Interview: Jasmine Thompson bares her heart and soul in Wonderland

‘Cause we all get really lost sometimes.

British singer and songwriter, Jasmine Thompson, visits Manila for the very first time to promote her latest EP, Wonderland.

Jasmine Thompson. Warner Music Philippines,
Photo from Warner Music PH

Thompson was born to a Chinese mother and English father. She had a tough time growing up when her parents divorced while she was still young. To get through the reality of living in a dysfunctional home, Thompson found comfort in music. But music didn’t just help her get through difficult times, she also used it as an expression of her feelings, her thoughts, and her experiences.

Her latest EP, Wonderland, is about the confusion that a person feels as a young adult — or even as a grown up — when you have no clue about what’s really going on in your life.

InqPOP! got to sit down and chat with Thompson last August 27, at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, where she shared more about her life and her music.

InqPOP: You turned to music to get through the hard times in your life, so what was appealing about music then that made you turn to it? At what age did you start to like music?

Jasmine Thompson: It gave me a feeling of safety. I feel like it was difficult to explain myself and it is very hard to understand my own emotions sometimes. So whenever I listen to music, it was always like I don’t need to explain it [my emotions] and it was kind of like being told to me. It was a nice kind of feeling.

I’ve always love music but I probably started appreciating music more when I was around 6 or 8 years old.

InqPOP: You specifically connected to Florence + the Machine, and Noah and the Whale. What is it about their music/songs that attracted you the most? Are there other musicians that influenced you?

JT: I like how Florence sounded. I used to watch Florence + the Machine’s live performances on YouTube and watch how she [Florence] run around on stage, all their instruments, her lyrics and vocals — everything about her made me feel like she knew what was going on and I just want to listen to her all the time.

Noah and the Whale is kind of the same thing. They have really good storylines. And also, my brother and I used to listen to them a lot together. I remember all the car rides where we sing all their songs and they were just nice to listen to.

Right now, I’d like to be influenced by as many people as possible since I am still making music all the time. I’d also cover lots of different musics all the time. So people like Sam Feldt, Sam Smith, and just lots of different people.

InqPOP: You recently released your EP, Wonderland, which is about “…London itself, recounting growing up and coming of age in the city…” what brought about these themes?

JT: These are the things I’ve been thinking about and that’s why I would write about [it]. For example, I really wanted to make this music video for my friends and it would be shot around London — in places me and mates always go. Gradually, I realized that I really wanted to make that music video so I decided to write the song Wonderland so I can create the video. And it was cool. I had that and I thought we should add other songs to it. I already had other songs I wrote previously that was not released, so I chose which ones fit with the theme.

Jasmine Thompson. Warner Music Philippines,
Photo from Jasmine Thompson’s Facebook

InqPOP: What made you decide to let these things shape your latest EP?

JT: These are the main things I am thinking about lately. And a lot of the tracks in the EP are stories that happened to me over the past years. They are the main things that’s been going on in my life and I think they are important, so I wanted to share them through my music.

InqPOP: Among the tracks in your EP, which one is your favorite? And why?

JT: Wonderland or Drama. Wonderland was the most creatively fun for me because I went to the studio with one of my friends. And then we did the music video and it was crazy and fun. I was really happy I had all my closest friends in the music video and shot in places in London that I go to all the time, as well as actual places me and my mates always go. And I was really happy about that.

InqPOP: Can you share with us what your songwriting process is like?

JT: For me, it always starts with the melody and then I come up with piano chords, and lyrics. I focus the song mainly on anything that I want to talk about. That’s pretty much how it goes.

InqPOP: Please describe your music in three words.

JT: In three words? Ahh! I can’t fit it in three words (laughs). Let’s just say, “Inside to my head” so that’s four words. (laughs).

InqPOP: If you are a particular emotion what would you be? And why?

JT: I would normally be quite peaceful with a hint of sadness because I like to stay calm and chill. But I also like writing sad songs so I’d probably do a mix of both. A lot of my stuff is melancholic — slightly happy, slightly sad.

Jasmine Thompson. Warner Music Philippines,
Photo by Rea Alfonso

InqPOP: It is your first time here in the Philippines, and you’ve had your first mall show here, can you share with us your experience?

JT: I loved it! It was interesting because it was the very first time I did a mall show, it was my first time here and it was just crazy! I got to meet a lot of my fans that I haven’t met before and I am so happy because I have fans in Europe that I see quite a lot. And a lot of them I’ve seen multiple times and talked to as well. But since I’ve never been here before, I am hoping I can see them [Filipino fans] in the future again and meet more of them as well.

InqPOP: What advice would you like to give aspiring Filipino musicians?

JT: I’d say to try and figure out what you want to be as an artist. And try to keep your passion for music — to make sure it stays about being passionate about music and not about anything else. If it is your passion, keep trying until it works eventually. Share music, know your craft, play as many instruments as possible and all of that. Understand what you are doing and just be on it, and go.

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