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Jasmine Power

Jasmine Power

Jasmine Power
@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
3 July 2016

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“I remember waking up everyday to the classical radio in the kitchen. In the afternoon Mum would have Ska, dub or World music blaring through the speakers and in the evening, it was always jazz, mainly instrumental jazz, apart from Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. We all loved them.”

Power was born in the early nineties to a Welsh father and an English mother in the mountains of the Lake District, England. As a child she recalls both her parents influencing her through music; her father listened to Irish and Welsh folk songs along with classics like Abba, The Beatles and Eva Cassidy and her mother loved unpredictable music. “One year I bought dad an Abba cassette tape and that was it, two years running he played it in the car on every journey we had, we would sing along together and laugh.” Her parents soon moved to a beautiful village in South West Wales where an inspirational upbringing began.

Where better to exhaust her frustrated and creative energy than the wild and chilly ocean of the Welsh coast. Her surroundings were peaceful and she thrived off outdoor adventures from camping to surfing and coastal walks.

Power’s first attention to singing came at the age of 5 when she attended a unique, small Welsh primary school hidden in the countryside run by a headmistress who believed that singing was more important than any other lesson. “I remember sitting and watching the choir on my first day at school, I listened in awe as they sang beautifully in the Welsh language, she soon threw me in and I quickly became fluent. Singing was compulsory every morning for an hour!” This was Power’s only form of vocal training until she reached 17 years old. She attended a renowned Cathedral choir that same year.

Power bashed away at the piano from the moment she could reach it and soon began to learn duets with her neighbour. These duets quickly turned into improvised piano pieces and by the age of 11 she was playing a bunch of music that she had written. She would play the piano most days to her heart’s content, she states that it gave her the chance to ‘zone out entirely’.

It was when Power began taking piano lessons with a new classical tutor aged 15 that she was taught one of the most valuable lessons, “he taught me how to teach myself anything. I would see a mass of dots and tricky rhythms on a page and know how to break it down without becoming paralysed with fear, from Beethoven to Chopin and Debussy or Scott Joplin.”

Lyrics became a prominent feature in Power’s life when she turned 11, she wrote books and books of words and soon met a rapper with whom she wrote and recorded a few songs. It was this very moment that Jasmine realised exactly what she would do with her life. A few years later she started a band with three local musicians. “I used to call up the drummer whilst I was meant to be revising and say how all I wished to do was start a band! Those years of band practice in the hilltop conservatory were fun, we all wrote and arranged the music together apart from my melodies and lyrics. It hasn’t been like that since. Composing is now a pretty solitary and emotional process for me.”

Over the years, Power developed her song writing and found it to be the only way to truly express herself. Artists including Nina Simone, John Mayer, Chet Baker, Dido, Eminem, Tracy Chapman, Thomas Newman, Enya, Chris Brown, James Taylor and Sade are said to be her main influences. “Where I grew up there was so much space in the air and little distraction, a lot of thinking time which was often difficult as a teenager, all the ups and downs, writing kept me sane.”

There was a pinnacle moment in Power’s life when her mother founded a jazz festival as she turned 10 years old. Her mother would bring some of the best jazz musicians in the UK down to play and hold master classes in their little seaside town. “We had players like Tony Kofi, Byron Wallen, Cleveland Watkiss, Clarence Penn and Claude Deppa down and they would always wish to stay with us in our country home as mum was such a cool host! We would stay up half the night listening to them jam and take them on muddy country walks. I was so inspired, I remember looking up at both Tony and Byron one day and thinking to myself, these are the kind of people I wish to spend my life around, this music has such integrity and so do the people in it.”

To her family's astonishment Power announced she wanted to study Jazz and after a few auditions, aged 18, she attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Halfway through her studies Jasmine moved to London to continue her training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she is today, setting out with her band and music, excited to share her songs with the world.




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