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Singer Jasmine Thompson talks with Long Island kids

Singer Jasmine Thompson with Kidsday reporters Dominic Traube,

Singer Jasmine Thompson with Kidsday reporters Dominic Traube, left, Taylor Vicidomine, Antonio Torre and Jessica Biscardi of Jericho Elementary School, Centereach,  at Atlantic Records in Manhattan. Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

Lucky us! We were able to hang out at Atlantic Records in Manhattan recently with British singer Jasmine Thompson.

We talked to her about getting started in the music industry and being able to travel all around the world to perform. We really like her latest EP, "Colour."

What is your favorite part about being a singer?

It’s great that I can do the thing I love every day as my career, but it just means that you know my life is surrounded by music all the time. I like being able to express myself. I like fulfilling lives as well and meeting the people that support my music. Yeah, everything’s very good.

What do you think makes your new album so good?

I feel proud of it because I think that it represents who I am as a person a lot. I spend a very long time just working on every single part of the album, like with the production and topline and the music. I try my best, so I’m quite happy with the way it’s happened.

Of all of your songs which is your favorite, and why? Our favorite is your song “Titanium.”

“Titanium” — thanks. Amazing! Right now, I would probably say “More.” It’s quite a dark song but it becomes very positive towards the end. And it just explains a lot about my personality.

Do all of your songs have a special message?

I’d say so. I think a lot of the songs are mainly, like I have my own meaning behind it for me, but I definitely think that other people can find that other meaning for it. I think it’s quite important others can relate to it because they feel like they’ve got their own story that connects to it.

Where is your favorite place to perform?

I love performing back home in London. I love traveling and I like performing in different places because it’s really cool being able to go to different cities and have people come and see you, but back home in London it just feels really lovely because it’s where I’m from.

Do you play instruments when you sing?

I play piano whenever I do live performances, or sometimes I’ll do guitar. But most of the time at the moment I’ve got two friends who can play violin and cello. Whenever I do live shows they come with me and we’ve made lots of string arrangements. It’s very fun.

Before you go on stage, do you do anything special?

No. Actually, I’m really bad at warming up and doing like important things. My mom used to argue with me all the time. I normally just end up listening to music and sitting down and just kind of zoning out. I try and act focused and I normally end up just running around.

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend most of my time with my friends at my home in London. I’ve got a studio in the back. And most of my friends are musicians as well, so in my free time we will be in the studio and working together or hanging out. I like parks a lot as well. I just go to the park, quite a lot. At least every day, just do like a little walk.

Do you enjoy traveling to New York City?

I do. This time it took ages. It was like a six-hour flight and then three hours from the moment the plane landed and then getting out of the immigration queue. That was very long and very tiring, but once I am in New York, I do enjoy it. I have a couple of friends who grew up with me in London that have moved to New York, so it’s really nice to see them. It’s quite similar to London, but very different at the same time. I also like the fact that you can get a slice of pizza. In London, it’s quite rare. I like the New York City subways as well.

Who influenced you musically?

Musically? My favorite artist was Florence and the Machine. She’s this crazy artist with fiery red hair and she just runs around on stage all the time and has so much energy. ... Ever since I was a little kid I loved her music as well. It’s full of energy and emotion.

Do you get nervous when you sing, and if you do, how do you remain calm?

I always get nervous when I sing. When I do live performances my hands shake so much and it becomes really difficult to play the piano. I don’t really cope with it. I try really hard, but I haven’t really found a way to get over it. Most of the time, I have to like relive through it and soon as I get off stage I’m like I’m finally done now.

Is it fun making music videos?

Yes, I love it. All the music videos I’ve done for the projects I just put out were kind of treatments that I had made so I always got like these little visual ideas for the videos, and sending them off to directors or to labels is really fun. Because you get to start exploring with your ideas with other people and then finally getting it to a point where they can see it on a screen and you upload it to YouTube and you share it and people start commenting. It’s just really lovely having an idea in the back of your head that becomes reality.

How old were you when you knew you wanted to sing?

I started singing when I was around 8. I think I was singing quite a lot before then and just like running around my room and just like posing and going madly. And I started having singing lessons when I was 8.

How did working at a restaurant affect your life?

It made me feel so happy because ever since I was 13, I’ve been very focused on trying to be a successful musician and putting out songs. And then when I took a break, life was a little more simple and it was really refreshing. It gave me enough time to regain my energy and stay more positive. It was really fun. I met very interesting people. I learned how to carry like a stack of glasses like that high and those plates on my arms as well. I got loads of good laughs. It was good.

Have you met many celebrities in the UK?

I’ve met quite a few. That’s quite like a small group of singers and artists who were really friendly and once you’re in that scene and you all go to the same kind of events, you do start kind of remembering that you’ve seen them before. Then you kind of make some small connections. Everyone’s really cool. You do bump into people in London quite often because there’s only a handful of areas that everyone kind of goes to. So if you’re in that area, it’s quite normal that you’ll see people.

Do you see your family in England often?

I do. At the moment I live with my mother and my brother. I see my dad every Sunday. And the rest of my family is quite spread out because they live about maybe two hours away from London. And my mom’s family is over in China so I don’t see them very often. My close family, I see probably every day.

What advice would you give to a younger girl or boy that wants to pursue a singing career?

I would just say make sure that you’re doing it because you actually enjoy it, because it’s something that you feel passionate about. Sometimes music can be very draining. It can be clouded by success and other people telling you what to do. But as long as you know what you want to do, and how you want to do it, then you would do it okay.

Is it hard to be away when you tour?

It’s like a mix of both because for me, I’ve got three cats at home. I have like my whole family and friends that I do love seeing. And with my friends, I literally see them every single day. It is hard being away from them. But I do love traveling around. I’m also fortunate enough to have friends in quite a lot of places. Whenever I am in New York I can see a couple of people. Or in L.A. I can go over and see people that I don’t get the opportunity to see all the time. It’s very fun to explore different places.

Angela Mile's fourth-grade class, Jericho Elementary School, Centereach

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