When Swedish blues and r’n’b singer Jasmine Kara isn’t found shaking her groove thing on the popular Friday night TV show Let’s Dance, she travels the world making her music dreams come true. YLC’s Nina Uddin has the lowdown on this remarkable singer.
Kara may only be 25, but her life story would already make for a movie or a book. In fact she has already written an autobiography Hälsa henne att hon ska dö (Tell her she will die), which was published around the same time as her debut album was first released back in 2010.
Kara has experienced enough bad times to sing the blues, especially during her teens when she was in a destructive relationship, making her temporarily give up music and brought her to the brink of suicide. At a psychiatric clinic she was encouraged to play the guitar, which turned out to be the best form of therapy for her. Music became the most important thing in Jasmine’s life.
At the tender age of 18, she packed her bags and moved stateside, to New York, to pursue her music dreams.
Legend has it that Jasmine was singing on the street outside record companies until security guards chased her away. She also took any opportunity she was given to perform at jazz and blues clubs in New York – she especially likes to recall the one night she had Beyoncé and Jay-Z in the audience.
Upon her return to Sweden, Jasmine finally got her record deal with the label of legendary Marshall Chess and Blues Ain’t Nothing But a Good Woman Gone Bad was released in the summer of 2010. The album was full of blues and R & B classics from the treasure trove that is the Chess Records back catalogue, originally sung by Etta James and the like.
Jasmine Kara and the Moose Brothers
Last year Jasmine reintroduced herself with a new look and original music. The music still has retro influences, but in an updated production. Her black and white hairstyle drew attention and she explained that it reflects the duality of her nature. The energetic and outspoken stage persona versus her more calm and friendly private self. It can also be said to reflect the two sides of her family background – her mother is Swedish and her father Iranian.
Jasmine has been spending the past year living out of a suitcase, shuttling between Stockholm, London, New York and Tokyo – writing and recording music with different collaborators for her upcoming album.
She is also starting her own record label and YLC asked her about her thoughts on taking this step. (It seems to be a growing trend in the music business that artists are cutting out the middleman and starting their own labels.)
“It feels very natural and just the right thing to do. I have been signed to a smaller record label for quite a while and that meant I was doing most of the creative work myself anyway,” Kara told YLC.
“Now I can hopefully also start making some money out of it and it gives me the chance to do things at my own pace without having to wait around for others. And if something goes wrong, I’ll only have myself to blame, which feels good for me. I really like big challenges and I like how the music industry has changed in the past years.”
Jasmine’s first single on her new label Karacter Records has just come out and she’s put out a video she shot herself in New York, with people sharing their thoughts about what makes a Beautiful World.
Another new challenge for Jasmine is taking part in Let’s Dance, Sweden’s version of Dancing with the Stars/Strictly Come Dancing, with its 2014 season running this spring. She is very much looking forward to the experience.
“I’m in it to have fun and spread some joy. It’s great to get the chance to learn a new type of art form and a new way to express myself. I also hope to gain more control of my body and soul,” she said.
When asked if there was any type of dance she particularly would like to learn, Kara answered that she was keen to learn all the ten types of dances in the programme.
“But I feel that rumba looks like the most fun!”
Catch Jasmine Kara and the other celebrities learning their dance moves on TV4 Friday nights at 8pm.
Nina is a freelance translator and writer, who also takes her photography more and more seriously. Popular music in all its forms is her biggest passion and she keeps her finger firmly on the pulse of the Stockholm (and Swedish) music scene.