We Are S.M.E


Aged just 21, Yasmin Shahmir posseses incredible talent and is one of Britain’s most promising female artists.

Yasmin was born in Manchester and raised in Glasgow, but it was the city of London which would prove to be the turning point in her life and provide her with the exposure she sought.

Having moved to London at the age of 19 in order to pursue her DJing career, she soon received the recognition she deserved; going on to DJ for the likes of N*E*R*D, Taio Cruz and Eve.

Off the back of her success in DJing, Yasmin decided to pursue a career in singing, and went on to sign a record deal with Levels Entertainment (part of Ministry of Sound). She has since supported Example on his UK tour, featured on the song ‘Runaway’ with East London’s finest MC; Devlin and most recently went on to release her debut single ‘On My Own’ which charted at #39; an impressive achievement for a debut record. Yasmin is also currently working on her debut album with the likes of Jamie XX, Labrinth and Shy FX.

Having seen her tear of the roof dropping endless Hip-Hop bangers during her DJ set at Rock The Belles, we were eager to talk Yasmin and find out if in fact there is anything that this girl can’t do?
Our wish was granted and here’s what we asked the beautiful singer/DJ/model/superwoman. The last one on that list isn’t entirely true; at least as far as we know!

Tell me a little bit about your DJing career; something I was completely unaware of until your ridiculous set at East Village the other week!

I’m just a massive fan of music and have always listened to it loads. At the age of 17 I had a good friend who was a DJ and I used to go along with him to hang out in the DJ both and got really into it. I kept nagging him, asking to play certain records and one night he went to the toilet and asked me to cover for him until he got back. As soon as I did that I caught the buzz.

I was at University in Glasgow at the time and gradually became less interested in my course and more interested in music. And then 1Xtra got in touch with me through my MySpace page. They’re always looking for young female DJ’s and just having their interest made me want to move to London and pursue it.

Do you think it’s harder for girls to break into the industry?

I’ve had girls get in touch with me and tell me how hard it is and how no one is giving them an opportunity, but if you constantly focus on how difficult it is to break into the industry, it’s always going to be difficult. I was always positive and that has always been my attitude. I never focus on how difficult things because you can end up being your own worst enemy.

You’ve got to create your own destiny; I was very proactive and I still am. I’m a hustler! But there’s a very thin line between being proactive and being a pest so you have to be very perceptive of people.

You moved to London, am I right in saying you left Uni in the process? What did your parents have to say when you told them you were sacking off your degree to pursue a career in DJing?

They were pissed! My dad’s Iranian; he moved over from Iran at the age of 19 and got a scholarship at Manchester Uni doing accountancy. He flew straight over, did a degree in his second language, then got a masters and he’s still doing exams for various qualifications now, so that’s all he knows; you go to school, Uni and then you get a job.

Also, my family aren’t musical; we don’t play instruments or perform. And at that time, all I was doing was DJing and they had never seen me do it so all they knew was what I had told them. Even when I got a manager and started recording the album, they didn’t get it until they started seeing me in magazines or doing T.V and radio shows. They weren’t angry, I think it was just concern.

Do you miss running your Bad Intentions club night?

Well it’s still going but I haven’t planned another one yet. I knew I wanted to do a club night so I got the flyer designed, liaised with the venue and got the promotion done online all by myself, but now I’m so busy my management keep asking if I need help. But that would give the whole night a different vibe; I want to control it all myself because it really felt like a house party and everyone was just coming to hang out.

Is that where you predominantly DJ’d? And where did Pharell spot you?

No, I played all over London really. I’d met N*E*R*D a few times on the circuit and they had a show at the Roundhouse in November 2008 so I got in touch with the events company handling it. There was no support on, so I asked if I could DJ and they said yes.

The following year they were in London for 3 months and before they were heading home Pharel threw a private party and he asked me to DJ again. And from that Eve had the same manager and he approached me saying they were looking for a DJ and I would be perfect. I got to travel all over the world!

When did you start singing and what prompted the change in your focus?

I’ve always enjoyed singing and I’ve always written lyrics and little melodies, but it was more of a hobby while I lived in Glasgow. Then when I moved to London, I met so many people and made loads of contacts that I confided in and asked to listen to my music. Their response was great and they told me I should give it a go. It really gave me the confidence to pursue it.

You’re single charted at #39 last night; you must be delighted to get a Top 40 hit with your debut single?

I’m really happy, because like you said it’s the first single. It’s weird because there’s nothing tangible; nobody gives you a certificate to say where you are in the chart, you just know you are and can see if on a computer screen. It’s really weird!

Did you do the cliché thing of gathering your friends and family together to listen to the Official Chart countdown?

No I was on my own…no pun intended!

You’re working on your debut album; have you given it a title or a release date yet?

We don’t have an official date yet but it’s going to be released some time during the summer. And as for a name; I’m a bit indecisive. I feel like I can’t name the album until it’s finished because I’ll just end up writing an amazing song with an amazing title and immediately regretting the choice.

I have an album worth of material but I’ve still got a few more songs that I’d like to make. There are few more things that I want to say and beats I want to hear on it so I think I’m going to do 4 more tracks to either add to what I have or select from.

Are there going to be any features on the album?

Definitely, one or 2. I won’t think about them until the last song though, because I want my album to be strong enough on its own. And the whole urban culture says you HAVE to have features, but I want it the other way round and only have a couple. And I don’t want to go for obvious ones either.

Tell me a little bit more about the 1Xtra Homegrown Debate you took part in last night.

We discussed urban music as a whole and whether it’s just a fad or if it’s going to be tomorrow’s legacy. We had Labrinth, Donaeo, Lethal B, Mz Bratt and Wretch 32 all in the studio so it was interesting to hear the different opinions around the table.

Do you think 2011 will be even more important for UK music as 2010 was?

Yeah. You’ve got the likes of Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Bluey, Wretch 32 all breaking through this year and all the rest of the artists coming through the urban scene are so individual, unique and have their own integrity.

There’s always going to be the manufactured and produced stuff; off the top of my head there’s 5 put together girl bands coming out this year alone and that’s crazy. That’s a lot of girl bands at once, so I’m just curious to see how that traditional pop industry way holds up against the influx of artists that are young and have made their own career through working hard. I can’t predict what will happen.

Do you think there is still an appeal for manufactured bands and talent shows?

There will always be people into that pure pop sound and that whole lifestyle, but I think at the end of the day, people want their artists to have integrity and have a story to tell. For example, Ed Sheeran has been sleeping on people’s sofas for years; he even slept on the streets. Now that’s much more interesting story than ‘I went to an audition and got into a band’.

We talked about the whole X-Factor thing and like Labrinth said; these people want to be singers not artist. They’re happy to have songs given to them; it’s such a different journey. The reality is someone like Ed was sleeping on sofas and the grind never stops for him, whereas on XFactor you get cabs to take you everywhere, nice hotels, the best vocal coach and the best producers all put on a plate for you.
I don’t think people on X-Factor want to be credible artists; they just want to be singers or performers. I’m not knocking their journey in the slightest; it will just be interesting to see how the public respond now.

It’s exciting and no matter where my singles or album charts, I’m just excited to be making music right now. I think that in a 10 years time we will talk about 2010/11 as a historical moment in UK music so I’m just glad to play a small part in that.

What do you think has contributed most to the resurgence of the music industry?

Social Networking. I don’t remember the exact stats but single sales have risen considerably over this year and I think that’s because of Social Networking. If you’re buying someone’s single you can tell them or send them a picture and they can respond to thank you.  And if you follow them on twitter, you might have got to know their character a little which makes you want to support that person more.

Also; recently I’m really interested in Ellie Goulding for example. So I went on Spotify to listen to her, got really into her music and ended up buying her album. So there are things like Spotify now, where you have the opportunity to listen to music before you buy it and therefore don’t run the risk of being disappointed having spent your money.

Thanks for the insight, we’re sure the debate will continue and it will be interesting to see what 2011 holds for the music industry. Before we leave you, were going to fire a few quick questions at you.


Night out with the girls or night in with the boyfriend?

I don’t have a boyfriend so it would have to be a night out with the girls. Actually no I want a night i

Takeaway or Eat In?

Eat In

Tequila or Sambuca?


London or Glasgow?


RnB or Hip-Hop?


Reasonable Doubt or The Black Album?

Reasonable Doubt every time.

Mariah Carey or Beyonce?

Woahhhhh! That’s a tough one. I’ll go with Beyonce.

On the mic or on the decks?

Both. In tandem.

What does your tattoo say on wrist?

It’s Latin for ‘Lovers are Lunatics’.

Yasmin’s second single ‘Finish Line’ is released on 8th May 2011. You can preview the track HERE.

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on tickets, you can catch her supporting Chase & Status on their sold out UK tour in March.

Yasmin will also be supporting Eliza Doolittle on her Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle tour dates for which you can buy tickets HERE.


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[…] most recent interviewee, Yasmin has released the video to her new single Finish Line; the follow-up to her Top 40 debut single On […]

Pingback by [FRESH VIDEO] Yasmin – Finish Line « We Are S.M.E

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