Have you ever wondered what makes life what it is? For us it is definitely hearing unique stories about people. We do not only get inspired, but we also generate a deep connection on a human level based on the simple act of empathy.
Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Yasmin was forced to flee to the UK with her family at a very young age, after her family home was attacked during the Sierra Leone blood diamond conflict. Amidst all that turmoil, Yasmin used music to express herself. “Growing up in Africa, you don’t really have a voice, especially as a female”, Yasmin recollects. “You always had to suppress how you felt and your opinions didn’t really matter to a certain extent, so I was determined naturally as I got older to just speak my mind”, and that is exactly what she has done, finding a voice through her music.
Yasmin! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. How are you today?
Hey all at Hope Through Music! I’m very good thanks.
You were born in Sierra Leone and had to flee to the UK at a very young age. You found your way to express yourself through music. Do you remember the first memory you have that is connected to music?
Yes, my dad loved playing music, especially on Sunday mornings. It just gave me a feeling like no other. I loved how music made me feel and the best way I can describe it is… I felt like I was eating the music. It was so satisfying. It literally put me on the highest of highs.
Your own music is described as afro beat pop; would you say growing up in Africa inspired or still inspires your own music?
Absolutely. The UK and Sierra Leone is the heartbeat of my music and really influences the lyrics and the sounds I create today. I was born in Freetown and I grew up there. My appreciation and inspiration for music started of from the early days my dad played music on those Sunday mornings. So I guess it all leads back to my roots in Sierra Leone.
In 2016, you headlined the Women of the World festival at the Southbank in London and you also charted at #1 on iTunes Ireland for your single “Earthquake” which is such an incredible success. How do you handle your success yourself and how to you the pressure and expectations that come along with it?
To be 100% honest, I don’t look at what I do as a success. I don’t measure it like that or in that sense. In fact I feel uncomfortable to think of it like that. My main focus is on the music and hopefully the small differences it makes in peoples lives, like giving hope and hopefully inspiring. My focus is to be as open and honest as I can about my feelings, dreams, fears and even insecurities, to let others know they are not alone. My focus is also to make people feel good about them selves, accept, love and cherish who they are and not try and be anyone else.
The mission of our website is bringing people together with the power of music and letting them share a story to a song that is connected to something special in their life as a song that helped someone might be able to help someone else too. Is there a specific song that helped you and would you mind sharing the story?
My story in short is of a bare footed refugee surviving a war and trying to hopefully make a positive difference in the world through her art. One of the songs that get me through when things get tough is ‘You Gotta Be’ by Des’ ree. And even though I don’t follow one particular religion, I strongly believe in God and ‘Say Yes’ by Michelle Williams is another favourite to get me through.
Do you use other artistic expressions next to music and in your opinion, what makes music so unique?
I’m also an actress and have done work for Fox TV, BBC, Universal Channel etc so I get the opportunity to express my self through that medium. Making music is unique for me because I get to express my self as Yasmin Kadi and talk about issues that matter to me and lives around me.
It seems like one the one side there are people who say music saved my life while on the other, people deny that music itself has not the ability to save someone. Would you mind sharing your own opinion on this?
Everyone is different and have different experiences, so different people relate differently. Music like a lot of other art form evokes emotions. It presents moments that people can relate to or things that people have gone through in life. So at the end if the final message from the presentation is ‘have hope, you are not alone’, that could be a life saving moment for a lot of us. I personally cannot live without music so I guess I could say it is a life saver at times for me, because it picks me up when I’m down, it gives me hope and it brings me down at times also, because it can be thought provoking and very emotional.
Before we come to an end. Is there anything you would like to say to people who are struggling at the moment?
Remember what ever you are going through right now, it is just that – you are ‘Going Through’ it will come to end. Also, don’t be ashamed to ask for help and allow yourself to be emotional and express if you need to. Everyone cries and it’s OK to not be OK. Don’t be too hard on yourself, have hope, just be you, surround yourself with positive people and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience called life, because it’s not a dress rehearsal.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time!
You are very welcome xx