“Everything inspires life, and everything inspires what I sing about,” says singer/guitarist JazzMine Garfield. “Emotions, reasoning… it’s all there.”
Although she’s equally skilled as a vocalist and guitarist, Garfield is a natural innovator, fusing her brand of acoustic jazz with hip hop, soul, and even a few well-appointed electronic samples. Through her experimentation, she has developed a modern jazz sound that’s updated into the electronic age while remaining soulful in meaning and melody.
Beginning her musical journey at a young age, Garfield has had a lifetime to hone both her instrumental chops and her songwriting skills. Along the way, she drifted from piano to guitar and began writing and singing her own lyrics. “It has all connected in steps through the years,” she says.
As she perfected her sound, lyrics began taking a shape of their own, representing the stages of love (among other life-lessons). Garfield employs both her smooth voice and her sharp wit on the 2012 EP Love’s Bullet.
JazzMine Garfield takes every opportunity to explore what her own voice can do. In the hypnotically soothing “Repeat,” her verses are low breathy, while high points in the song sustain lofty notes. At no point in the song, however, does it seem like she’s reaching too far.
Singles like “Intoxication” blend her tranquil jazz approach with sampling and subtle electronic effects. “Vina Fay Wray” features tragic lyrics inspired by the titular actress’ role in 1933’s King Kong. Airplanes and other sound clips from the film fill the background as Garfield retells the story of Kong falling for the beautiful Anna Darrow. Both on Love’s Bullet and elsewhere, Garfield’s songs make it clear that attraction can have consequences.
Many of her songs focus on relationships, particularly what happens when they run their course. “Love’s Bullet” Picks up on the tail end of a soured love story. Garfield transitions from arpeggiated chords and sorrowful melody to a faster, sharply-spoken look back at what went wrong. “It’s about an extremely stubborn relationship,” says Garfield. “Because we were both so hurt, stubborn, prideful, and selfish, we couldn’t move forward to better what we had.” She admits that the song is one of her favorite tracks, as it comes from a particular rough patch that one has to be strong to see through. “Every day, it was like a war,” she says. “I was talking to this great wall that seemed impossible to get over.”
Garfield perseveres, though, and that has allowed her to share her music with others- a cathartic experience. “Since I’ve been performing around Birmingham, I’ve witnessed nothing but a good time, a pleased ear, and satisfied appetite to explore the music scene,” she says. “I’m pretty proud to be amongst who we have here. It’s phenomenal.”
Check out JazzMine Garfield’s Facebook page.
You can also follow her on Twitter.
Photos by Forever Music.