New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

R&B star Yasmina on her new EP ‘the process’

The singer-songwriter and NYU student’s newest project highlights a newfound sense of authenticity and creative control.
Natalia Kempthorne-Curiel
(Courtesy Photo by Natalia Kempthorne-Curiel)

Yasmina has flourished as a rising star in the R&B scene. Her steady stream of singles and EPs released in recent years have gained her a sizable following online, especially her 2020 single “No Luv 4 Tha ‘Ville” which racked up nearly 800,000 streams on Spotify. Her rapid growth has even caught the eyes of R&B superstar Mahalia, which led to her performing in the coveted Mahalia Presents concert series along with some of the hottest musicians in the genre right now, Nia Sultana and Alia Kadir. 

Yasmina’s newest forthcoming four-track EP, “the process,” released on Oct. 13, and the EP’s first single, “funny girl,” released back in September. This project marked a new beginning for her as an artist, as she involved herself in aspects such as producing and directing. Yasmina sat down with WSN, while stationed in NYU London, to talk about her new musical project. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

WSN: What does your new EP, “the process,” mean to you?

Yasmina: I named it ‘the process’ because that saying was coming up a lot in my life. As an artist, I used to be very focused on the destination and where it was that I was supposed to end up. I know from talking to my friends, being an arts major, that that’s something we’ve all done. Just by going through school, NYU professors have taught me that it’s not really about the destination, but rather the process of getting to that place because the destination will always change. The process of growing up, being who you are and coming into your own person is what I wanted to encapsulate with the EP. 

WSN: I know you were more involved in the producing side of this album, what was it like having more control over that aspect of your music?

Yasmina: My brother is the person who would produce all my tracks, so we always had that sort of collaboration going. I would come to him with a song and he would know right then and there what we would do with this and that. That was just the process of how we would make music. With this EP I wanted to change that and become more involved to have my voice heard more. I feel really good about it.

WSN: What were some of the inspirations behind your new pre-release single “funny girl?” 

Yasmina: It’s really about my best friend. We had a night together, before leaving for Christmas break where it was just us in our dorm room. I remember just breaking out into song, and she told me to write that down. So I did. And it became “funny girl.” It’s about how she has the ability to pull me out of dark places because she’s so funny and I can trust her. It’s mostly about female friendship.

WSN: You’ve lived in New York all your life, how has being a student at NYU changed your perspective as a musician?

Yasmina: I think New York is the greatest city of all time. And I’m not just saying that because I’m from here. I think there’s an energy in New York that can’t be replicated anywhere else, or at least I haven’t found that energy anywhere else yet. I also think it goes back to experiences I’ve created with friends and professors. I love hanging out with my professors after class, and one of the songs off of the new EP called “corey’s song” is actually named after a professor.  I wrote it for a class. My professor’s name is Corey, and everyone would be like “Did you finish your Corey song today? How’s the Corey song coming along?”

WSN: What has changed in your musical processes as you progressed throughout your career?

Yasmina: I released my first single in 2018 when I was a sophomore in high school. It was not honest at all. I wrote it when I was 12, and I recorded it when I was 13. I released it when I was 15 because I was so eager to put something out. It was basically me saying “My heart’s broken, I hate everyone, ugh.” Like, girl, you haven’t even had your first kiss yet, shut up. I think it all comes down to honesty. As I’ve grown up, I’ve cared less about lying. It’s cool to lie sometimes in music, but again it’s also cool to just be honest. 

WSN: What advice do you have for other young women like you who want to start a music career?

Yasmina: Whether you’re a painter, actor or singer, as an artist we’re told so many times that we have to care about what others think. In a sense, we do have to care since they are the ones buying the product. But also, you have to care a little bit more about how you feel about the process of making it, which ties back to the title of the EP. Like how does this make you feel? Why do you want to say the things that you’re saying? It’s not to say that you should care less about other people, but care less about ways you might be judged. Do it if it will bring you joy and you feel the need to say what you have to say. Trust the process. 

Contact Alan Zhang at [email protected].

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