The pressure, motive and yearning to do something subjectively significant with our lives are ever-expanding as the impossible becomes possible. Although patience is a virtue, time is fleeting and many individuals have taken advantage of this sometimes terrifying, yet rousing fact.
At only 15 years old, UK singer-songwriter Jasmine Thompson believes time is of the essence. Ambitious and modest at heart, she already has over 2 million Youtube subscribers and has dominated world charts collaborating with prominent international producers. Prior to her upcoming South African tour, we got to have a quick chat with the forthcoming sensation.
Timothy Kohler: While you’re in South Africa, you’ll be performing two shows, one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town: two polar pillars of the country. Is this your first time visiting South Africa? How do you feel about the evidently large fan base you’ve accumulated here?
Jasmine Thompson: Yeah, this is my first time in South Africa. I’m so excited to go and do some live shows because one: I’ve never been to South Africa, and two: I’m still kind of shocked about how well I’m regarded in South Africa, so it’s always been a place that I’ve wanted to go visit and the fact that I can go and do some live shows is incredible.
TK: Prior to arriving, what is your current perception of South Africa?
JT: I just think it’s a wonderful place, but to be honest I’m not really sure. I’ve always heard a lot of stories from my brother because he does a lot of rock climbing and he’s said that it’s his dream place to go, so that’s pretty much the only thing I knew about South Africa.
TK: How has your writing process progressed from your earlier work compared to your work with prominent EDM DJs and producers?
JT: I wouldn’t say my writing process has changed. Writing a song, the process depends on who I’m with, what I want to write the song about and how I feel that day. What I used to do is I used to sit at the piano and just write songs with other songwriters, but now, because I am getting more into dance music, I kind of need a bit more production. I’m in Stockholm at the moment and I’m writing with the Max Martin team, like the Wolf Cousins. It’s quite interesting working with them because everything is so productive, everything happens really fast, in a good way. I’m working with Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels and watching them work and being able to write with them is such an honour because it’s incredible in a room with all of them.
TK: You first started posting covers on Youtube when you were 10 years old in 2010. You’re now 15 years old and touring the world with the likes of Avicii, Robin Schulz and Ella Eyre. It’s an incredible achievement for anyone, especially taking your age into consideration. Has your rapid success had a significant influence on your personal life?
JT: It’s had some effect but none of it has been negative. The only thing that’s different is that I’ve left school to do home schooling because it’s easier to do school on the road while I’m away so I don’t miss any of my studies. The only thing that’s changed this year is that I’m basically spending every single day on music now which is what I love. Because I talk quite a lot, travel mostly every week and have classes on Saturday and Sunday at home, so everything with my friends and family has stayed the same, because I still see them whenever I can. We also text, Facetime and keep up with each other as much as we can.
TK: You’re renowned for an abundance of covers on Youtube. Passenger, who came to the country a few months ago, mentioned that you’ve got an incredible voice and are going to be a massive star. In your opinion, do you believe you’ve achieved this status?
JT: I don’t know, I mean, a lot of people have said that about me, but I’m not going to believe it until it happens. Nothing ever hit me like that. It’s going to be interesting for me because sometimes, I don’t want to believe that this is real because I don’t want to have it taken away from me. I was at Max Martin’s house the other day and it all just kind of hit me that I’m 15, I’ve almost finished my album, I’m about to go to South Africa for tour and then I’m going to go release my album. Everything hit me. A year ago I was just in school, and I knew it wasn’t going to benefit me. I knew it wasn’t going to fulfil my creative dreams. I couldn’t stop crying from happiness because I realized that I was doing what I love.
TK: Your earlier work consisted mainly of piano and vocals, a much more stripped-down and vulnerable density compared to the dance tracks you’ve been a part of. Do you have a particular preference to either?
JT: No, not yet. I’m always going to continue posting my covers on Youtube and just play guitar, piano or sing. It’s quite fun to do that as a breather and just have a plain and simple cover. But, whenever I go on tour with Robin or Felix, I always have so much fun. I love performing with DJs because music is supposed to be collaboration in a way; it’s supposed to be shared. Being on stage in front of thousands of people while being with someone on stage with you, it’s an amazing experience, that I can share it with someone that makes it even better.
TK: Other than your performances, do you have any other plans while you’re here?
JT: I’m not sure how much free time I have. If I do, I really want to go on a wildlife tour, I really want to go see some animals.
TK: Lastly, is there anything in particular you’d like to tell your fans in South Africa?
JT: I want to tell them that I can’t wait to come and meet them because I’ll be doing a few meet and greets while I’m there. Also, new music is coming soon and I’m really excited to hear that they’re coming.
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Jasmine Thompson will be performing at Parklife in Johannesburg on Saturday, 16 April and at SummerWaves Festival in Cape Town on Sunday, 17 April.