Interview: Yazmin Lacey

yazmin lacey music

Notts-based Londoner Yazmin Lacey creates sublime, jazz-inflected neo-soul that joins the dots between Lover’s Rock, hip-hop, Motown and electronics.

She’s been writing and performing since 2013, but things really started coming together for her a couple of years back when she landed a place on Gilles Peterson’s Future Bubblers mentorship programme.

In the wake of the scheme, Yazmin self-released her debut EP, Black Moon, which led to a BBC Maida Vale session in late 2017 with Jordan Rakei, Moses Boyd, Oscar Jerome and Children of Zeus.

Since then, the music has come thick and fast, with a string of gorgeous releases for First World Records that blend funk, beats, jazz and Latin influences, including her latest, When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees.

She’s also been busy popping up for live appearances on Jazz FM, BBC Radio 4, 1Xtra and NTS over recent months, and has received heavy support from DJs Jamz Supernova, Tom Ravenscroft, Huey Morgan and Jamie Cullum.

Ahead of her debut DJ set at the First World Records Bank Holiday Special this weekend, she lets us in on her musical journey so far…

What first got you into making music?

My first gig was a little acoustic night in Nottingham. I went on to play a few more and then played the Future Bubblers Notts launch party, that’s how I found out about it. Future Bubblers really gave me the push I needed to put out my own music. Before that I had only really done a handful of gigs. I had been writing for years but never considered making an EP.

How has your songwriting evolved since then?

I think my songwriting has stayed the same to be honest, I try to just write and say things exactly as I feel them. The truth is relatable.

What or who has influenced you most along the way?

The UK music scene has always had a big influence on me. Watching queens like Beverly Knight, Caron Wheeler, Sade, Gabrielle inspired me. The UK always had our own take on things, I’m a huge fan of Omar too!

You’re a Future Bubblers graduate – what have you taken away from that experience?

I learned so much from Future Bubblers. They really convinced me to share my music and gave me the confidence to go and do my own thing, for me.

Do you feel part of a UK jazz community?

It’s good to feel like you’re part of a community. I’ve got to know a few musicians really well from being on the same line-ups and stuff. But I live in Nottingham so I’m in my own little pocket as I’m not based in London.

Is there anyone you’d really love to work with? 

I’d love to work with a female supergroup one time, just like get some of my favourite female musicians in a space together for a few days and see what happens; Nubya Garcia, Sheila Maurice-Grey, Shunaji, Lay Full Stop, there’s so many!

I also really wanna make something with Knxwledge, I always put on his tracks and freestyle at home so would be nice to get the opportunity to make something with him.

What’s keeping you busy at the moment?

Writing. I’m working on some new stuff at the minute, trying my hand at writing the music too. I have my first DJ set on Carnival weekend and I’m practising for that – I’m going to play some of my favourite carni jams.

What’s the last great record you heard?

Leon Bridges – Bad Bad News.

Yazmin Lacey DJs at the First World Bank Holiday Special in celebration of the Notting Hill Carnival on 26 August.

Upcoming live dates

13 November Birmingham // Sunflower Lounge
14 November Cambridge // Portland Arms
15 November Brighton // Patterns
16 November Bristol // Louisiana
21 November Liverpool // 24 Kitchen Street
22 November Manchester // The Dead Institute
23 November Leeds // Headrow House
24 November Sheffield // Picture House Social
25 November London // Jazz Cafe
28 November Nottingham // Rescue Rooms