An Interview With Jasmine Sokko
Tell us a bit of yourself, how has your journey as a musician been thus far?
This is Jasmine Sokko, an electronic producer-singer from Singapore. My journey as a musician has been a mess – not the bad kind but also not the perfect kind. Being a musician has expanded my emotional threshold greatly – I experience adrenaline rush from performing in front of people from different places and rock-bottom low when I find myself alone, in a room, unable to write anything for a few weeks straight even though I’m overwhelmed with feelings.
Some days, I wake up and feel super lucky to be living my dream, other times I’m filled with self-doubt and contemplate doing something more ‘structured’. But really, I’m starting to get used to this open-endedness which I’m both nervous and excited about.
Your lyrics are deeply expressive and rich in personal emotions, personally speaking are you comfortable with sharing your deepest thoughts to your listeners?
I am a private person who enjoys being low-key and I would do almost everything to protect that. But music happens to be the only space I’ve learned to open up comfortably. Sometimes, I have strange, unpopular thoughts and I fear that people might not understand what I sing about. But I’ve came to realise the more specific and honest I get, the more I reach out to people who can relate (this surprised me but it works). So yes, I feel free in my songs.
So far, have you been as experimental as you would like to be? Is there anything holding you back?
I’ve been experimental enough such that each work has brought me some form of fulfilment and push me out of my comfort zone. That said, I don’t really make music for myself. I make it to connect with people who might feel the same so I never want to overlook the ‘accessibility’ of a song because I think it’s important. That could be my biggest hinder to experimenting more.
How does your music engage the current music scene, is there a go-to genre in music for you?
I listen to a wide range of genres but I like staying in so I don’t exactly always know what’s happening in the current music scene. I just do what sounds good to me from home and in the studio.
Not really. Genres are like clothes to me. If a song has strong lyrics and melodies, it would sound good in rock, jazz, pop, electronic – you name the genre.
When you wear a mask, do you consider your music a visual work as well?
Yes! Music is not just songs. It is an experience. The visual aspect is an extension of music so I do put a lot of importance in my music videos, live performances, outfits because of that.
I love how honest you are in your music-making process and how you encourage other creatives who are also often constantly doubting themselves. If there was a way to travel back in time to your younger self, what would you say to her?
I’d email her this gem written by Ira Glass:
What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You've just gotta fight your way through.
Is the ability to create music inborn or a practiced skill?
The ability to create music is the product of an inborn passion and a practiced luck.
As an undergrad and a full time musician, how do you manage your time?
Sometimes, I take modules that I think would help me in my music career. Other times, I take classes where I’m allowed submit my music marketing proposal (or anything along this line) as project assignments. Then, I try to skip the rest that don’t fit in the criteria.
Thank you for doing this interview with us! In closing, share with us your current Spotify playlist!
Photo credit: Warren Tey