The gospel according to Jasmine

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am


After the success of her debut single, Sad to Say, in 2009, many people dubbed Japanese singer Jasmine 'the next Hikaru Utada'. Since then, the 22-year-old has released several other chart-topping singles and even performed as a special guest for American singer Ne-Yo at his concert in Japan. We spoke to her when she was on her first visit to Hong Kong to sing at last Friday's Asia Music Connection concert.

Real name: Asumi
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Star sign: Taurus
Chinese zodiac: Snake
Album: Gold (2010)

Your first signing experience was in a gospel choir. How did it help your career?

Gospel music has helped me because when I'm writing music, especially the harmonies, I go back to some of the things that I learned when I sang in the choir.

How did you first become interested in singing?

It was my dream to be a singer. My parents were both musicians, and when I was in secondary school, I thought to myself that I'm not particularly good in school or at sports, so what can I do? In the end, I thought besides singing, I don't know much else, so I began to pursue my dream.

How do you feel about the comparison with Hikaru Utada?

I'm very happy and really humbled people called me the second Hikaru Utada. I feel it adds a bit of pressure - she's a superstar - but personally, I don't think I am the next Utada.

Since you're performing in the Asia Music Connection concert, which takes place in Taipei, Tokyo and Hong Kong, can you tell me something about your view of each of the three cities?

Taipei is a bit like Japan; a lot of people there can speak Japanese. I think it's a nice place to live.

Hong Kong is very luxurious, everything is so bling-bling.

As for Tokyo ... (after a long pause) ... Tokyo is where I was born, it's my home.

Besides music, what are your other interests and hobbies?

I like to draw, go shopping and go dancing with my friends.

What do you draw?

I like to draw girls.

What do you mean by girls?

Like cartoon girls in animations and manga. But I actually don't like to read manga.

You dress in some really colourful outfits in your videos. Is that how you dress normally?

I've actually stopped wearing that many colours recently. But before, like last year, if I wasn't wearing colourful clothing, I would feel uncomfortable.

What's new for 2012?

Right now I'm writing new music and recording some songs for my next album. It should be out some time later this year.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

I've been a fan of Beyonce for a long time. I'd probably go crazy if I got to see her perform live.

Your music career is still relatively young. But do you have any goals that you've set for yourself?

Hmm ... it seems really far away, but I would really like to win a Grammy.