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Fresh off their journey to the final round of MTV's Top Pop Group, JAZMIN talks to APA about sisterhood, reality TV, and lessons learned from industry professionals.
Felicia, Celia, Nadia and Daria are four sisters from Los Angeles, California that make up JAZMIN. Growing up together in a strict household, the daughters of a preacher and piano teacher, they would channel their creative energy by singing and dancing. Some of their idols include The Supremes, Jackson 5, The Temptations, Destiny's Child, Aaliyah, TLC, and Janet Jackson.
JAZMIN recently gained nation-wide exposure on MTV's Top Pop Group. After an extensive nationwide search, they were among nine groups that were competing for a $100,000 prize and title of Top Pop Group. By competing in the pop genre, JAZMIN was challenged to reach outside their comfort zones, which lean more towards Hip Hop/R&B, Motown, and acapella blends. Each week, the girls worked with veterans in the industry, such as Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child), Taboo (Black Eyed Peas), Brian Friedman (renowned choreographer), Eve, Ashanti, Keri Hilson and Omarion. They beat out most of the competition and made it into the finals
Writer Kristie Hang got a chance to chat with JAZMIN in an email interview and ask them about their MTV experience and plans for the future.
APA: Congratulations on doing so well on the competition. JAZMIN has been doing really well -- i.e. getting on MTV, appearing on America's Got Talent, Star Tomorrow, etc. How does it feel to be getting recognition in the community?
JAZMIN: (Nadia) We are very blessed to have these opportunities as we juggle singing with work and school. After MTV, we realized that this is definitely what we want to do, and we are trying to go full speed ahead as a full-time artists.
(Felicia) When we get recognized in the community, it gives us a sense of accomplishment. Because of this, we are able to book more shows and gain more credibility. When we get recognized in the street, we are so grateful for our new fans, and we are amazed that we have stood out to them as Asian American artists. We just want to inspire other Asian American artists as well.
APA: What type of responses have you guys been getting from fans? Any interesting encounters?
JAZMIN: (Felicia) We have been getting amazing responses from fans, whether it is through MySpace or in person. Little girls have come up to us, saying that they look up to us as role models and that we are an inspiration. That's just surreal to us, and it's a great feeling. We have also had some interesting encounters with people recognizing us at the mall, at clubs, at Ralphs, at Disneyland... etc. We remember taking a picture in front of the Golden Gate Bridge at Disney's California Adventure, and a little boy pointed at us and said, "Hey, it's JAZMIN!" It was pretty funny. Also, since MTV's Top Pop Group was reality TV, they might want to comment on our life story. So that's always interesting to discuss with a complete stranger. We love that we get to share our story though, and it is definitely wonderful to know we are finally taking our first steps toward making a name for ourselves.
APA: Did you guys get to watch the show on TV? Did MTV accurately portray your experience for the reality show?
JAZMIN: (Celia) We were able to watch our show on MTV. They definitely portrayed our sisterhood accurately on the show. We are very close and are basically each others' best friends! We breathe and live for music and would want to do nothing else but sing together for the rest of our lives. As for the song choices on the show, we enjoyed performing the songs that were given to us, but those actually wouldn't be the types of songs we usually sing.
APA: What do you guys thinks makes you different from all the other groups that are out there right now? Is there a special image that JAZMIN is trying to project?
JAZMIN: (Felicia) The first obvious reason that makes us stand out from all the other groups is that we are all sisters. Because we are sisters we have a different kind of blend in our voices when we sing together and harmonize. That also helps us to stay together as a group since we are family. Another reason we are different is that we keep our lyrics clean and fresh. We hope to project a positive image, as that is who we are as people, which we do not see a lot of out there today.
APA: Unlike a lot of the pop groups out there right now, JAZMIN writes their own songs. Where do you guys get the inspiration for that? Is one sister in charge of certain parts of the creative process?
JAZMIN: (Nadia) We write our own music because we have so many experiences in our life to pull from. We get inspiration from our family, friends, background, etc. Daria definitely has a gift in creating melodies and she starts up a lot of ideas. Felicia works a lot with Daria refining song concepts and making sure that everything sounds good and flows correctly musically. Celia and I help with being able to add and edit lyrics along with creating songs of our own.
(Daria) Everyone has a part in the music writing process. We love doing it and hope that we can relate to our audience this way because it always comes from the heart.
APA: On the show, the judges suggested that you guys take your group overseas, possibly to Asia. Do you foresee that in the cards for JAZMIN right now?
JAZMIN: (Daria) Going to Asia is a possibility as no doors are closed for us and we are open to all opportunities. We just want to make great music and be able to reach the world. We are proud of our Chinese American heritage and hope to release an album both in the US and Asia.
APA: Are your parents supportive of this career of yours?
JAZMIN: (Celia) We are very blessed to have supportive parents. It is pretty rare for Asian parents to be supportive of being in the entertainment industry especially in the Chinese culture. Since our mother was a piano teacher, she loves music so, fortunately for us, our parents understand what it means to be an artist and to have a passion for it as much as we do. As long as we are happy singing together as sisters and happy in what we do everyday, they're happy.
APA: How was working with professionals like Michelle Williams, Taboo, Ashanti, Omarion, and Keri Hilson on MTV's Top Pop Group? What advice or pointers did they give you?
JAZMIN: (Daria) Working with the stars on MTV's Top Pop Group was unforgettable. The recurring advice everyone gave was to just be you and stay true to yourself. Michelle stressed to always push harder when it came to performance. Taboo wanted us to incorporate our Chinese Heritage in our music. Omarion and Ashanti were all about confidence and swag on stage. Keri Hilson really wanted us to focus on the fact that we are sisters when it came to singing and loved our tones so she wanted us to capitalize on our harmonies. Everyone had great advice and constructive criticism that we will take with us far into our career. It was amazing to be able to have a chance to talk with successful artists. They have inspired us and we hope to achieve our dream of becoming the first Asian American Pop Group in the US.
APA: What is JAZMIN doing right now, now that the competition is done?
JAZMIN: (Celia) We are currently writing and in the studio recording new songs and are excited to let you hear it. There are also a lot more performances coming up! So please check out our MySpace for upcoming shows and new songs.
(Nadia) Thank you APA for this interview and your interest in JAZMIN. We are excited for the future and hope that you will be there with us!
To find out more about JAZMIN, visit their MySpace page or their MTV profile.
Date Posted: 10/31/2008