Rhythm of Love
Rhythm fo Love: In conversation with Jasmine Ngiimei
An interview by Jenny Kashuila
Jasmine Ngiimei from Tahamzam town (Senapati) Manipur found her love and passion for music when she participated at the Voice Hunt Competition 2012 Manipur.
She has performed in major festivals such as Lui Ngai Ni, Barak Festival, shared stage with James Basnet and Abiogenesis. With an Inclination towards Gospel music, Jasmine identifies herself as a gospel artist and channels her love for God through music and is also a member of ‘Freedom Band’, a gospel band under Manipur Baptist Convention Centre Church (MBCCC).
In today’s Rhythm of Love Jasmine talks us through her love for music, and how she uses this special gift.
Eastern Mirror: Please tell us something about yourself? An introduction to those who haven’t heard of you yet…
Jasmine Ngiimei: My name is Jasmine. I’m 25 years old, born and brought up from Senapati Town, Manipur. I belong to Maram Naga tribe from Manipur.
Eastern Mirror: Who are your inspirations?
Jasmine Ngiimei: My inspirations are my mom and sister. They showed me that a girl can be whatever she dreams of becoming.
Eastern Mirror: Please tell us top five tracks in your playlist and five favourite bands of Maram.
Jasmine Ngiimei: The five tracks I’ve never failed to listen to are Lamjangpui, Maramei Pui, Ralii Paiwo, Ntahram, and Pachut. Although I have come across many talented youths in my community, I don’t think they do bands and all. So I only know two bands, Jangrok and Lamjangpui. They are cool.
Eastern Mirror: If given a chance to perform with a musician from Nagaland, who would it be and why?
Jasmine Ngiimei: I would definitely choose ‘Abiogenesis.’ Their music has been an inspiration and the instrument ‘Bamhum’ that they play is just beautiful. I love the way they perform.
Eastern Mirror: How often do you perform?
Jasmine Ngiimei: I like to perform as much as I can since it’s my passion and I do not see myself doing any other thing besides performing. However I do want to perform for a good cause. So anytime I am invited to perform for a good cause, I am in. But I can’t really tell how often cause it depends on other people and not just me. I do know I hit the platform not less than five times a month.
Eastern Mirror: How do you balance your music with other obligations? Are you working somewhere else besides music?
Jasmine Ngiimei: I am a home maker. I got married last December. The journey is great. And I still sing, even more than when I was unmarried.
My husband is very supportive of my passion and the family has passion in music too. At the moment, I’m serving God by joining the ‘Freedom Band’, a gospel band under Manipur Baptist Convention Centre Church (MBCCC), Imphal, Manipur.
Balancing what I want to do and what I need to do is not a problem for me for now. I love cooking and I think cooking creates bond in the family.
Eastern Mirror: What has been your biggest challenge as a musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge?
Jasmine Ngiimei: Critics! Though I won’t say I am totally popular, we often tend to be judged when we do something, anything. Most of us can relate to that. So for me too, criticisms are the biggest challenge. These criticisms come from people who either challenged me to be better or people who just wanted to put me down because they think I am better than them. I don’t see why we need to compete or compare with one other. Everyone has our own style. Proudly I can say I have been able to overcome it.
Eastern Mirror: Your biggest achievement as a singer? Any accomplishment so far?
Jasmine Ngiimei: I have been blessed beyond measures. I have achieved so much beyond my expectation but I think my biggest achievement is I get to do what I love and people enjoy it. That’s an achievement for me, the biggest of all.
Eastern Mirror: When was the first time you performed on-stage? Tell us about your early phase into the music industry?
Jasmine Ngiimei: It was during a singing competition in 2012 that I started hitting the limelight. I was discovered during the Voice Hunt Competition that we had in Manipur during the year 2012 which by God’s grace I reached the final round and was placed second. From there onwards, I started to sing.
Eastern Mirror: What are the unidentified challenges and obstacles faced by musician in Manipur?
Jasmine Ngiimei: Manipur is a diverse state. Lots of tribes are there and each tribe has our own dialect and culture quite different from the other. So it is difficult for our music industry to grow unless we all understand one language and use that as a medium of communication but that is not the case with Manipur. I can’t really tell if a singer earns enough to organise his/her own concert once a month, or even once a year. So I don’t see artists depending solely on their arts for livelihood here.
Eastern Mirror: What are the genres that you play? Are there any influences behind your interest?
Jasmine Ngiimei: I play country song, mostly gospel song. Gospel-because what else can I do to praise God, right? And I feel directly connected to listeners. This genre, to me, gives more soothing than the other genres.
Eastern Mirror: What’s next for you?
Jasmine Ngiimei: I have a friend from Poumai community, Zhetsiine, who I got the pleasure of meeting during the Voice Hunt Competition which I mentioned earlier. We were planning on a new project that will include songs in different languages including Poumai, Maram and English.
Eastern Mirror: A line for those who wish to follow music as a profession (any advice to Maram youngsters who wish to pursue music as their career).
Jasmine Ngiimei: It is important to know how music can impact a life and it is important to choose which music we allow to impact us. In a profession, I believe you need great talent and preparation. And you need to believe in yourself, you need to be prepared. You will get positive comebacks but remember negative ones hit harder. Just be strong enough to not let those bring you down.