Jasmine Whyte (23). St. Catharine’s native, and musician embodies soul, expression, and resilience within her music. Having grown up alongside 4 gifted siblings and uncles, musicians, Thyron Lee Whyte, and Robert Whyte, music is deeply embedded within the singer.
Growing up under the influence of Gospel and Jazz, it is no surprise Whyte wrote her first song in elementary school after an inspiring ‘ME to We’ concert, said Whyte in an interview with a YGK News staff.
At the very young age of 8, Whyte began singing independently, following sister Chantara Leistner’s (married name) direction. Their shared musical abilities made it almost impossible not to perform together as children, and later as adults.
“In elementary school when I would perform with my grandmother and sister trio “The Grand Baby Trio” we would sing in old age, and retirement facilities,” quoted the singer in an interview with a YGK News staff member. The Trio have since performed at differing events in Toronto, and St. Catharine’s, Ontario.
Between ages 4-14, Whyte took to music like most things, as an avenue of expression, and skill to master. Whyte, according to mother, Robin Lougheed, loved to compete, and took her steadfast nature, and determination wherever she went.
Whyte was known as mischievous, curious, and incredibly introverted. However, her introversion and ‘hard’ exterior quickly softened once younger brother, Moses Lougheed entered their home. Whyte quickly took to Moses, adapting to her role as tender big sister and protector, said Whyte’s mother Robin Lougheed in an interview.
“Very strong, but very sensitive”
The singer songwriter’s tall, athletic build made her misunderstood amidst peers during her adolescent years. She is “very strong, but very sensitive,” said Robin Lougheed in an interview. Such misunderstandings made it difficult for Whyte to fully connect with her peers, and the her appeal to art, lyric, and poetry definitely presented themselves to the singer to diminish those beliefs.
Whyte always moved quickly through life, through everything she did, which translated into her musical development. Although Whyte had an interest for learning fundamental music skills in music, she quickly took to lyric, poetry and always picked the most difficult instrument, or idea to learn. She was, and still embraces a growth mindset.
‘Her face lights up when she’s on the stage performing and moving people with her music and her message, it’s clear that she’s at home.”
Although Whyte never properly learned musical composition, her natural gifts are reflected in the melodies, and lyrics created since. In fact, a lot of her music evolved growing up, making their way into a few finished creations.
During her years as a youth, Whyte performed in elementary musicals, playing integral roles such as, Maria in “The Sound of Music”, and the protagonist in the musical based off Charles Dickens’ Christmas novella, “Scrooge”.
When she’s not performing or exercising her mind, she’s at the gym, running or finding ways to enhance her physical abilities. Although Whyte was known as a creator, she was almost always known in her community as an athlete.
“Me and my sister have always been close and I think our bond originally started from us having shared interests like dance and singing together from a young age, Then as we got a bit older we used to compete against each other in track and field events in elementary school which the teachers and parents called the “Lougheed show down” I looked up to her and admired her and I wanted to be just like her because she was the best at everything. Then when Jasmine took an interest into volleyball I wanted to follow in her footsteps, we ended up playing on the same sports teams and volleyball team for years after and that passion for sport, competing and music just solidified our friendship as we moved into adulthood.” Said younger sister, Trinity Lougheed in an interview with a YGK News Staff.
The Grand Baby Trio Grown Up
Between two passions
While attending Laura Secord Secondary School, Whyte processed mental health struggles with the help of athletics, and music. She, along with her talented classmates, played competitive sports, volley ball, basket ball, and track.
She also developed her musical strengths by joining Jazz Choir, concert choir, dance team, and drum line where David Sisler, the school’s music teacher informed a lot of her musical abilities. Jasmine’s faith in God, in her passions, kept and continue to keep her capable of anything. Avoiding them would have betrayed her soul’s journey, and the journey God led her up to that point.
“…the guitar goes where she goes”
“Even while growing as an athlete, even while competing as a professional Volley-ball player, she never left the guitar behind. For Jasmine, the guitar goes where she goes” said Robin Lougheed in an interview with a YGK News staff.
“Music is a way of life for Jasmine, it’s like breathing , her way of being heard and seen”
“After high-school I spent a year in Baltimore playing Volleyball on a full ride NCAA D1 Scholarship at Coppin State University. In this year, I bought my very first recording mic. I would spend all of my free time (Although, I didn’t have much of it with my training schedule) in my closet. It was the size of a fridge, and filled with clothes, so I said “perfect for recording.” I barely fit in it, but I still ended up spending a lot of time in there with my laptop and microphone; recording covers, and originals to post on YouTube. I then spent a year playing Volleyball and studying ECE at Humber College. This was the year I never put my guitar down,” Whyte said in an interview with a YGK news staff.
By the end of her year in Baltimore, Whyte knew it was time to reveal her true self by sharing her gifts with those around her and that was when music began taking the forefront within her heart. Whyte grew exponentially after that realization.
She persisted by focusing her attention from volley ball to music, finding herself auditioning for talent competitions in Toronto. She was called to create, and is that calling that led her to “The Shot,” a music competition based out of Toronto, Canada.
“I am season seven winner of The Shot, and have since been signed and working under the management of CJ Allen,” said Whyte in an interview.
All of this led her to release a few hits since like “Secret” and “One Man Band,” and the singer-song writer continues to release pop, soulful hits that hit home for many.
A lot of themes pertaining to identity, what it means to be a black woman within the LGBTQ community make Whyte sing songs about struggle, and most importantly triumph. Having struggled with mental health issues early in life, encountering the loss of loved ones, and childhood friends due to the disease, Jasmine released anthem “One Man Band,” a song capturing more than what it feels like being single, but being comfortable in one’s own skin, being comfortable within one’s individual journey.
Young Jasmine Whyte is wise enough to understand these lessons.
“Secret” was inspired by a reoccurring feeling and experiences I have had within same love relationships. The push and pull of love,” expressed Whyte in an interview. Specifically, desiring someone society deems unacceptable, but allowing the unfolding of those relationships regardless of social pressure, and containment.
Whyte’s decision to come out as bi-sexual in high school, and her over all mental health victories influenced many ideas regarding sexual exploration, and celebration within her music.
The music video for “Secret”
Whyte tirelessly works at developing her craft. To do what she loves. She is also the first person many call when in need. She believes in the power of collaboration, which is also reflected in her cover collaborations with other up and coming artists. Many of these collaborations are found on her Instagram page, and YouTube channel.
“I’d have to say that our friendship is one that I value the most and no matter what we have each other’s backs. We used to sit in the car and just listen to her music when she was just getting it all recorded and now she’s got 2 songs that are amazing and I crank them up every time I hear them. Dedicated friend and musician,” said long-time best friend Tristan Vermolen in an interview with a YGK News Staff.
Family and God first
During the rise of the spread of Covid 19′, Whyte picked up her guitar, and sang to her grandmother, sharing one passion, with her other passion, family.
“Now We’ve lived together, laughed and cried together, been heartbroken together, seen each other through unimaginable dark times and rejoiced in our triumphs and have a bond that has lasted the test of time and I couldn’t imagine my life without her by my side she my best friend.” said younger sibling, Trinity Lougheed in an interview.
“Jasmine has always been generous, as a sister, friend and collaborator. She is generous with her heart, her ideas, her strength, her bravery, and her time. This generosity is exemplified through her music and her dedication to her craft – as you listen to the melodies and engage with lyrics, she lays herself wholly on display so generously that it often feels as though your’e sitting with a friend, one with great advice, encouragement and inspiration to share.” Mentioned, Chantara Leistner in an interview.
With family, she takes Christ with her, and says to devote most of herself to the Lord within her music in the future. Her tattoo on her arm is indicative of that, Romans 8:18 NIV, which states, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.”
An interview with the singer-songwriter
Describe the process of making the video for “Secret”
“The music video was created with lots of thought behind it. After figuring out locations (Mahtay Cafe, and The Mansion House), I was able to create a story board and shot list depicting the story line, filming order, and camera angles. I worked with Studio J2 Dance from Martinsville, Indiana, and Choreographer Justine Jack, as well as Dancers Destiny Mack, Haley Walker, Ri Leigh Miles, and Holly Shipley. Although, the weeks prior to filming day were slightly tense with nerves and late nights in preparation the filming day was a fun experience. Many people and friends showed up to the club scene to dance and after all the shots were taken we sat down and enjoyed some drinks and good food at The Mansion House.”
What inspired “One Man Band”?
“One Man Band was inspired by a special heart break that I went through. It was one where I knew I had to be on my own to work on myself, and I needed an anthem song to keep me moving because I didn’t know how to be alone. So I had to continue shouting affirmations at myself, to find and maintain the strength in me that I knew existed even though I couldn’t feel it yet. It was the first song I released because I felt it was the first song the world needed to hear from me. It demonstrates the struggle behind my strength, but I believe can also bring strength to those who choose to listen.”
Who are your biggest musical influences?
“My biggest musical influences are probably Kirk Franklin, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendez, and Sam Smith.”
I noticed you describe yourself as a LGBTQ+ artist, one whom believes in God on your social media platforms. Considering our current political climate, what’s your stance on politics and religion in the music industry? Do you believe those two come hand in hand, and why? What effect does incorporating human rights, and faith into your music have on your audience?
“I believe in Jesus, yes. By believing in Jesus I believe in Love. I feel like as an artist who is lgbtq+ and also a believer in God, there is I suppose one would call a fear directly related to being outcasted. However, this is who I am, and I am who I am. It didn’t take me long to find myself and accept myself for who I am; and I will always be accepting of others for who they are. Regardless, of how I may not always be accepted whole. All I know is Jesus loves me, and he loves you too.”
“My musical abilities and all other talents I have are a blessing from God, a God that I will never deny the glory too. I aspire to create inspirational music that is overwhelmed with love, healing, understanding, peace, and anointing while also being accurate to the truths of my life. My music is directly related to my faith and if it weren’t for the love of Jesus I wouldn’t be the person I am and have grown to love today.”
What are your latest projects? Where can listeners connect with you?
“I’m currently working on the music video for my debut single ‘One Man band’. I have also been in studio preparing my next release. This next release I am extremely excited about. You can follow my socials @jasminewhytemusic on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter for updates and new releases!”
Most days, Whyte records in her studio downtown, St. Catharine’s while developing her brand, and ever evolving skillset with Rhouse, a modeling and consulting agency within the Niagara Region. Her discipline inspires many, and continues to impact her musical journey.
Growing up under the influence of Jazz, and later, inspirational musicians like Justin Bieber as he turns to Gospel, Whyte’s craft is collaborative, fun, wise, and thoughtful.
YGK News staff members eagerly await her next single, which is expected to release sometime soon.
More information on the artist is available, here.