Jasmyne Middleton

Jasmyne Middleton has released her third single Separation Altitude, which is a pensive, soulful track that features the acoustic guitar stylings of Melbourne up and comer Domenic Carrubba, the rapped and sung vocals of Sydney based hip hop artist Desiiya. Separation Altitude is an exploration of both the sadness and acceptance that can come of a relationship that’s run its course, conveying these themes of love and loss through romantic acoustic guitar and evolving vocal soundscapes.

The song was lyrically inspired by the concept of separation in aeronautics, in which a minimum distance must be maintained to avoid collision, and the instrumentation and arrangement were kept simple and raw to reflect emotions of grief, acceptance, and release. The track was recorded during Melbourne’s second lockdown and produced by Domenic Carrubba in his home studio. Jasmyne tells Hi Fi Way more about the single.

How did you celebrate Christmas and how will/did you bring in New Year’s?
I was looking forward to seeing my family in Sydney for the first time this year but the border closed the week before Christmas, so it was a quiet one at home with my husband and our dogs this year. Our New Year’s Eve was pretty quiet too, just the two of us making pierogi and watching the fireworks on telly.

How did you celebrate Christmas and how will/did you bring in New Year’s?
You could say that! Lockdown, while necessary, was hard: I haven’t had a gig since March and my plans to start teaching singing and performance went right out the window. Still, I tried to make the best of my enforced free time by releasing music and working on my home-recording skills. Plus, I had some music transcription work come my way from students who were preparing for their graduating recitals, so at least it wasn’t a totally idle iso!

Is there anything you have learnt about yourself this year that you will keep doing heading in to 2021?
I think the main thing I’ve learned this year is how to adapt so that I can keep working towards my goals when my initial plans fall through. Pre-COVID I had put together a show to launch my debut single, New, and I’d planned to have a whole EP recorded with my band by the end of the year. None of that worked out but I was able to learn a bit about vocal tracking, promotion, and making my own demos, and, with some help, this year I released three singles I’m really proud of. I’d definitely like to keep that up in 2021.

What is the story behind the single Separation Altitude?
Separation Altitude was a phrase I heard on an old episode of Stargate, of all things! I couldn’t get it out of my head: it’s a bit of a mouthful but it just felt so descriptive. It’s actually an aviation term that refers to maintaining a distance between two aircrafts in order to avoid collision, among other things, which led me to write a break-up song about two people who just couldn’t make it work. Something about the simple harmony and swung 16th groove of the track made me feel like a rap verse would work nicely so I put a quick demo together last year and sent it to my brother, who’s a hip-hop artist based in Sydney, and asked him to write something. Later, I went up and tracked his vocals. I didn’t have a chance to work on it again until the second lockdown in Melbourne, when I sent all my demos and ideas to my good friend, musician and producer Domenic Carrubba. He produced the gorgeous instrumental, over which I tracked my own vocals, and then finished the song off with his beautiful lead guitar parts.

What do you look for in a collaboration?
I love to collaborate with people who love their own music and actively work to hone their craft. Whether that means they take pride in creating clever turns of phrase in their lyrics or they spend hours refining a synth sound until it’s perfect, I find that kind of focus and care exciting and motivating to be around.

How would you describe your sound?
I find it difficult to pin down exactly how to describe my own music – ain’t that always the way! – because my influences are varied and I’ve pretty much internalised them at this point. I tend to write my lyrics first and then take elements from RnB, rock, and jazz that serve the story of the song. I think my lyricism and vocal delivery helps my music sound cohesive, and I strive to make my songs sound like they could have been performed live. I also really love arranging my songs in a way that leaves space for my instrumentalists to get creative: improvisation is one of my favourite things about live performance and I want it in my songs.

What artists/ bands do you look up to?
Guy Garvey, Björk, Leonard Cohen, Billie Holiday, Kimbra, Mo’Ju, Fiona Apple, Mike Patton, Ahmad Jamal, The Dresden Dolls, Minnie Ripperton, Kate Miller-Heidke, Janelle Monae, and Moses Sumney.

Are you building towards an album/ EP?
Definitely! I have all the songs ready for an EP, it’s just a matter of getting the funding together to record it, which I’m working on.

How much are you looking forward to playing shows over the summer?
Honestly, I don’t have anything lined up at this stage. Everything feels really tentative and unstable, gig-wise. I really do miss performing though, and I’m looking into live-streaming; a bit late to the party, I know, but tech has never been a strength of mine!

What’s next for Jasmyne Middleton?
I’m super keen to get into the studio and record my EP. Some of these songs are years old and some of them I wrote during lockdown; all of them are burning a hole in my pocket! I’m also looking forward to some very interesting collabs, although we’re only in the initial stages at the moment. Finding a way to fit live performance back into my life is high up in my priorities, as well.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Connect with Jasyme Middleton
Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Spotify

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