INTERVIEW: Jasmine Branca

INTERVIEW:

 

 

Jasmine Branca

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THE quest to discover the finest female singer-songwriters…

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography

 

around is a constant, if albeit specialised, pursuit of mine. I look for those who push against the mainstream’s worst traits: the artists who document late-night regrets, drunken revelry and relationship Mexican standoffs with very little wit, intelligence and originality. We need those acts that offer something rather disposal and flimsy – it may sound like a shot but they provide something instant, relatable and common. Musicians who seek inspiration in deeper realms and sources are those who should be applauded. I have been following Jasmine Branca’s work since her E.P. Into My Heart and, at the time of my review (of the E.P.), tipped her for big things. In the studio at the moment – the groundwork for new material is being laid – it is an opportune moment to catch up with Jasmine and see how her year has been; the plans she has in store and (she) goes deeper. Jasmine discusses mental illness – the importance of addressing it and how few reference it – and provides advice to up-and-coming artists; she looks back at Into My Heart and how a newly-acquired Gretsch guitar is not only a vital acquisition – it will add new dimensions and possibilities to her music.

HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography

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Hey Jasmine. How has your week been? What have you been getting up to?

Hi Sam. My week has been pretty hectic (at A.C.M.) but good, thank you! I’ve been working hard with a new producer called Harrison Perks as well as preparing for upcoming exams at university.

For those who are new to your work: can you introduce yourself to us?

I am a very unique artist who wants to create a beautiful fantasyland where everyone can come together and forget the harshness of reality. My music is a mixture of Pop, Rock; Grunge and Country. I write honest and meaningful music and perform with great power and emotion.

Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to be a musician? Was there an event or artist that sparked that passion in you?

The first time I really fell in love with music was when I was around five – taking regular dance classes.

I had a real passion for listening to and enjoying Classical music. It grew from there really as I listened to Popular music and felt a great desire to sing and make my own music for the rest of my life.

Fantasy figures and fairies seem to be a key influence in terms of style and stage design. What fostered this love of fairies and what is the reaction like when playing live (with these elements incorporated)?

Yay! I’m glad you noticed. I’ve loved fairies since I was very small. I’m not sure where it came from but my mum used to write little notes from the fairies and I really believed it was them. I’ve always loved this kind of style – anything sparkly, fairy-tale/princess-like always resonated with me and caught my eye. I think it’s so beautiful. I love the innocence and beauty within this theme and I hope one day, reality will become the same.

I try to promote the theme in my gigs – especially where there is a younger audience. I played the New Forest Fairy Festival for the second time this year and it was the most beautiful and magical experience I’ve ever had. I’ve also had reactions from adults in pub gig settings saying my performance took them to a “dream land” (which I loved). That kind of reaction is definitely what I am going for in terms of my music and image.

Looking back at your last E.P. (Into My Heart) and the reception it garnered: are you amazed by how many people connected with it and were touched by the music?

I find it surreal and so heartwarming that people connect with my music and enjoy it!

I write from the heart and absolutely adore what I do: so for people to share that love and enjoyment with me means everything. I hope my new music will create even more love and excitement with existing fans as well as new ones!

Your songs (on that E.P.) tackled stigma around mental health and laid your soul out – very personal and revealing at times. Do you think that honesty and openness is something missing in modern music? Was it quite challenging writing songs so emotional?

I never find it difficult writing honest, deep, and emotional lyrics because I am a very open person and I like to share what I go through. I like to share because I find it therapeutic getting my feelings out into the open and I like to let other sufferers know they are never alone. Writing my own songs and performing them is my therapy. I hope other people can relate and know that hard times can creatively manifest into something beautiful and successful.

I am definitely disappointed by some modern music – especially chart music. The lyrics are very meaningless: not well thought-out and mainly aimed at clubs. This is fine and it’s nice – that some people can get enjoyment from it. However, I feel that real music is meaningful and comes from the heart. Repeating the word ‘work’ doesn’t show someone pouring their heart and soul into the music they are creating – and that’s a shame.

Mental health and psychological illnesses are areas that are not addressed a lot in society, let alone music. What is your view on this and do you feel more needs to be done by the Government to tackle the problem?

It’s so sad and heartbreaking that so many people can’t even recognise that mental illnesses are a very real and serious thing. It pains me that there is hardly any recognition or help for sufferers.

I have waited nine months to get therapy for my borderline personally disorder – which I personally feel is disgusting. Someone suffering from an illness such as cancer would never be left untreated for that long. I wish there were more charities and activities to support mental illnesses such as sponsored runs and bake sales, etc. I hope to be an inspiring figure that will change this horrendous stigma against mental illnesses and actually start making positive movements – in order to help the enormous amount of sufferers around the world.

 

Which song from Into My Heart means the most to you and is most personal?

Definitely Never Belong. That is the song I completely poured my heart and soul into and I wrote it at one of my lowest points. I was feeling so much and I wanted to end my life. I shared all my feelings and thoughts with a friend and they kept telling me: “You have to put this into a song!” At first, I struggled to write my feelings in a way that truly expressed how I was feeling, but I did it.

Looking at social media, I see you have recently acquired a new Gretsch guitar – it looks pretty fine. What is it about the guitar – and that one especially – that attracted you and will we be hearing its dulcet tones in future recordings?

I originally had my heart set on the look of the beautiful G5191TMS Tim Armstrong Gretsch in salmon but when I tried it in-store I just didn’t like the sound! I had a look at a few others and my dad pointed out the sparkly one that I have now. I played it and fell in love: I knew that was the one I had to have. It’s always been my dream to own a Gretsch guitar so it’s really amazing to have one. I want my music to come across heavier and rockier (from now on) so my Gretsch is helping me do that.

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography

 

On that note: I understand new material is being written. What can you tell us about the songs and ideas that will go into your new E.P.?

There will definitely be new material as well as a few old tracks re-done in a style that is more me – seeing as my last E.P. was my first I didn’t quite capture all the genres and sounds I wanted to.

Now I have a new producer who really understands the sound, genre and atmosphere I want to create around my music – which I am really grateful for. I’m really excited about the new material and I don’t want to reveal too much just yet!

A bit of time has passed since your last E.P. Has your writing process changed or do you set yourself time to get songs on paper? How do songs come together for you?

My writing process is pretty much the same. I create my songs from experiences I’ve had with people and emotions I feel towards certain things. My ideas come in different forms: sometimes I will start by messing around on the guitar and coming up with a chord sequence I love – with lyrics and melody following soon after. Other times, I will get short melody and lyric ideas and try to find chords that fit around them.

 

You attend A.C.M. (Surrey) but hail from Bournemouth. How do the crowds differ and which gigs have been particularly memorable from 2016?

A.C.M. is great and I am really thankful for the incredible tutors who teach me so much.

I am also thankful to be working around beautiful and talented people within the Academy who I learn a lot from. I’ve never really gigged much in Guildford/Surrey! I hope to branch out with my music when I’m not so busy with my studies.

In addition to new material and performances before 2017: have you got any plans or ambitions for the coming months?

My main goals are just to get the new material recorded and get it out there! I also have a few upcoming projects in mind such as an official website and possibly regular vlogs.

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography

 

We are both fans of the band Nothing but Thieves. Are they are a big influence for you and what is it about the band that speaks to you?

I absolutely adore their music! I have seen them live and also met them a few times. They are lovely, down-to-earth guys who really care about the music and work hard to produce something they feel is amazing. I just really love their music! I’d love to incorporate their Alternative-Rock sounds into my upcoming music. They are extremely talented and the music they put out is perfect in my opinion.

In terms of influences and idols: which musicians have been most important and inspiring with regards your career?

I’ve always loved such a huge variety of music and genres! There are so many bands and artists who have continuously influenced my music and image. The artists I look up to most are Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert; Brantley Gilbert, Lana Del Rey; Taylor Swift, Envy (a rapper from Manchester) and most influential bands would be Paramore, Coheed & Cambria; Limp Bizkit and Nothing but Thieves.

 

Are there any new musicians coming through – local or otherwise – you feel we should be checking out?

Brantley Gilbert is someone I discovered recently and I absolutely love his music! It’s a real mix of Country and Rock and it sounds so awesome. I also really love Sia – her mysterious image and her incredible, powerful vocals are really inspiring.

I’ve also been getting more into Rock and Metal recently and my friend showed me a female-fronted metal band called In this Moment. They are awesome.

Music is very demanding and time-consuming. Do you find the time to decompress and what do you do in your spare time?

Sometimes it is like you want a little break from it. I love baking – mainly sweet things like cakes and brownies. I find it quite therapeutic. I also love fancy dress and socialising with my friends. I’m really close with my parents so I like to chill out at home with them and sometimes go for walks to the beach – or somewhere in The New Forest. I also like shopping (what girl doesn’t!?)

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography

 

Reports and articles have come out (in the music press) that look at the gender imbalance in music – not many women in top music jobs and getting fair respect. Do you think there is truth in the argument that women are often overlooked? Have you encountered any obstacles and discrimination as a woman in music?

I’ve actually had music business lectures about this very subject recently. What I think is terrible it is how much more sexualised women are than men!

Women are made to stand there and look pretty: they have so much more to give than that and we should respect and promote that more.

I’d love to hear women writing songs about important subjects and some of the terrible things happening in the world right now – rather than just writing about men or going out to a club on the weekend.

For those young bands looking to follow you into music: what advice and tips would you offer them?

Be yourself! One small idea you have could differentiate you from so many others and make you the successful ones. Love what you do and promote what you love. Work hard and never give up; also try not to compare yourself to anyone else.

You are you for a reason and you bring something great to this world and the music industry!

Keep at it and maybe I’ll see you on the red carpet one day.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song (other than your own as I’ll include one) and I’ll play it here…

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Follow Jasmine Branca

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/JasmineBrancaMusicUK/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/jasminebrancauk

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/jasmine-branca

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/JasmineBranca 

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