For our fourth #sheislimitless profile, we interview Jasmin Yada: Copenhagen-based musician, Japanophile, thrift store junky, and self-described ‘Belieber for life.’
Introducing: Copenhagen-based musician, Japanophile, thrift store junky, and ‘Belieber for life’ Jasmin Yada.
Copenhagener Jasmin Yada grew up in a “hippie commune” with her mother, brother, and a diverse community of creative people who introduced her to a wide range of artistic fields, from poetry to painting, handicrafts, and making live music. “Everyday we would eat together and do things together,” explains Yada, “it was like one big family and it’s where I learned to love art and creative expression.” Since her childhood, Jasmin has regularly traveled to Japan and spent time exploring a number of creative paths, including an ongoing passion for making music. From cover bands to electro pop to indie rock, Jasmin says that crafting and performing music is an essential part of her life. “Honestly, I couldn’t go a single day without music. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been playing in different bands,” she says, “I love singing and performing with other people—it’s a creative outlet that really makes me happy.”
This summer, we met up with Jasmin to talk about her love of Japanese anime, the women that inspire her, and, of course...Justin Bieber.
We understand that you’re about to start a new study course. Tell us about that...
Yes, this Fall I’m actually about to start my ‘dream course,’ studying TV and media production with an emphasis on creating content for kids. Through my music, I’ve already learned how to express feelings and tell stories with lyrics and sounds, but now I want to learn to tell stories in visual ways. Kids are so carefree and their imaginations are so amazing, I want to help encourage their creative development by entertaining them with stories that also educate and inspire.
How did you first develop an interest in working with kids and creating ‘edu-tainment?’
Over the years, I’ve had lots of different jobs, but my favorite by far was teaching English to children in Japan. It was a private American school in Tokyo and the student’s native language was obviously Japanese, but, through the use of songs and music, we were able to introduce them to a new new language and open up another world to them. It was such an incredible experience. That’s where it all started for me.
What are some favorite kids films / TV shows from your own childhood?
Growing up, my favorite Danish TV show was called Bullerfnis (originally aired 1990 - 1992), it was a sweet and funny show that used a lot of flashbacks and vintage footage to explain life back in the 1960s and 70s, when the hosts were growing up. Also, all the songs from that era were so catchy, which also appealed to me. Since my mom is Japanese, I also grew up with lots of Japanese cartoons. I still love Hayao Miyazaki’s films (Tortoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke), which are all so amazing and magical. Miyazaki’s way of telling stories and creating universes is so inspiring because it’s clear that his only limitation is his own imagination. This is a really good reminder for my own creative work, as I don’t want to limit my own ideas because they seem unrealistic or too strange.
Speaking of ‘limitations,’ what does the concept of limitless idea mean to you personally?
To me, being limitless means not letting obstacles stop you from what you really want to do. In my life, for example, it’s been a challenge to get into my study program. Honestly, it was hard: I had to apply three years in a row, take several exams, and do interviews...I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to work out. Then, this year, I was finally offered a placement. I think this experience is a good reminder of the value of persistence. I didn’t give up on a dream, I just kept moving forward and staying positive.
The #sheislimitless campaign is all about the women that inspire us. Who are some women in your life that inspire you?
There are a lot of women that inspire me, honestly, but a few who are really inspiring me at the moment are my three bosses at the production company where I work. They are all super independent, beautiful inside and out, and passionate about what they do. I love women who are not afraid to speak their minds, who are confident in themselves, and who don’t try to look or act in a specific way just because it is expected of them.
Speaking of passionate women, you have a passion for skateboarding, right—where did you pick that hobby up?
Ha! Well, I’m not really ‘a skater,’ like, I can’t do any tricks with the board. But, it’s true, I do love cruising around the city while listening to music. It’s something that always clears my head and relaxes me. After high school, I lived in Tokyo for two and a half years and I used to love to walk around and explore the city. Oftentimes, I would end up at a skatepark, watching skaters do tricks and then I became friends with some of them. That’s when I got my own board and learned how to ride.
Your time in Japan seems to have had a big influence on you. What’s something about Tokyo that you really love?
Yeah, I usually visit Japan once a year to visit family and friends. While I’m there, I always have to visit a few thrift shops, which have the most unique clothes, shoes, and bags. In fact, a lot of my clothes come from these second hand shops in Japan, places like chicago, Kinji, Ragtag and Flamingo. But, my absolute favorite shops are the ones outside of the city, in the countryside towns. You have to invest some time sifting through a lot of junk, but often times this is where you find the best items.
I bet you come across some amazing sneakers while you’re thrifting in Japan?
Sometimes, sure. Like most people, I love sneakers because they are so comfortable and because they go with almost everything. But, frankly, with my short legs, I wish sneakers came with high heels so I would seem a bit taller.
Okay, last question: as a musician, who are some of the bands or artists that are influencing and inspiring you right now?
I know it’s kind of cliche to say this, but I listen to everything. Seriously, I enjoy almost every kind of music. Right now, I’m listening to Jack White a lot. Also, J Hus and Banks. But my all time musical crush is Justin Beiber—I just adore him and his music.
So, you’re a true ‘Belieber’ then?
Absolutely, one hundred percent—a ‘Belieber’ for life!