In the last year, I have watched Jasmine Solano turn into… well… a big deal. From seemingly nowhere, she used her charm and talent to drop right into the fast lane. Her and MELO-X created the now infamous Electric Punanny party and brought their individual and collective brands onto the street and got it buzzing. On her own, not only is she a radio personality, but she is also a DJ and now a grinding musician . She recently started working on her CD which is being produced by a handful of hot new producers. But, that’s not what this interview is about. For me, whats interesting is much more about whats inside of people who struggle and smile and create. This to me, is timeless and that’s all that matters in the long run. Here we go.
TONE: When I think of you, I think of non-stop hustle. You’re a DJ, you’re a radio host, you’re a production manager working on music videos, you’re always linking people up and making it happen. Tell me where the motivation is coming from? Talk to me about what you’re trying to achieve.
JS: Thank you TONE :) I guess when I think about where my hustler spirit comes from, I think about a mixture of survival and destiny. Everyone is either hustling to survive or refusing to give up on their dreams, OR BOTH. I definitely believe in the idea that life is short, so go hard. If you are in any way aware of your talents, gifts & strengths then there’s no time to waste them – literally. It’s great in NYC because you’re usually too busy to obsess over doubts and insecurities. There’s too much going on! :)
JS: I think for me, from a young age I realized that my imagination could determine my reality. And so I try to give myself enough time to daydream :) I’m pretty much always motivated and I can say it’s because I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. I already know how rare that opportunity is and so I try not to take it for granted, not even for a second.
JS: What am I trying to achieve? I’d like to build an ark like Noah, put all the NYC/Brooklyn fam on it and travel the world together – influencing the masses by spreading quality art, music, fashion, ideas & ways of life. That would be the shit, right?
TONE: Oh yes. The shit indeed. You’ve been a huge supporter of up and coming talent such as the Retro Kids, Melo-X, Lion & Rooster, NEW POP, myself and many others. Why?
JS: I don’t know where all my loyalty comes from. I’m trying to figure that out now, lol. Maybe from my parents. But yeah loyalty is a huge thing for me. If I make a friend, they’re usually a friend for life. And I don’t take meeting people lightly. Everyone I meet has some impact on my whole thinking process. Especially if I vibe with them, respect what they are doing and support their movement – then it’s a wrap. Relationships mean a lot me, no matter how small or big. And you gotta know how to support others if you want to be supported. That’s a big thing that people forget.
TONE: I recently asked Melo-X what happened that lead you guys to team up on the Electric Punanny parties. I’m curious what your take is on it? What were you guys thinking prior to coming up with EP?
JS: Prior to the ELECTRIC PUNANNY parties, Melo-X hosted my weekly party called THE JAWN in the Lower East Side, with DJ Iron Lyon & DJ Kevy. That’s when I knew I had met my brother from another mother. Melo-X and I were separated at birth, for real. He wanted to sit down and brainstorm an idea for a monthly party where we both DJ’d. I’m a reggaeholic so when he presented the idea of REGGAE VS. DANCE i thought it was perfect. We came up with a few party names, the first one being “Electro Pum Pum”. Then I remember splurting out “Electric Punanny” and he responded with “YESSSSSS”. The rest is history.
TONE: Since you’ve been on your grind, what kinds of things have you learned about yourself and how have you changed?
JS: I’ve learned that anything is possible, truly. And once you get a taste of it, there’s no turning back.
JS: I’ve also learned that I have a lot of love for a lot of people. Not just in general – I think about each person who has helped me get to where I am- I reflect on them everyday.
JS: I don’t really think I’ve changed, you’ll have to ask my super homies that have known me since back when I had blond hair. I’m sure they’d know. But I feel more like myself than ever before. If anything I feel like all the dots of my life have connected and now it’s really on :)
TONE: Music project! Can you give me some tids on that?
JS: I’m working on an EP and it’s my obsession right now. I’m working with several different producers including DJ Wonder (That’s Not It) and Journey to the End / Dirty Jeenius (Coco Puff). Everything else about the EP is a surprise….
JS: Since I released the first track off the EP, “That’s Not It” the buzz has been growing daily. I’ve already performed it in 7 different venues in NYC since it’s release one month ago. I’ve been opening up for Ninjasonik who are the nicest kids on the block – and they’ve got die hard fans all over the country. No joke. I also performed with The Retro Kidz who are my fellow BROBOT-ians. And in the month of February I’ll be performing with Mickey Factz, Team Facelift, Daytona and your fellow interviewee Homeboy Sandman.
JS: The music thing has been a secret dream of mine since forever. Just kept it on the low. Now it’s all over and I’m truly happy about it.
TONE: We’ve talked about one of your dreams regarding radio. In a society that seems to be steering away from radio, talk to me about why you remain in love with it?
JS: Radio will always be one on one. With radio you’re reaching people in their most intimate moments. I’ve spoken over the air to people who are in jail, cooking at home, driving by themselves, listening in another country because they miss their home, etc. Radio activates the imagination. The listener can’t see you and they can’t talk back to you. This forces you to paint a whole visual in their head with the words you speak and the music you play. It’s magic to me.
TONE: Whats your ritual when you’re feeling down and out? What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
JS: bikram yoga, dark chocolate and a solid RICE & PEAS reggae party :)
TONE: I’ve only really heard you spin reggae but I know you have a love for Motown, tell me a little bit about this.
JS: That’s all from my mother. She had me singing James Brown when I was five. For real, we have it recorded on a cassette tape from a Fisher Price recorder. I grew up on Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, The Supremes, The Temptations, etc. I have such a deep love for soul music and it’s all because of her***
TONE: What were u like when you were a kid?
JS: I think I was bossy. lol. yeah. Always trying to organize my friends together to pull off some scheme.
JS: Always daydreaming, loved to dance and was always competitive with the boys – especially in Kick The Can. In a nut shell I think I was always acting like a little princess mafia tomboy. With the ponytail to the side ;)
TONE: What’s your favorite food right now and why?
JS: Lol, this is funny question. Gotta go with Amy’s organic spinach pizza. Cause I’ve been eating that shit for over 4 years now and it still tastes like the first time every time ;)
TONE: You have a very interesting look, I’m curious what your heritage is?
JS: Thx TONE :) I’m mixed, Indonesian & Russian. (my father is from Indonesia and my mother is 3rd generation Russian)
TONE: Most of us in NYC voted for Obama and had the great honor of watching the first man of color win Presidency of the US. How was it for you when you found out he won and what relevance do you see it having on American culture?
JS: It’s funny because in my teens I was a big hip-hop activist. I held events that featured socially conscious artists, green peace representatives, the whole nine. I could show you pictures. I remember when I moved to Boston to go to college, I was demonstrating in the Boston Commons doing spoken word about the war and all the conspiracies. I WAS IN IT.
JS: Then I remember the night that Bush got re-elected in 2004. It was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced. At the time, all of Boston was rooting for Senator Kerry especially since he was from there. I was at my good friend Lee’s apartment with all of our close friends. I remember the minute when the decision was made, we all felt hopeless. At that moment I turned off from politics. I was convinced that an organized group of people in the government were going to have their agenda met no matter what the people wanted.
JS: Until Obama. I’m still in shock. My whole production family (TRIGGERHAPPY, Integrated Studios) produced an Obama Commercial that aired in Times Square on one of the Billboards (shout out to Chris Rue!) From the get, the entire NYC crew has come together to support Obama. The feelings of pride and hope are indescribable. It’s the biggest global example thus far that change CAN really come out of struggle. And I think it’s the closest we’ve ever gotten to actually feeling like a global community. Which is a pretty powerful feeling :)
TONE: Growing up, did you have any heros? If so, who were they and why?
JS: My pops. Nuff said. If you met him, you’d know why. You’d probably want to hang out with him more than me :)
JS: He’s the man. He has a gazillion friends all over the world. He’s humble, wise and knows how to laugh. He’s kinda like a monk. If I could be half as dope as him, my life would be set.
TONE: If you could be anything in the world, other then what you are now, what would that be?
JS: Besides Aalyiah? Hmm. I don’t know TONY TONI TONE. I don’t think I’d change my life right now for anything :)
CHECK OUT JASMINE’S MUSIC ON HER MYSPACE PAGE: