Jasmine Yen on Launching Her Music Career and Having Superstar Genes
November 08, 2023
Jasmine Yen is made for the camera. High cheekbones. Luminous skin. Perfectly aligned teeth that yield a natural smile. And a well-proportioned face with soft and delicate features that command attention and translate through the lens.
On the day of our interview, we talked about her songwriting process, her music influences, and, inevitably, how she feels about having famous parents. It was only one of the many media engagements lined up for her that day as part of promoting her new single called “idk.” After our 20-minute chat, the 19-year-old newbie singer zoomed off to yet another call, likely not even half-way through her media to-dos for that day.
But if her Zoom-ready face was any indication, it did not seem as though Jasmine’s day was long and laborious, bombarded by one press interview after another. She answered my questions as if answering them for the first time: enthusiastic, candid, certain. When I asked her about what she felt about being Donnie Yen’s daughter—a question she probably answered for a millionth time—she said with conviction and a full smile:
“At the end of the day, it's inevitable. My father is my father and I'm proud to be part of the family. I want people to know my music. I want them to connect with my music.”
It could be said that the path has already been paved for Jasmine. She has her genes to thank not only for her looks and talents, but for her industry connections and clout. The 19-year-old rising singer appears to be cognizant of this, intent to make a name for herself while fully acknowledging that having famous parents helped put her foot in the door.
She is not new to the limelight, but she isn’t used to it either. Navigating this slippery slope, Jasmine launched her music career last July with her inaugural stage performance at the Majulah Music Night in Singapore. Subsequently, she released her eight-track debut album titled "tbh" under RCA Records Greater China, a division of Sony Music.
“I'm quite shy. So, I like to express my feelings through songwriting. It's just a lot easier for me that way. I write personal things, but at the same time, I also love to create stories through my imagination. A lot of the songs in this album actually are based from the latter and explore different characters and feelings.”
In another track called “what the,” Jasmine’s music sees her zipping past through the hot-and-cold nature of young love, running ballsy lyrics in tandem with a head-bopping melody. “I wrote this when I turned 18. I was flying somewhere with my parents. And all of a sudden, I had the drive and inspiration to write music. I always get the songwriter vibes on the plane, maybe because there are no distractions, so I'm really in tune with my thoughts.”
Jasmine has been singing and writing lyrics even before she formally launched her singing career. She was nine when she did her first unofficial gig—to sing in front of 2,000 people at her aunt’s wedding. Last year, she secured a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, whose alumni include John Mayer, Charlie Puth, and Quincy Jones.
This year though, she had to pause school to make way for her music career, a move that has the full support of her parents.
“My parents are really great because they let me decide whatever my passion is. They didn’t put pressure on me on what I wanted to become in the future. But they saw my passion for and dedication to music, songwriting, and singing. I think over time, they felt it and they have been very supportive.”
“The advice they gave me was to just relax, chill out, and be yourself.”
Asked what other factors influence her music, Jasmine said she goes through mini phases that shape her taste and music execution. “Right now, I think it's pop diva. I worship Beyonce. I just think she is the most amazing performer ever. She's so talented in her craft, her dance, her songwriting, her singing. And she also represents women empowerment.”
“That's why I say ‘pop diva,’ because I really look up to and respect women in music. I also love Rina [Sawayama], who I also consider a pop diva. She's amazing. I got to watch her when I was in Berklee in December, and I was really lucky to catch her last show. I was blown away.”
On what’s in store for her over the next few months, Jasmine said she is looking forward to more live performances.
“What I really want to do is to try to perform as much as I can because I really love connecting with the audience. I feel that through performances, you can have that connection and really feel that energy with the listeners.”
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