fix Me,” a ballad inspired by Jasmine’s relationship with her father.

“You’ve always got that one person who is there for you,” the singer explains. “My dad is now about seven years sober and he’s really turned his life around. When he got sober, as the youngest child, it felt like I’d always be there for him. The song is addressing someone you’re always grateful for, but the story for me is in reverse. I’m always going to be there for my dad. It’s a really personal story for me, but it’s also for anyone who feels like they have someone there for them.”

In this way, Jasmine is focused on ensuring that her music has meaning for all who hear it. Her soaring, impassioned voice is always filled with feeling, whether she’s singing her own music or being featured on dance tracks for artists Robin Schultz, DJ Felix Jaehn and others. It’s the sort of memorable voice that’s earned accolades from Aviici, Passenger and Trainor, among others, and brought her over 1 billion total streams and over 5.7 million monthly Spotify listeners worldwide. Her music video for “Adore,” the single off her previous album, has over 30 million views on YouTube, where she currently has 2.6 million subscribers and one billion views collectively.

It’s clear listening to Jasmine’s songs that music is part of her being. She gives everything she has to each lyric and each note, and her life experiences so far reverberate throughout. Her videos for Wonderland will be shot in London, showcasing the city that made her who she is alongside the friends who have shaped her, and the live performances will bring even more emotional fervor to the tracks.

“I want to put out music that gives people something,” Jasmine says. “My songs have love and emotion in them. I want my music to help the people who listen to it. Whenever I’m upset I put in headphones, turn something on and feel better. Emotions can easily be reflected by a song, so I want to make sure I make songs that are valued by people in an emotional way. Everything I make is for my fans.”

Jasmine Thompson