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Jasmine Crowe: “Don’t worry about how you look, just focus on how you feel in the music”

If I could inspire a movement or a cause it would be to bring awareness and provide help, support and health care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. When you are going through that kind of trauma your body goes into a kind of shock and survival mode and your mind doesn’t fully […]


If I could inspire a movement or a cause it would be to bring awareness and provide help, support and health care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. When you are going through that kind of trauma your body goes into a kind of shock and survival mode and your mind doesn’t fully process everything happening to you until later. Violence doesn’t have to be just physical, it can be emotional and psychological abuse that you endure for years, not knowing how to get out of that situation.

It’s a difficult subject to talk about but that’s why mental health is so important. Many of my songs actually draw from an abusive experience I went through and how after that experience, I started having panic attacks and anxiety. I always wondered what was wrong with my body because the symptoms felt so real. The music was about telling myself that everything was going to be okay — and it also revealed the ways I was coping with what I’d been through as a kind of therapy. Not everyone has the kind of support I was lucky enough to have from my family, so if I could help one person understand that it’s not their fault and they are not alone, and there is help out there for them, it would mean everything to make that kind of difference.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jasmine Crowe.

The best pop music helps us dig deeper within ourselves to connect with the highs and lows of life, and that’s exactly what Jasmine Crowe’s here to help you do. The songstress is already racking up accolades, an accomplished and fierce singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist — a true quadruple threat — she won the John Lennon Song Writing Contest in 2018, and late last year released her impactful and emotional debut album Symptoms featuring single, ”Chess Game” which climbed the Billboard dance & club charts in December ‘19.

Born and raised in Hawaii, the Los Angeles-based Crowe was brought into the world with music in her life. She started playing violin at just three years old and inherited her parents passion for music (her father was a concert pianist alongside his career as an astronomer). Jasmine taught herself to sing while listening to Broadway musical recordings and eventually started performing locally, where she built the confidence to try her hand at songwriting. After winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her song “Breaking Things,” (co-written/co-produced with her partner and first songwriting collaborator Josh Anderson), she found herself finally ready to release her debut LP last year. Symptoms is a true musical diary- initially written in her bedroom, the record is a gorgeous and deeply felt, expressive, pop album. An absolute must listen, and this is just the beginning…


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii. My dad was an astrophysicist and my mom was an early childhood educator — both loving the arts, theater and having a passion for music. My first instrument was violin starting from age 3 and by age 5 my parents already knew I had a natural talent for singing. I used to burst into song listening to broadway musical recordings, specifically being inspired by my favorite, Les Miserables. My dad was a gifted pianist having studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and I was exposed to so many different genres growing up — from classical music, jazz, the folk music from the 60’s, classic rock from the ’70’s and all the pop music from the 90’s and 2000’s. My dad was the professor of the astronomy department at the University so it’s no surprise I was a straight ‘A’ student, always an overachiever and involved in so many extra curricular activities in the arts. Having been bullied a lot when I was younger I used to never feel like I fit in — I was the chunky kid and developed body issues early on. As a teen I went through an eating disorder and had to go to therapy at one point. Ultimately my friends and being involved in the artistic community really helped as an outlet to overcome that and it helped bring me out of my shell again.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Growing up in Hawaii, it’s a very isolated place so I always knew I wanted to get out into the world as I got older. I realized I was drawn to New York and the theater and originally wanted to pursue a career on stage as a Broadway Star. It wasn’t until I started writing my own songs as a teen that I wanted to be a recording artist. One day I was at an open mic in downtown Hilo where I was jamming on violin and someone approached me saying I should be recording in a studio. I started going to more open mics and wanted to start performing my own songs, so I taught myself to play acoustic guitar, discovering and being inspired by songwriters and artists like Jewel and Alanis Morissette — women with strong voices and a cathartic power behind their lyrics. Being too young, I didn’t discover them until years and years after they came out. I loved the raw energy they created with their sound and growing up with classical music, I loved how they weren’t trying to be too perfect. Being in and out of studios I became fascinated with music production and the textures you could create behind a song. I started recording myself using ProTools and haven’t looked back ever since.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One of my biggest heroes growing up were The Beatles. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d actually get to meet one!

One of my first singles ‘Breaking Things’ won song of the year in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 2018 but writing it was a defining moment for me. I remember being in my bedroom studio one day beating my head against the wall thinking, I’m going to write a song today. Even if it sucks, I’m going to sit down and try. I was determined to write something meaningful, something that would reach people because in that moment I felt so isolated. A year after writing and releasing the song, it was chosen as the pop winner and ultimately claimed the Song of the Year title in the JLSC — they flew us out to New York City and when I shook Ringo Starr’s hand that day he said, “One day they’ll be singing your songs.” Just goes to show — set your mind on something and your dreams can come true!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Well, when I was first starting to perform back in Hawaii, my band had a gig at the country fair at a private Catholic School. At the time I had written a kind of political song and within the first two lines of the lyrics I used a profane word. I’d performed it so many times at other venues I didn’t think twice about it. Needless to say they informed me they were going to ban me from performing there again, but after talking to them we eventually worked it out. Lesson learned — know your audience!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m always making more music. I have dozens of unreleased songs so this summer I’ll be putting out some new singles, playing more livestream shows and working on finishing a new album for a possible release later this year as a follow up to my debut “Symptoms.”

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Art is about seeing things from a different perspective, from a different angle. Think of how many stories have been untold! We need people from all walks of life to bring things to light we couldn’t see before, so we can all see a bigger picture. Without diversity within our industry, it’s like using one shade, one color to paint every canvas with. How boring and one dimensional would that be?

We need role models to inspire the next generation and our heroes and artists don’t come as ‘one size fits all.’ Young minds are the most impressionable. I remember when I was a little girl wanting to be like the people I saw on TV. What are we saying if everybody looks and acts the same, has the same hairstyle, skin tone, body type?

If our children are seeing people in the media that look like them, that inspire them to live their dreams, think of how we can change the world and what they can do when they grow up. It’s our responsibility to take away those barriers so that the next generation doesn’t have them in their way.

Can you please share your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Do anything else with your life but this, haha. No, but seriously. This industry is brutal! Really helps you get a thick skin quick. You’re gonna fail nine times out of ten so be prepared and realize it doesn’t matter how many times you fail. The main thing is to get back up and try again. Also remember — don’t take rejection personally ’cause it’s not personal. Just do your thing and people will catch on!
  2. Don’t worry about how you look, just focus on how you feel in the music. There is so much pressure in this industry especially on women to look and act a certain way, to be thinner, pressure to ‘make it’ by a certain age, to be careful what we say. It’s taken me a long time to have the confidence in my abilities enough to not care about all that crap.
  3. Sit down and work at your craft until the inspiration comes through — don’t wait for it to strike or it might pass you by! I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t feel inspired and just sat down to work and the music came through. Some of my best songs were written that way.
  4. If you have haters, you’re doing something right. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me their opinions about who I am, what I ’should’ be doing, etc. You know what inspires you deep down and what excites you creatively and brings you the most joy. Take others’ advice with a grain of salt. If it resonates with you, use it to make yourself better and stronger. If it doesn’t, ignore it and keep moving forward. No one is going to see your vision until you show them — and the most worthwhile things in life take time.
  5. A song can change your life. There is no ‘hit machine,’ there is no guaranteed ‘formula’ to success in this industry — but there are tools to help you get there alongside hard work at your craft, determination, creativity and passion. Every song you write gets you closer to what could be the one that changes your life and impacts the lives of those around you. Music is about connection and that’s why we do this and can’t help but to keep going and never give up!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Sometimes you just need to re-charge and it’s important to remember you’re not going to feel creative every day. Creativity is not a finite thing and it can often be elusive. I go through phases where I’m writing a bunch of songs all at once and can’t keep up with them fast enough and then go through other periods of time where I’m quiet inside and don’t feel inspired at all. It’s good to refill the well and experience life so you can have more to draw from. Journaling often helps me have things I can come back to later. I think it’s important to set aside some time where you don’t feel pressured to produce at all — sometimes you need to turn your brain off. I know as musicians and creative people we are often in our own heads most of the time and probably need to find a space or something else in our lives separate from our art.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement or a cause it would be to bring awareness and provide help, support and health care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. When you are going through that kind of trauma your body goes into a kind of shock and survival mode and your mind doesn’t fully process everything happening to you until later. Violence doesn’t have to be just physical, it can be emotional and psychological abuse that you endure for years, not knowing how to get out of that situation.

It’s a difficult subject to talk about but that’s why mental health is so important. Many of my songs actually draw from an abusive experience I went through and how after that experience, I started having panic attacks and anxiety. I always wondered what was wrong with my body because the symptoms felt so real. The music was about telling myself that everything was going to be okay — and it also revealed the ways I was coping with what I’d been through as a kind of therapy. Not everyone has the kind of support I was lucky enough to have from my family, so if I could help one person understand that it’s not their fault and they are not alone, and there is help out there for them, it would mean everything to make that kind of difference.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Two actually!

Josh Anderson, my first drummer and songwriting partner. We met in Hawaii and he really believed in my budding talent as a songwriter and an artist. As a drummer performing in several bands he’d been to LA before and back to the islands. Josh was always great at writing and arranging parts behind a song. He taught me so much early on when I was just starting to produce how to utilize the different instruments and melodies to create textures as a backdrop. We also wrote ‘Breaking Things’ together which won song of the year in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and meeting Ringo Starr one of the Beatles was a dream come true for both of us! I could not have achieved what I have today without him.

Chris Hanebutt has been such a mentor to me since moving to California and has really helped me find my voice in the studio. I’ve grown so much as a singer and artist since I started working with him. As an engineer and writer he’s taught me so much and been with my project from the very beginning here in LA — he probably knows my voice and songs better than anyone having spent hours mixing them all! I love continually learning, growing and creating with my friends and my team. Find your tribe! Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.” ― David Bowie

I love this quote by David Bowie, it’s always resonated with me. I find fundamentally whatever we do in our professions, in our lives, in our creativity, what brings us the most joy and drives our passion is what is true and authentic. If you are always doing things to please other people, you’re probably not coming from an honest place and the best art comes from the heart.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to sit down with one of my favorite artists and songwriters, Sia. She has inspired me so much as a singer and writer and I’d love to have an afternoon where I could pick her brain, learn about her process, talk about what she’s been through as a person. She is a dynamic woman, the force behind so many hits for dozens of amazing artists and has touched people all over the world with her empowering and emotional voice and message. Collaborating on a song with her would definitely be another dream come true for me.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can follow my music at http://jasminecrowe.com

And on any of my social pages

http://instagram.com/iamjasminecrowe
http://facebook.com/iamjasminecrowe

Watch all my music videos on YouTube

http://youtube.com/jasminecrowemusic
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