COLOUR is the first thing one notices when looking at…
Jazz Mino. I talk to her about her version of Crush – she has produced an impressive reinterpretation of Jennifer Paige’s 1998 smash. Mino talks about her ‘colours campaign’ and what comes next for her; why mental-health – and raising support – is playing large on her mind; the artists she is inspired by – and what kind of dates she has approaching.
I find out what she is doing this Christmas and the advice she would offer new songwriters; what it was like working with Oliver Nelson – and receiving plaudits from the likes of BBC Radio 1.
Hi, Jazz. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m great thanks - and had an amazing week.
I’ve been pretty much studio-bound; co-writing some new songs with my team. They are so much fun to hang out with and this week has been particularly productive and creative!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hey! I’m Jazz Mino and I absolutely love singing my heart out - whenever I get the chance!
I’m originally from Manchester but was raised in Somerset for most of my childhood - and now living in London. I’m having a great time in London. Every day is different and I feel so lucky to meet such incredible people every day from all walks of life. My upbringing and living in London has inspired me as an artist to do a colour-changing, multi-single campaign to promote diversity, equality and the importance of self-care.
I feel like these subjects are crucial to a more open, caring and positive society for us all - and something I feel very strongly about.
Crush is out now – many might hear some familiar notes. What was the reason for tackling the song?
Aha; they might!
I absolutely love the original Crush by Jennifer Paige. I was initially drawn towards Crush as it’s about letting your down and enjoying things for the now - rather than overanalysing. This is something I’ve been able to achieve by overcoming anxiety - which I’ve been working on over the past year. For me, Crush is about truly living for the moment you’re in rather than focusing on/worrying about what that moment will bring.
That said; it has a lot of your D.N.A. and unique talent in the song. Was it hard reinterpreting and making it your own?
That’s very kind, thank you! To be honest, I love reinterpreting songs and I do it all the time. I enjoy looking at every single lyric and really getting to grips with what they mean for me. When I’ve got my interpretation right, the rest is kind of second-nature - as I really am creating from my heart.
I’m very proud of it as I feel like it’s a real reflection of who I am as an artist.
The song has already been championed by BBC Radio 1 and gained a lot of love. Were you nervous about releasing and how it might be received?
I think as with every release, you always feel a little nervous as it’s so close to you. All your innermost feelings and creative vibes have been channelled into it. So, it’s great that people are loving it; in a way, it’s like them saying ‘yeah, I get you’ - which is a really nice feeling when you’re being so honest and open.
What was it like working with Oliver Nelson on the track? What did he bring to the song?
Ah; so much fun and a real milestone for me.
I’ve been a big fan of Oliver’s work for a long time - so it means a lot that he loves my vibe. I remember my manager saying (that) Oliver’s heard the track and he’s keen to work on it; I was like…WOOOO! Haha.
Tell me about your ‘Orange’ campaign - as I am interesting finding out more…
My Orange campaign is for the release of Crush. More specifically, it’s about overcoming anxiety and feeling confident; focusing on what YOU think of yourself rather than worrying what others think. When I was suffering from anxiety, I felt a constant suffocating feeling and sense of dread. I was scared to be honest about how I felt but, when I finally started to open up, I realised that I wasn’t alone - and, actually, it was quite common.
I feel like the U.K. has become much more aware and accepting of mental-health in general. I think it’s so important to talk about the subject as much as possible…so that nobody feels alone. The reason I chose the colour orange to represent the campaign was because it’s such a loud and vibrant colour.
I personally have positive associations with it and it’s my favourite colour - so it just made a lot of sense!
I believe your ‘colours’ campaign has caught the eye of various brands. It seems you are shaping into a bit of an ambassadorial figure. Given your stride for equality and self-care; do you hope to use this platform to spread those messages to a wider remit?
Yeah; it’s been great so far. I feel honoured to work with some amazing brands that really reflect who I am and what I stand for. I’ve started working with Crazy Colour (hair-dye) and Lush Hair Extensions. They both feature heavily in the campaign. Both brands are about expressing yourself so it just makes so much sense that we’re all working together. I’m in talks with a few more brands - which I’m really excited about...
So keep a watch on my Instagram for more announcements!
You were born in Manchester; raised in Somerset – now living in London. That sounds like a bit of a trek. What was the reason for the moves – and how important is London to you?
Yeah. I moved around quite a lot!
I was born in Manchester and, when I was twelve, my grandparents retired to Somerset. We’re a very close family so my mum decided to move us down, too. At first, I felt quite isolated but, as I became more familiar with it (and they, with my northern accent), I loved it. It’s so calm and peaceful: literally the opposite of London - so it’s lovely to head back there from time to time; enjoy some peace, calm and quality time with my family.
You have Iranian roots and, your family at least, must have experienced uprooting and conflict. How instrumental are your roots when it comes to your music and messages?
I don’t know my dad (who is Iranian) but, growing up in both Manchester and Somerset, sadly, I experienced quite a few racist comments because of the way I look. Whilst I was in Manchester, I didn’t really understand what people meant because I was so young and, in my head, I was just the same as them - no different. I was slightly more affected by this in Somerset as I had more of an understanding about what prejudice was. To be honest, I wouldn’t really change how I was treated - as it helped me establish my core values at a very young age. I think it’s very sad that some people, without knowing somebody whatsoever at all, can make negative judgements about them based on their appearance.
However, you can’t control what others do: all you can do is be mindful of the way you treat others. I try to have a positive outlook on life and treat everybody with love and kindness. Nobody is perfect but I think if you can do this most of the time…you’re on a good path!
Can you recall when music first struck you? Was there an artist or album that sparked that fuse?
My grandma taught me how to read music and play the piano - which is when I started writing songs. Since then, I’ve been inspired by so many artists over the years - from Freddie Mercury to Etta James. I think each genre of music has something you can take away and make your own. I experimented a lot and it’s only been the past year where I feel I’ve finally found who I am as an artist - and what music really inspires me and brings me to life.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sigrid/PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathan Vivaas Kise
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
I actually get asked this so much!
I’ve put together a weekly Spotify playlist with songs that I’ve been vibing to called In My Head. I update it every week with my favourite new songs. Right now, I’m loving Sigrid, Grace Grundy and Blood On My Shoes (by Tara Carosielli).
IN THIS PHOTO: Tara Carosielli
They all have such beautiful voices and I love how they really grab you with their innermost feelings. I really connect to them - and think you will too!
You can follow (my) In My Head playlist here.
IN THIS PHOTO: Grace Grundy/PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Driscoll
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Ahhhh…that’s a super-hard one! So; the first is Britney Spear’s (second album) Oops!... I Did It Again
It totally captivated and made me realise, from a really young age, how much I loved Pop music - and I wanted to write, sing and perform.
Later, I became addicted to Hayley Williams’ voice (Paramore). Paramore’s Riot was, literally, my soundtrack for a year haha!
I also love Sia’s album, Some People Have Real Problems
Everything about her vocals, lyrics; melody and chord progressions just send shivers down my spine!
(Finally - this isn’t an album – but you NEED to listen to Liability by Lorde. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard).
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
My advice would be to stay to true to yourself: don’t rush anything and really spend a lot of time working out who you are as an artist - and how you want to connect with people. It takes a long time to get all aspects to a point where you’re super-proud of what you’re representing (but it’s so worth it).
Where can we see you play this year? What dates do you have coming up?
I’m doing a U.K. schools-tour really soon to raise awareness of mental wellbeing - and I feel so privileged to have been asked to do it. It’s so important that people, from a young age, understand that caring for your mental-health is just as important as caring for your physical health.
My team are just in the middle of planning next year’s tours dates; so I imagine they’ll be announced on my website early next year!
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
I cannot wait for Christmas!
I’ve actually got some pretty special plans, work-wise, and with family! My sister has just got married and she’s going to be hosting Christmas for the first time this year. That said, I do feel sorry for her as it means she’ll have to cater for my dairy allergy. Haha. She is absolutely hilarious and I love it when all the family gets together. We just do silly fun stuff in the moment: play some board games and generally have a good old giggle.
In December, I’ll be changing colour in celebration of both Christmas and a brand-new song release - so keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Sounds like a good deal to me…
Don’t Kill My Vibe – Sigrid
It’s an absolute banger.
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