A lot of artists got their starts on YouTube. Some artists so big, we tend to forget where they came from, like Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, and the list goes on. That model teen discovered on YouTube trained to become pop star has become fairly commonplace since artists like Biebs got their big break. However, few YouTube discoveries excite us as much as English singer Jasmine Thompson. The 16 year old singer began posting videos at the age of 10 and reached Atlantic Studios just two years later. In 2014, she reached the charts after being featured on Robin Schulz's "Sun Goes Down." She has since released a number of charting singles and continues to develop her voice by posting new covers. Just last week, Thompson and fellow teen singer Sabrina Carpenter covered Harry Styles' "Sign of the Times."
Jasmine recently found herself stateside in support of her recent Wonderland EP. The Atlantic Records release dropped earlier this year and features some high-profile writers and producers. Most importantly, it features Thompson's signature sound, her restrained yet powerful voice accompanied by her tenderly played piano. We were lucky enough to meet up with Jasmine at Atlantic Studios, where we captured a live performance and spoke to her personally. In the interview, she discusses the power of YouTube, the joy of being discovered, and the perks of working for a major label.
Hi, I'm Jasmine Thompson, and we're here at the Atlantic Studios doing a session for Baeble. I've played in this studio a couple of times before, like, I haven't been here for a year or so. And the first time I came here was when I was 12, which is like four years ago. But yeah, I've been here like quite a few times. Like I love playing with bands, and I love playing with other musicians. There's something really special about collaborating with other people. But it's really special when you can accompany yourself even if it's just like singing acapella. But when you're alone, and when you just play the piano and sing at the same time, that's when you truly go into your own little bubble, because you're not focusing on anyone else. You're just focusing on you and the piano and how you want to express your emotions through your fingers and like playing a couple of keys, makes these noises that just like, mean something. So yeah, it's like my favorite thing to do when I'm alone. People who matter don't mind They don't need all of my time Somebody told me to light up every room Make them remember you But nobody here knows what I'm going through No they never do I miss my old friends They know when I need them the most Made some new friends and they're cool friends But they don't know What I do, what I got, who I am and who I'm not I miss my old friends I miss the good times we had Now I don't know who's got my back And somebody told me to light up every room Make them remember you But nobody here knows what I'm going through No, they never do I miss my old friends 'Cause they know when I need them the most Made some new friends and they're cool friends But they don't know What I do, what I got, who I am and who I'm not I miss my old friends Hey now, hey now I know everybody changes Hey now, hey now And I just want familiar faces Hey now, hey now Growing up can be amazing But it can even break your heart I miss my old friends When I need them the most I miss my old friends I miss my old friends 'Cause they know when I need them the most I made some new friends and they're cool friends But they don't know What I do and what I got who I am and who I'm not I miss my old friends I miss my old friends Because I really enjoyed music like even before I was eight I was just always singing in the car, listening to music all the time. And I was like, "Oh, I want to learn how to play instruments and how to use my voice properly. And then when I was 10, I started posting videos of me singing on YouTube. What I love about YouTube is like it's a really friendly sort of space. You can be in like a little bedroom in London and then people all the way in Germany or Indonesia and America, it's like a worldwide platform. So people anywhere can find you and, like, listen to what you have to say, what you have sing what you have to do on your channel. And it's just like, it's a really friendly creative community, like, there were other covers like La LaLa by Naughty Boy. And it got onto the radio in London, and it was just like, my little cover of it. And I was like, I cannot believe I've done a cover of a song and it's on the radio in London. Like, it was just so weird. I remember, like, my dad was with me, and it was playing on the radio. And my whole family was just like, "Oh my God. " Yeah, honestly, I was just like, "Why is this happening?" I was so happy. Can't control you Even though I want to And you know it's torture 'Cause you brought someone new And I can't ignore you Even though I'm trying to I might need a doctor So nervous next to you Hell and hello Yeah, those two words Are oh so close Oh baby, can you tell? That I feel pain I can't let go Won't let you be someone's somebody Can't see you with no one else No, nobody, hmm Someone's somebody Should tell you that you can't leave this party With her Hmm, hmm Hmm And I got some feelings While you're holding hands right now Know that I was healing 'Til you both came around Don't you call her baby Boy, you better watch your mouth 'Cause it's too soon, way too soon to say it Hell and hello Yeah, those two words Are oh so close Oh baby, can you tell? That I feel pain I can't let go Won't let you be someone's somebody Can't see you with no one else No, nobody, hmm Someone's somebody Should tell you that you can't leave this party With her And I'll bet you don't know how it feels to be me right now And I bet you don't know what it's like to be talked about Here trying to get me some closure, have composure and be poised But it's hard to watch you leave 'cause I can't let you be Someone's somebody Can't see you with no one else No, nobody but me Someone's somebody Should tell you that you can't leave this party With her Ah-ah No, no, hmm, Hmm, hmm Hmm, hmm, hmm Hmm, hmm Hmm So I have an EP coming out called Wonderland and it's a very personal EP to me. I've been working on it for like the past year or so with a bunch of different writers from L. A. and I've just had so much fun, like, working on it. And it's my little baby. Like, I definitely feel like it's more personal and more truthful. I got to work with Justin Tranter, and Julia Michaels BloodPop, who've literally been like smashing the U. S. charts recently. Like, they've written songs for Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Gwen Stefani. Like they've spent so much time on my project, like, they honestly treated me like their little baby. So when I went into the studio for the first time with them, I was like, "Oh my God I can't believe how lovely they are. " Because it's easy to be, like, kind of scared when working with sort of like top people, especially because I'm quite young, and I'm quite like inexperienced in the music industry. Like, from them I learnt that music is really just about that natural kind of instinct. It's not about trying to be anything, or trying to prove anything. It's literally just like trying to be yourself. And what I loved about them is, like, everything was so simple and nothing was overthinking. It was literally just like the basic melodies, the things that felt right, the words that you would say in a sentence. Nothing overcomplicated or trying to be special. It was just, like, people would want to hear what is natural to you. So I loved, like, being in touch with them and just feeling really comfortable. You keep promising me That you're, you're gonna try That things are gonna change But when, babe, I'm on the edge of this Don't make me jump, I wish You'd give me more than this But you don't And I'm so tired Of asking you for Attention I need more Than you're giving So give it to me I wanna know love Wanna know what it feels like Wanna hold it in my hands 'Til I truly understand I wanna know love Wanna know what it tastes like Something bigger than I am We'll make it something tangible Love, love I wanna know love, love If I wanted to leave Would you come running after me? Or would you let me leave? Come on, babe Would your perception change Or will it stay the same? Maybe you should do it Maybe you should try it Maybe I'll like it And I'm so tired Of asking you for Attention I need more Than you're giving So give it to me I wanna know love Wanna know what it feels like Wanna hold it in my hands 'Til I truly understand I wanna know love Wanna know what it tastes like Something bigger than I am We'll make it something tangible Love, love I wanna know love, love Love, love I wanna know love, Maybe you should do it Maybe you should try it Maybe I'll like it And maybe you should do it Maybe you should try it Maybe I'll like it Maybe you should do it Maybe you should try it Maybe I'll like it So give it to me And I wanna know love Wanna know what it feels like Wanna hold it in my hands 'Til I truly understand I wanna know love, love Wanna know what it tastes like Something bigger than I am I wanna know love Wanna know what it feels like Wanna hold it in my hands 'Til I truly understand I wanna know love Wanna know what it tastes like Something bigger than I am I wanna know love, Ooh, I wanna know love I wanna know love Ooh, I wanna know love, love I mean we could use vocabulary To spell out everything that we feel I mean we could use a dictionary To define a feeling we know is real But there's no words needed
Emotion is at the heart of Jasmine Thompsons music. Each song resonates with feeling and offers the listener a sense of sincere cathartic release, reflecting her experiences onto audiences own. The 16-year-old musician, who grew up in Central London, may be young, but shes 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 fathers 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 doesnt come from musically inclined parents, Jasmines 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 Jasmines soul.
This upbringing resonates throughout Jasmines EP Wonderland, her second following 2015s Adore. Wonderland is about London itself, recounting growing up and coming of age in the city. Its about the confusion one feels as a young adult or, even, as a grown-up and it affirms that theres 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 Ive been thinking, 'Whats my life supposed to be like? Its addressing the fact that no one has a clue whats 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. Its about missing your mates, Jasmine says. You meet new people every day and talk to them and get to know them, but its 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. Someones Somebody, on the other hand, is an unabashed love song a first for Jasmine, who is new to the feeling herself. Its about falling in love, splitting up, and the heartbreak of seeing your ex with someone new. Its a poignant, soulful number that aches with feeling, as is Fix Me, a ballad inspired by Jasmines relationship with her father.
Youve always got that one person who is there for you, the singer explains. My dad is now about seven years sober and hes really turned his life around. When he got sober, as the youngest child, it felt like Id always be there for him. The song is addressing someone youre always grateful for, but the story for me is in reverse. Im always going to be there for my dad. Its a really personal story for me, but its 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 shes singing her own music or being featured on dance tracks for artists Robin Schultz, DJ Felix Jaehn and others. Its the sort of memorable voice thats 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.
Its clear listening to Jasmines 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 Im 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.