T-shirt BALENCIAGA, skirt VALENTINO, tights EMILIO CAVALLINI and shoes RUCOLINE
Teenagers have a habit of oversharing on the internet. We all did it, whether that was emo status updates on Myspace or ever-changing “top friends” lists on Bebo, and do we even dare mention Tumblr? The now 17-year-old singer Jasmine Thompson did things a little differently though. After first uploading covers to YouTube aged just 10, she organically started writing her own songs, taking her innermost secrets and guarding them inside music and lyrics.
Having clocked up a billion streams on Spotify and a billion views on YouTube, her unique honesty is clearly being appreciated in the age of the manufactured, pre-packaged pop star. Not everyone at the tender age of 17 would be able to share the details of their first relationship, or the emotional strain of having a father who once struggled with alcoholism, but Thompson’s bravery is what’s gaining her so much attention.
Mega-producer Robin Schulz and DJ Felix Jaehn are amongst those supporting Thompson’s burgeoning career, having both tapped her for features on their own dance tracks and she’s earned herself co-writing credits with a whole host of internationally-celebrated musicians, including the likes of Meghan Trainer, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter.
Working on a new, yet to be titled EP, Thompson is living life Hannah-Montana style, only without the secrecy, attending arts school in the day and creating for her millions of subscribers the rest of the time. She’s even been snapped up by Italian couture sneaker brand Rucoline as their latest ambassador, with her campaign — shot alongside our own story on the day we meet her — launching in Florence in June.
“In the path of growth of the brand, I was looking for a face that could fully express the desire for change and evolution,” explains Rucoline’s Creative Director, Davide Motta. “When I met Jasmine through mutual friends, I immediately understood that it was the right choice. She went through that phase of evolution as an artist.”
Drawing everyone in — from designers to listeners — with her transparency, we were the latest fans to be invited into Thompson’s life.
(LEFT) Dress FAITH CONNEXION, socks NIKE and shoes RUCOLINE
(RIGHT) Jacket and trousers FIORUCCI, shoes and backpack RUCOLINE
Hey Jasmine! We know your parents encouraged you to take up music, when did it become clear that this was what you wanted to do as a career?
I always enjoyed music. My parents encouraged me to have lessons in singing and piano. I started uploading videos to YouTube when I was 10, and I was totally surprised by the warm responses I received. So it all started from there. I have other hobbies too, I like climbing and fashion but music is what I love the most.
It’s incredible you’ve managed to turn the thing you love into a career at 17. You released your first EP when you were just 15 and our teen years are when we typically change the most, how do you think you’ve changed since ‘Adore’ was released?
The “Adore” EP feels like a long time ago. I wrote about love and friendship, and travelling the world with my friends, and those topics still really resonate with me, but it does feel more developed. I’ve been through a lot of experiences since then, I feel like I’m getting an understanding of who I am as a person and artist.
Your second EP “Wonderland” has a bunch of different songwriters and producers behind the scenes, was collaborating a learning curve?
I was very privileged to have worked with amazing songwriter/producers like Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels and Mark Crew on my “Wonderland” EP. They brought fresh, exciting perspectives to the projects and opened up a whole new scene for me. I learned a lot while writing with them, particularly I learned to talk about and examine my life and the highs and lows of being a teenager in an honest way. Some of my thoughts turned into songs; “Wonderland” is about me and my friends and “Fix You” is about my relationship with my dad.
How long did it take you to put the whole EP together?
The “Wonderland” EP was recorded over a year and a half. I spent weeks in Los Angeles and Stockholm writing songs. I never thought an EP would have taken me on such a journey, but I loved every minute of it, and it’s nice to think that each song was written over different times in my life because each song reminds me of a different memory.
Speaking of which, you write about a lot of personal things in your music, like your first relationship for instance, what made you decide that was an experience you wanted to share with your listeners?
It’s an experience everyone goes through, so I thought it would be relatable. I like to write my music from a real place, so my relationship was something very emotional for me, and my first reaction was to write about it. The beauty of music is that it reaches out to all sorts of people. It’s a great feeling to see people commenting on how they can relate, so I like to share my stories.
And your relationship with your father as you mentioned before and his difficulties with alcoholism, how does he feel about being the subject of one of your songs?
I think my dad is very brave to face up to his problems. He’s been sober for almost eight years and he’s really turned his life around. I want to celebrate that because I am proud of him. I think he taught me many life lessons when I was younger, so naturally I wanted to write about him, and I think he likes the fact it can come out in my music, it’s something precious that I can share with him.
(LEFT) Dress FAITH CONNEXION, jacket OFF WHITE, socks NIKE and shoes RUCOLINE
(RIGHT) Shirt dress MAISON MARGIELA, socks ADIDAS and shoes RUCOLINE
You’re not just putting out these stories to a small fanbase either, your online footprint is huge! How important is it for you to have a dialogue with your fans?
I love talking to fans, whether it’s face to face at a gig or via social media. Every now and then I binge watch a few of my old videos and read lots of comments. I often find myself deeply touched by other people’s stories and kind words.
How about stats on views and listens, are they important milestones to you?
They are important to a point but I’m not obsessed by numbers. I’m not good with numbers anyway! I prefer focussing on the music itself. Also, sometimes it can be bad to keep track, you might end up just comparing yourself to others or even things you have achieved in the past.
It’s always best to look ahead, and we know you’re currently working on a new EP, when might we hear it?
I am so excited for this to come out. I’ve been working with a Producer named Eg White for maybe two years now and we have so many incredible songs together. We really click so I thought it might be a good idea to just finish all of our songs and put them out. We’re in the process of finishing everything, so we might release the first song in the next month or so, and release the rest one song every month after that.
Not long to wait! What have you found yourself writing about this time?
It’s more creative than my last EP. Some songs are about finally feeling happy and enlightened, being more positive about my life and music, and some songs are just stories about relationships with people I’ve known. I think it’s well balanced and everything has been so fun to create. Me and Eg literally just run around in his studio making all kinds of sounds with different rhythms and melodies until we’re happy with what we have.
It sounds like you don’t have too much time away, but what do you do when you’re not working on music?
I like planning things, like travelling or projects for the future. I actually took a couple months away from music, because I felt like I needed space. I did waitressing in a pie and mash restaurant in Carnaby Street for like six months and it was honestly a decision I feel quite proud of. I met so many cool people and had a lot of time to think.
Taken from the Summer 2018 Issue; out now and available to buy here.