[Contributor : Mad Max ]
21 year old Yasmin Shahmir has already made a huge underground name for herself as one of the UK’s foremost DJ’s. Beginning her music career as a DJ in London just two years ago, Yasmin has already founded her own successful club night, spun around the world for N.E.R.D., Taio Cruz and Eve, hosted her own stage at Wireless and played storming sets at Glastonbury and Ibiza Rocks. Fully established as a world-class spinner, Yasmin is now ready to make her mark as a fully fledged artist, singer and songwriter in her own right. Born in Manchester and raised in
Scotland to an Iranian dad and English mum, music has been a consistent presence in Yasmin’s life. Making a monthly eight-hour roundtrip to Manchester from Glasgow to visit family, Yasmin and her younger sister were exposed to the sounds of their parent’s Carlos Santana and Stevie Wonder CD’s. Yasmin’s personal tastes developed at High School, when she began to get into hip hop and R&B and developed an interest in DJing that swiftly became a huge personal passion. Though she was initially considering a career in physiotherapy, the lure of a life in music proved too much and she left university in her first year to concentrate on her DJ career. By this point, her parents had moved down south, so Yasmin relocated to London and took her DJ’ing to a whole new level, making connections and winning props that took her around the globe as a white-hot in-demand DJ. After being spotted in a club by none other than Pharrell Williams, Yasmin went out with N.E.R.D as DJ on their world tour, bringing a whole new global following to a British girl barely turned 20. Yasmin subsequently presented a show on BBC 1Xtra and was featured in Mixmag, NME, Time Out, Metro, DJ and iDJ, as well as the cover of RWD magazine. Throughout her formative DJ years, Yasmin was writing her own songs, and, after building a body of work, a friend persuaded her to send the first track she’d ever made to 1Xtra, where it was selected for Ras Kwame’s influential Homegrown show. As one of the key players on the UK underground scene, Yasmin has forged organic relationships with some of the scene’s most exciting and innovative artists who she has brought in to work on her debut album. After meeting Labrinth through her time as Master Shortie’s DJ (Lab produced Shortie’s first album, ADHD) and having DJ’d with Shy FX, she simply began calling people up and asking them to work with her.
That was in January 2010, and since then Yasmin has signed to Levels Entertainment, a Ministry of Sound imprint, who will be releasing her debut album in 2011. Invoking the stylish streak of a Neneh Cherry with the stripped back sensibilities of Massive Attack and the ethereal imagination of Portishead, Yasmin has managed to create something entirely original, remaining current while hinting at British music’s most creative periods. A&R’d almost entirely by Yasmin through the relationships built over the last two years, her music is a genuine reflection of this independent 21 year-old. Littering her lyrics with witty asides and candid choruses, her songwriting is as original as her look; both relatable and accessible, yet customised to reflect her own tastes and experiences. Production on the record comes from Labrinth (Tinie Tempah’s Pass Out and Frisky), Dubstep’s Benga (one-third of super-group Magnetic Man), Drum & Bass legend Shy FX (Dizzee Rascal), production duo MoJam (Professor Green), Grime guru DaVinChe (Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah) and cutting-edge pop powerhouse Futurecut (Lily Allen, Plan B) “I want the bulk of the album to be produced by UK producers and have a very British sound and feel” says Yasmin of her as-yet-untitled debut. “It’s all about representing where you’re from and where you’re at. The DJ in me wants the whole underground to move forward. It’s not all me, me, me. If one has success, we all have success,” she points out of working with predominantly underground UK talent. “That is what is most important to me and I’m not going let anyone tell me different.” Yasmin’s debut single, On My Own, is released on 30th January 2011. Produced by Shy FX, it’s a furious D&B-based tune that Yasmin co-wrote with Donaeo. “The song is saying I could have had a 9 – 5, I could have finished school just like my mum and dad wanted me to, but I took the jump and did it on my own,” says Yasmin of the track that channels late ‘90s breakbeat culture. “Up until I met my management, I did everything on my own. A lot of people gave me a helping hand, but even to this day I go to gigs on my own and travel around the world on my own. I’m not moaning; it’s what’s made me who I am.” Another key track, Finish Line, is produced by Labrinth and is due for release in Spring 2011. “It’s about something coming to an end; whether that’s a friendship, a relationship or even a job,” Yasmin explains of the understated, mid-tempo track. The antithesis of mass, over-produced pop, Finish Line harks back to the days of trip-hop, with Yasmin’s haunting vocals and quietly insistent melodies perfectly complimenting the dub-inspired beats. Futurecut meanwhile have provided two key tracks: the sci-fi sounds of the esoteric Emergency Line and the Garage flavoured, tempo-twisting Giving Up. Smart, stylish, funny and gorgeous, this dedicated music lover is one of the most exciting females to emerge from the UK underground in years. Not only playing the hits, Yasmin is now making them, and making them brilliantly. “I’m a brand new artist, I don’t have any back catalogue or anything,” Yasmin notes. “It’s a genuine passion for music that has got me this far. The possibilities are endless.”
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