Her eclectically pleasing debut EP ‘Stories & Rhymes’ (Out May 6th) shows a singer and songwriter determined to do it her own way, drawing on her love for classic pop, film soundtracks and even neo-soul influences to create something fresh and very much her own.
Stories & Rhymes EP
Released May 6th 2016 (limited edition vinyl and download)
Jasmine will appear live on Jamie Cullum’s show on April 19th (alongside Moses Boyd and Peter Edwards) and also has two UK shows in June. Don’t miss her:
June 1st Opening for Fatima & The Eglo Band at the Jazz Cafe
June 20th double-bill with Lydian Collective at Pizza Express Jazz Club
‘ Come and find me where and when you wish to
I’ll be sitting beneath the sea like I used to
writing stories and rhymes inside my head.
Put them to bed
put them to bed, just like I said
put them to bed
put them to bed, those words I said.’
Jasmine Power is a young jazz singer and composer from the Welsh coast with her own tales to tell. Stories & Rhymes is her debut EP and introduces a singer and songwriter determined to do it her own way, drawing on her love for classic pop, film soundtracks and even neo-soul influences to create something fresh and very much her own. She sings songs about what she sees and experiences creating vignettes with a screenwriter’s eye that explore the truths of life, the unsaid things, or how she views the modern world around us. It is this urgent desire to tell her own tales that has propelled her from the idyllic Pembrokeshire coastline to the bright lights of London, from singing in her Welsh primary school choir to studying her craft at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Beautifully produced by Power, ‘Stories & Rhymes’ feature some of London’s brightest new talents including pianist Joe Armon-Jones, bassist Daniel Casimir, trumpeter Harrison Cole and drummer Moses Boyd and has already received support from the likes of Jamie Cullum (Radio 2), Gilles Peterson (6 Music) and Nick Luscombe (Late Junction/Radio 3) ahead of a May 6th release. She performs at the re-launched Jazz Café, Camden on June 1st (opening for Fatima & The Eglo Band) and Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho on June 20th in a double with Lydian Collective.
Power was born in the early nineties to a Welsh father and an English mother in the mountains of the Lake District. She recalls both her parents influencing her through music; her father listened to Irish and Welsh folk songs along with the Beatles and Abba while her mother loved more unpredictable music. “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”. Her parents moved to a beautiful village in Pembrokeshire where an inspirational upbringing began. Her surroundings were peaceful and she thrived off outdoor adventures from camping to surfing, coasteering and long coastal walks. Even now Power feels most at home beside the sea and away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Although largely self-taught until her late-teens, Power attended an unusual small Welsh primary school from the age of 5, ran by a headmistress who believed that singing was more important than any other lesson. “I vividly remember sitting and watching the choir on my first day at school. I listened in awe as they sang so beautifully in the Welsh language. But she soon threw me in and I quickly became fluent. Singing was compulsory every morning for an hour!” Likewise, inspired by her mother’s playing, she fell in love with the piano the moment she could reach it and by the age of ten she was already playing her own compositions. Within a couple of years she began writing pages and pages of lyrics, deriving from her love of stories and poems, and met a rapper with whom she wrote and recorded a few songs.
As her song-writing developed so did her listening, and inspiration came from a wide variety of artists. Power names Nina Simone, John
Mayer, Chet Baker, Dido, Tracy Chapman, Thomas Newman, Enya, Chris Brown, Chopin, James Taylor and Sade amongst a wide list but adds: “Where I grew up there was so much space in the air and very few distractions, it meant a lot of thinking time which was often difficult as a teenager, through all the ups and downs, writing & singing kept me sane.”
The final piece of inspiration came when her mother co-founded the ABERJAZZ festival in 2004, when Power was 11 years old, and she was exposed to the world of jazz. Musicians such as Tony Kofi, Byron Wallen and Cleveland Watkiss would play the seaside festival, often staying with them in the family cottage. The musicians and their music left a lasting impression on Power: “We would stay up half the night listening to them jam and take them on muddy country walks. I was so inspired, I remember 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.” Inspired, she soon decided what she wished to pursue with her life and much to her family’s surprise she announced that she wanted to study jazz. After a few auditions, aged 18, she attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, then 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.