Interview with Jas’mine “JazzMine” Garfield: Birmingham’s Soul Siren

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Lately, I’ve been sharing stories & detailed interviews with the stars of our city’s hiphop and R&B scene. This week, one of my personal favorite singers — from anywhere, not just Alabama — talks about conquering confidence issues to becoming an immensely talented voice who collaborates and creates with every relevant emcee in town. Meet JazzMine.

BHAMFM: You have one of the most beautiful voices in Birmingham. Who/what were some major influences that fostered your talent as a child?

Jas’mine: Well, first off, thank you! I was always the kid that was pushed up front. It seems like I could never escape the spotlight.. and I didn’t mind because that’s home for me. I was in many oratory competitions, essay contests, choirs. You name it, I did it! I just loved to perform. As a child, confrontation was hard for me. So was the ability to be understood. Performing in any realm or writing, for example, was life to me. I was understood and even then I just didn’t care what others would think of me. Life has to be another push of influence. I’ve always been an observant, laid back, kool kat, spelled with a K because — hey — we all belong in that “cool society” (laughs). I was this way as a child because there was wisdom in every step, every situation, every bit of time that my mind spent analyzing the truth, which then translated into creativity.

BHAMFM: What part of town did you grown up in?

Jas’mine: I grew up on the west side of town. Forestdale mainly, but my roots are deep in the Ensley area. I attended a private school, Holy Family, from preschool all the way through high school. It was the best school I attended simply because who “I am” grew right from that area.

BHAMFM: Your song “Intoxication” is my favorite R&B song of the year. The production value is amazing. We’ve posted it on our site a few times! How was the song born & who did you work with to record it?

Jas’mine: Keep on posting and sharing! Yeah, it is one of those songs that means a lot to me. There was a time in my life where I had lost myself. I mean, I couldn’t even look in the mirror because my image was resting in the eyes of someone else. We all have those times where we fall into our flesh and the only way we can cope is through wordily substance — not realizing that we are only destroying ourselves. I, like so many, tried to drain those thoughts we can never escape by having what we would consider “a good time”. I remember in the midst of everything that nothing was truly going to waste but myself. Many times I’ve slapped myself in the forehead and so many times I’ve had to sit back and say “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”. So I brought these lyrics to play. I’ve always been a huge fan of the original song sampled, “Feel Like Making Love” by Bob James. That was also my first time working with the amazing AP SWAYZE! He sent me the song and I think I might have screamed a little. Ok, ok… ALOT.

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BHAMFM: You’re an outspoken Christian. You always seem to have such a positive outlook on life, whether it’s sharing verses from the gospel or getting giddy when you post on Facebook about being in the studio. Would you share a little about your role as a Sunday school teacher and singing at your church?

Jas’mine: We have to understand how grateful and blessed we are. I don’t force my faith on anyone, but I know what God has done for me. I know that regardless of what you may go through, every blessing has its lesson… so we must learn. I remember being little and always praying for wisdom and not really understanding what I was asking for. It was those times when everyday seemed like hell, but you understand there is a breakthrough coming. Knowing what peace really is. What love truly means. We have to experience the wrongs to truly understand those things that are right. Everyday is Sunday School for me! When I’m on stage or even just recording, I feel that I’m in class. It’s a message of breakthrough I want to share. Before, I was one of those who couldn’t stand church. I was way too busy worried about those around me judging. Later I learned “Who cares? They don’t matter!” I gotta say, I’m honored to know the truth within my spiritual relationship with God.

BHAMFM: You have a very modern sound melded with a classically soulful voice. Who are your favorite artists on a larger scale? From any time period?

Jas’mine: Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Kanye West, Nora Jones, Hiatus Kaiyote and Laura Mvula. These are my top for more than just there amazing talent, but for not being afraid of just being themselves. They made me not only fall in love with using metaphors in my composition, but also making me feel proud of just being “JazzMine”.

BHAMFM: Who have been the your favorite people to collaborate with in Alabama?

Jas’mine: There’s so much talent in Birmingham! So far, KLUB M.O.N.S.T.A. and Eugenius are amazing. Eugenius is just his own creator; I LOVE IT! I love those who step outside of the box, because it motivates me to run around the outskirts as well. And KLUB MONSTA, well they are just AMAZING. I was able to be a part of their mixtape “Separate, but Sequel” and their latest record “CANVAS.

Jas'mine and the infamous Gip of Gip's Place
Jas’mine and the infamous Gip of Gip’s Place

BHAMFM: How many records/singles/EPs do you have out that people can buy? Perfect stocking stuffers for folks with impeccable music taste!

Jas’mine: I’m currently working with an amazing group “Beats for Change” for an amazing EP release. Also, my newest EP “Write Every Wrong” will be releasing soon as well. So until then feel free to head on over and grabby my current stuff on my Bandcamp!

BHAMFM: What is an absolutely essential record that everyone must listen to, in your opinion?

Jas’mine: Geesh. This is tough without saying my own (grins). Currently, I would have to say the entire Hiatus Kaiyote album. If you understand good music, then you’ll ride the waves of AMAZING VIBES!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jas’mine is planning to grab her guitar and hit the open road in the near future, so check back in with us for tour dates & shows!

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