Let's Chat: Yazmindi's ode to Far-North-Queensland

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

BIO

Listening to newcomer Yazmindi's single Avocado Latte, it is impossible to not think - WOW.


A Waif's at their best like chorus to sing along to for days, and a melting vocal that gives you the shivers.


Read our introduction to the young artist here, as she shares her knowledge, influencing through her thoughtful approach to establishing an already impressive music career.


Having visited Austin for SXSW and been given an apprenticeship in blasting off and industry knowledge, Yazmindi is here for keeps. Young artists take head. And roots music lovers - drink up. This Avocado Latte is served chilled, with plenty of sarcasm. Just for our thirsty ear holes.


Stream the tune here, about experiences working in a cafe while stuck in Melbourne. If you are not in love with what Yazmindi can do before it's finished: I don't believe you.


How old are you?

I am 23 years young!


Please tell us about your musical icons.

There are too many to choose from so I always get overwhelmed with this question! I literally love all kinds of music so my taste is diverse with all different genres. Definitely Kasey Chambers, Dido, Missy Higgins, Norah Jones, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lorde, GiIlian Welch, Ani DiFranco, KT Tunstall, Ed Sheeran, Bjork, Sade and Erykah Badu since I grew up listening and learning their music from a young age.


I also grew up going to heaps of folk festivals as my parents were performers and music lovers so I LOVE the Aus music scene like The Waifs, Mia Dyson, Abbie Cardwell, OKA, Kooii, Courtney Barnett, Kimbra and Fat Freddy's Drop. I will never forget seeing Fleetwood Mac live by myself in grade 12, it was magical, Stevie Nicks is a huge icon.


I love rock music and loved seeing some of these legends live like AC/DC, INXS, Foo Fighters, Amyl and the Sniffers, The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joan Jett, Pink Floyd and Nirvana. Legends like Freddy Mercury, Elton John, The Police, The Specials, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Janis joplin, The Sex Pistols, The Beatles, Biggie Smalls, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young are big icons too. Apologies if this list is too long!


What about the non-musical ones?

Australian icon Tana Douglas definitely has to be up there, she was the very first female roadie in the world back in the 70's and cut her teeth in the industry while climbing to the top with Aussie bands like AC/DC, INXS and international artists Neil Diamond, Suzi Quatro, Elton John and Patti Smith. Back when being a chick on the road was unheard of and surviving in the all-male world was tough, I am currently reading her book 'Loud' at the moment and she inspires me to keep going and work hard.


Florence Given is my favourite young feminist and author to follow right now plus she cracks me up online. She is definitely leading the way for the next generation of young feminists to rise up and I love her 'don't give a f***' attitude, she keeps it real and says it how it is! Plus her fashion style is insanely groovy, I'd love to go vintage shopping with her in London oneday.

I love Frida Kahlo and her story. Her art is amazing, vibrant and uplifting and I feel like she was quite before her time. She was very empowering while still being relevant to this day. I enjoyed going down south in the USA to the small towns on the Mexican border as her art and spirit is still hugely celebrated and iconic.


I look up to Brené Brown and learn so much from her podcasts and books.


Growing up I have done a lot of self growth and leadership, a couple years ago when I was 21, I went over to Chicago, USA to help host a Youth Self Development kids camp which was an amazing experience. Never stop working on yourself.


David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg are climate activists who are doing incredible things for our world. Major icons! I remember as a family getting excited and snuggling up together in the loungeroom to watch David's latest documentaries. So glad we have someone like Greta who is following in his footsteps.


Who loves your music?

My fanbase are music lovers from young to old, any demographic.


My songwriting is moving from young adolescent to young adult so I think people around my age would really relate to my songwriting experiences and I aim to inspire young women especially. I have moved around so much so I have fans all along the east coast down to Melourne and in the USA from performing over there, who I still get messages from today.


Use three words to describe your sound.

Authentic, Earnest, Passionate. Someone described me as 'The Missy Higgins of our generation' which I loved.


What is the story behind your latest single?

Avocado Latte is an ode to Far North Queensland, a fun gorgeous song about missing home that I think anyone can relate to. I wrote it when I first moved to the city a few years ago when I was 19, moving from a rural town to the city was a huge change for me. If you smile and say hello in public people think you're crazy and avoid you, whereas in a small town everyone says hello when walking past.


I was working at a Melbourne cafe at the time when the big Avocado Latte trend happened which I thought was hilarious. Lots of the city slickers judged me for being from QLD and put me in their box of stereotypes. So what did I do? I wrote a song about the Melbourne city stereotypes such as vegans, coffee and hipsters.

It's a tongue in cheek song that I recorded when I left Melbourne last year to come back home to the north during the pandemic, recorded with legendary producer Mark Myers (The Middle East band) in the Atherton Tablelands. It's a FNQ anthem that I think would work great on a tourism ad as I'm sure everyone wants to travel up north for a holiday after these crazy lockdowns.


What is your approach to song writing?

From my experience you can't force songwriting or art, it needs to come naturally in a moment of inspiration, urge and emotions. I find I write my best songs when I travel or move to a new environment. I rarely write at home in a familiar place as there are too many distractions and memories, I need to be surrounded by new settings and people.


For example when I went over and lived in Austin Texas for a few months for my music, the songs just poured out of me. I wrote some of my best music over there while being engrossed in their amazing music culture.


Voice Memos and Notes on my phone are my best friend.


I have hundreds of random recordings of lyrics or melodies that I think of at the moment and need to record so I don't forget it. These can come in handy for the future when I've got songwriters block and can elaborate on something I already have. I still have recordings on there from when I was 15 which is fun to listen back to. Sometimes the lyrics come first as a poem and then the melody on my guitar, or sometimes I come up with a cool guitar riff and the lyrics follow. I enjoy writing with my piano too.


Where do you see yourself in now in your career?

I have been performing and writing music now for 10 years, since I was 13, so I feel I have nailed the live show performance and stage confidence side. Right now I see myself as a young hard working DIY artist who is constantly learning so much about the music industry business side and have realised that I am literally running a small business.


There is so much more to it than I thought and I constantly need to wear many different hats. Being self managed and independent, I now feel that I am taking control with my music and putting my goals into action and finally asking for help and guidance from those who have the knowledge and can help me get to where I want to go. Since all of the admin work takes up most of my time, I would love to get a manager next year so I can focus more on the songwriting and touring side.


My top priorities right now are releasing my new singles from my debut album before it gets released next year. There is a strategy to it all which I am prioritising to do properly so my music gets out the best way. Finalising my album artwork, photo shoots, making film clips and getting my first Yazmindi band together to go on an album tour are things I look forward to prioritising next year. I have never done these things before so it will be exciting.

Finishing my Event Management Diploma is a big priority right now so I can put on my own cool events as well as perform in them and help other aspiring artists like myself. I have recently relocated to Byron Bay and am getting hugely involved with the Byron Youth Service centre so I am keen to put on music workshops for youth and volunteer my time at the community events. I am in the midst of organising my very first crowdfunding campaign of raising $15,000 for my album release, and have been busy busking around town raising funds and spreading the word. Since it took me four years to save for the $13,000 recording of my album, I would appreciate any donations to put towards the release. Stay tuned as I will launch it in Feb with some cool rewards!


Tell us about your favourite live show moment

There are so many special moments on stage and also some that aren't so special, for example when I fell off the stage at the Urban Country Music Festival in Caboolture. I slipped while wearing my big cowgirl boots mid song then broke my string. Don't worry, I completely winged it, landed on my feet and the crowd cheered in relief.


My most favourite live moment was when I had my very first gig at South by Southwest in Austin Texas when I was 16 and underage, only allowed in as a performer, and with my mum onside. It was at One-2-One Bar right in the heart of Austin and I was playing my original songs on Robyn Ludwicks show with her amazing band. I had never rehearsed with her band before let alone never meeting them beforehand, only sent them Mp3's of my songs before I flew over.

As I started playing my songs the band joined in, it was the very first time I had a backing band play live on my songs and I immediately got goosebumps. These guys played my songs perfectly and with a really soulful groove sound that only professional muso's from Austin could do. Having a blues organ and funky percussion on my songs brought them to life and made me sing so strong and with passion. I was so impressed with the genuine professional musicianship that is in Austin, no ego's just pure good quality music. At the very end after I finished, Robyn said onstage in her strong Texas twang accent "16 year old Yazmindi all the way from Australia everyone!!" The crowd cheered, my mum was so proud and I was so chuffed, I remember thinking this is what I am going to do for the rest of my life.


Where can people find out about you and keep in touch with what you are up to

On my website Yazmindimusic.com, Facebook and Instagram page. I will start a mailing list soon so send me an email at yazmindimusic@gmail.com if you'd like to join!


How did your time in Austin, Texas help your musical growth and journey?

IMMENSELY. Taking a month off school while being school captain in grade 12 was the best musical blessing for me. I was exposed to a whole other side of music over there.


Being mentored by Robyn Ludwick and her band about the industry made me realise that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

Robyn took me under her wing and made me try new things such as collaborating with other artists, doing live radio performances, making film clips, publishing, distribution, music business generally. We also co-wrote a song together that got picked up in Nashville which was really exciting as I had never co-written before.


It was so bizarre going from performing at SXSW and being respected by professional musicians over there, to then coming back to Aus and still needing to complete grade 12 while doing gigs on the weekend.

I just remembered feeling depressed wanting to be in Austin doing my music rather than sitting at my desk learning algebra. BUT that desire made me make a goal to go back over when I was 18, which I did, to perform at SXSW again and record my song 19.


Spending time in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, helped me understand what musicianship is all about and how important the quality of writing good music is, also having high standards and knowing my worth was really important to learn.


Having visited Austin for SXSW and been given an apprenticeship in blasting off and industry knowledge, Yazmindi is here for keeps. Young artists take heaed. And roots music lovers - drink up. This Avocado Latte is served chilled, with plenty of sarcasm. Just for our thirsty ear holes. escape the small Aus mic scene and open up my eyes to different sounds, perspectives, cultures and music.

By Arne Sjostedt

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