Volume 93, Issue 50

November 26, 1999


Western alumnus proves she is better than good

Big Sea prompts waves of delight

Ashgrove reaps the rewards of hard work

Inaccuracies a cynical take on the gender gap


Western alumnus proves she is better than good

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

I'm slightly late for my lunch date with Jazmin, but the blossoming R&B singer/songwriter doesn't seem to mind. Although she's just driven in from Toronto after a cross-Canada media blitz, she seems more than willing to sit down and talk about her debut album, Better Be Good.

The CD cover is a photo of her posed with her head askew, come-hitherly sitting backwards on a chair, something I examine while the former Western student talks about the place she once called home for more than two years.

"I was walking by Thames Hall and was like, 'Oh, I wrote exams in there.' I miss the feeling of being in school and the whole school life, but I think it's not something I could do right now," she says. "When I was here, it was like another phase of growing up and I studied as hard as I could, but I never sacrificed having a good time. I believe school's totally important but it wasn't something that was going to make my career happen."

Jazmin notes a big part of her personal life went into her music, which is a litany of songs that lament the tribulations of unrequited love with sprightly beats and a range of influences thrown in the mix. "I've been there, done that and I'll do it again," she sighs.

After stints which included theatre acts in Rent and the Michael Jackson produced Sisterella in Los Angeles, the Mississauga native said she had a wide range of music from which to draw upon. "My music comes from all different types. I took a bit of opera while I was [a student at Western]. I'm influenced by a lot of jazz and classical and I took 12 years of piano lessons," she recounts. "I even used to listen to a lot of heavy metal, a lot of rock, alternative and pop. My writing comes from a lot of influences from across the board."

The singer, who counts Brandy and Madonna among her musical heroes, is quick to rebut claims the Top 40 music scene is lacking. "I just picked up the Christina Aguilera CD," she exclaims. "You know, I just wanted to check it out and coming from that same school of thought, I thought it's gonna be like another young girl pop CD, but her CD is really good. There's songs on there that I would love to sing.

"You have to listen to a whole person's album and not just one song," she continues. "Singles aren't chosen because they're the best song on the album. They're chosen because they're the best songs to represent to a whole section."

Despite her admittance that the Canadian R&B scene is not on par with the United States, Jazmin hopes to help throw a bigger spotlight on things north of the border. "I think the Canadian scene is good and it's getting bigger," she muses. "It's getting better and there are a lot more opportunities these days."

When our time is finished, I realize that I've caused her to miss out on a warm meal. I apologize, but Jazmin doesn't seem to mind, something which shows she's obviously remained modest after her success thus far. She ends by noting that anything is possible in the future.

"I've achieved something in the last few months that's been my goal for my whole life," she smiles. "I'd certainly say I'd be really happy [even] if it all ended today."

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999