Three time ARIA nominated, CMA International Award winner and two time CMC Music Award winner Jasmine Rae is set to release her 4th album titled Heartbeat on May 15th. The single, of the same name, has already reached number #1 on the Australian country music charts. I sat down with Jasmine to chat about zombies, cake, duets and the lead up to the new album.
Firstly, congratulations on the new album Heartbeat. How are the nerves leading up to the release?
Really good. The feeling is really good. People have been super supportive with the single and I can’t wait for them to hear the rest of the album. I’m in Crows Nest at the moment, just hanging around Sydney. We’ve been doing some things like presentations for Universal for the album and all the things that go on behind the scenes before it comes out.
After three previous albums, how did you approach making this new album?
Well, the If I Want To album was very much a personal body of work and some of the stuff on there was very raw and I kind of just let the songs take the direction they wanted to. I had so much support with that record. So many people were saying that they could relate to some of the songs and they really were emotionally connected to it, and it inspired me to do the same thing again. Make the music that just falls out of me and not think too much about how I want it to sound. I just let each song, you know, if it was going to be a little bit bluesier, let it be bluesier. If it was going to be more country, let it be more country. If it was going to have a bit more of a mainstream sound then yeah, not kind of put any rules on it as much and that’s what I’ve kind of done again and been very honest in the topics that I’ve wanted to write about. That’s where I think the inspiration came from.
What made you decide to call the album Heartbeat?
Heartbeat is a very positive, kind of believing-in-yourself song. It’s about breaking through the noise and listening to your own thoughts and your own dreams and celebrating that. And really that’s what I was doing when making this record. I was like I’m just going to do what I really love doing and that same idea carried across as my motive for the whole album and that’s kind of why I thought Heartbeat would be a good name for the album too.
Is that why you chose Heartbeat as the first single as well?
Yeah, that is why. And cause I wanted to do a video where I got to eat lots of cake and stuff.
You got to act in the video as well. Is that something that you’d like to continue doing?
I would like to do that. I think with songwriting you get, I don’t always write about situations that I’ve necessarily personally been in, like I wrote a song for my best friend’s wedding on this record and I’ve never been married before, so I like to become a different character sometimes when I’m writing, and acting has the same kind of experience. Like it’s definitely like an out-of-body experience. You’re not yourself for that three and a half minutes or however long and acting has been something that I’ve always enjoyed dabbling in and I’d like to do a little more. It was fun to do that for this video and be a whole other character.
You mentioned the song When I Found You which was written for your best friend’s wedding. How did that song come about?
You know how you have that one friend that you’ve been friends with for as long as you can remember? She’s that friend for me. We met when we were four years old and so I always imagined, when I was like five, that I’d sing at her wedding and it would be a song that I’d written. I just can’t believe that that’s actually the case! Myself and my piano player, who plays in my band, and his songwriting partner, we wrote it the week before. We were getting to the point where it was like, ‘Jasmine, if you’re going to write a song you have to write it now’ and I think sometimes when you’re under pressure and you’ve definitely got a deadline some of the best work happens. Hopefully. So it was cool. It was something I’ve always wanted to do but [there was] no pressure from her. She had no idea actually. She didn’t know I was doing it. She knew I was gonna sing something but it was a surprise for her and she cried all her expensive make up off at the time.
Did she mind you putting the song on the album?
No, she loves it. Even in my album booklet it says that it’s dedicated to Amber and Nathan so that’s definitely their song. She thinks it’s cool.
Listening to the album I noticed that many songs off the new album could possibly have the potential to cross over to a more pop/mainstream audience. Is that something you’d like to do and maybe grab a non-country fan base as well, say like Taylor Swift or Keith Urban have done recently?
Hopefully my fan base will keep growing but I never want to disappoint the people who were there from the very beginning. I’ve always loved country music and I’ll always have that in my sound, as my home, where I’m from. You never know where it’s going to go. I’d like my music to reach as many people as possible but I don’t plan on actually crossing over, maybe if it spills over to some extra people here that’d be fantastic but I don’t want to change my sound, who I am and things like that. I think I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m really honest and doing exactly what I want to do, and how so many people are so lovely and supportive so I want to slowly keep growing that.
Well you’re toured with some pretty big names yourself. I heard that Alan Jackson actually asked you to be his opening act, is that right?
Yeah, there was a few people who were put to him by his label or whoever does that over there. He liked my songs and he liked my vibe so he chose me personally. I was like ‘really? Oh my God! Little me?’ And he was really nice when we were on the road, very supportive and it was great to be able to meet him and be able to see his show. It was incredible seeing arenas of people sing every one of his songs word for word. It’s cool.
So back to the album, there’s a song on the album that really grabbed my attention which is called Zombie Love.
Oh you like it? That’s one of my favourites too! I’m glad you like that.
I think it would make such a good music video.
Like a country-Thriller kind of vibe …
Yeah, that’s kind of what we were thinking. I like to take serious feelings, cause I’m a super sensitive person and have lots of feels, and then kind of make fun of them a little bit. Like I don’t like to waste anything. I don’t like to waste food and stuff and I don’t like to throw things away until I know they’re really bad, like also relationships I don’t like to let go of them until they’re totally rotting away so that’s kind of where the Zombie Love idea came from. We had fun with that one.
Do you think it’ll become a single?
I’d like to but you never know what will happen in the future. I would like to because making the video would be very fun. I would want to wear the zombie make-up and be a zombie.
Are you going to sing First Song and Lose You All Over Again on tour because I imagine those would be very hard to sing live?
I haven’t. I’ve performed First Song once all the way through in Tamworth in 2014 – that was just acoustic. But I’m feeling like I’m at a point now where I want to be really honest. Like there are times where I’m being an idiot and dancing around like a fool and there’s lots of parts of the show where it’s a party. But I want to be honest about there were times where I was totally devastated, crying all day long and didn’t know if I’d feel better ever again. I may do those songs in the show. It’ll be the first time I play them live and first time I play First Song with a band. It’s going to be very special and hopefully I get through them but I think it’s important to be able to be that honest with the people who support me and my music cause they are just so important to me. I want to be able to share everything with them.
Is it hard coming up with a tour set list now with now with almost four albums?
Yeah. I’ll have four albums; how weird is that? We’re rehearsing at the moment with the band so we are picking the set list right now and it was a bit difficult at the beginning. Like ‘but they’re all my babies, which ones am I gonna sing?’ But we’re finding our way around it. I actually learnt a few tricks from Adam Brand how to fit them all in the show – all the favourites as well as new songs. It’s hard to choose but I think it just brings something new to the show too like even if you can’t play a whole version of a song you definitely get hints of all of the songs and it takes it to a new kind of place. Being able to fit the new songs in like Eggs In A Basket and stuff like that. That one to do live is going to bring something that I haven’t done before to the show so I’m excited to see the dynamics that happen.
Speaking of Adam Brand, there’s also the duet Quit This Time on the new album. But you’ve also done a lot of duets, such as Bad Boys Get Me Good with Kellie Pickler for example. When you’re approaching a duet is it written as a duet or, if you write it, do you write it as a duet in mind with a person in mind?
It’s different each time. With the Kellie Pickler duet I didn’t write that song as a duet it just turned out it. When it came to ‘this is Kellie and would you like her to oh my gosh sing on your record?’ and I’m like, ‘yes, actually.’ So it came afterwards that that song became a duet and I think it worked pretty perfectly, that song was a duet. But Adam Brand actually wrote Quit This Time so I’m not sure if he actually thought of it when he was writing it. It was originally on his My Side Of The Street album and I’ve always wanted to do a duet with Adam. He approached me to do that so I was like, ‘yay!’ Then we went on the road and we performed it every night and it became a really big part of my journey for the last couple of years so it felt really weird not having it on the record so I was like ‘we have to put this song on the record’ because that tour with Adam was such a big part of the past couple of years of my life. I’m glad it got to be on there.
What about I’ll Try Anything with Joe Nichols, How did that one come about?
That one I didn’t actually write that song. I met Joe in 2009 now, it’s quite a while ago when I toured with him. When it came to ‘would you like to do a duet?’ I thought, ‘yes, why not have Joe Nichols on’ because I’ve always loved his voice. I thought maybe our voices would match. It was great to be able to perform that live with him even though hes’ like 6’3 and I’m like not quite that.
I’m quite short too and the problem with being short is that you’re always labelled as being short.
It’s funny though because I guess there are people who are like ‘Oh my God Jasmine is so short!’ but with girls it’s okay to be that little bit smaller. I did wear big heels though so it’s all good. Power to the shorties I say! You have to kind of embrace it. Maybe it’s not an age thing but with experience, like I’m feeling much more comfortable in my skin, you know, just who I am. I’m a little bit crazy, I say really stupid jokes and I’m short and whatever and I like really cheesy television shows. I watch Dr Phil pretty much everyday. I’m just embracing who I am and not trying to be something that I’m not. And yeah, I’m short. I definitely can’t hide it so I may as well have fun with it.
Heartbeat is out May 15th by Universal.
For more on Jasmine and tour dates, please go to http://www.jasminerae.com.au
Originally posted at the AU review