This article was written by Ava Fitzgerald who will be leaving U32 shortly. Wherever you are going, Ava, they are lucky to have you.
This article was written about Jasmine Gruen, recognizing the talent in the U32 Community.
For as long as Jasmine Gruen can remember, she’s known that her dream has to be involved with music. Her Grandfather, Bob Gruen, is an influential rock and roll photographer. His best friend was John Lennon, until John’s death. He also hung out with many other popular names in the industry such as The Ramones and The Clash.
Her dad, Kris Gruen, is also a musician. He just recently returned from a tour in England. Even her mom plays instruments. ”It’s like a DNA thing for us,” Jasmine said.
When Jasmine was 5, she went to her dad’s CD release party. While she was there, a friend of her father’s asked her, ‘If you were to be a member of the band, what would your role be?’ After little to no thought she answered ‘I’d be the writer.’
Now Jasmine is a 16 year old junior at U32, producing her own album, named Nothing Feels Right. Her stage name is Junes, based on a nickname that was given to her by her little sister. Her dad has been there to help her every step of the way and she even had her uncle, a talented pianist and producer, mix and feature on some of the tracks.
The whole recording process was new to Jasmine, and each song needed lots of layers. She used rough instrumental and vocal tracks to aid her in the process. She performed over them to get a more solid final product.
Pretty much every member of Jasmine’s family contributed to the album, which meant she had to get used to being in an authoritative role. “Me and my dad went from having a father daughter relationship, to being colleagues,” she said.
She also made sure to listen to other people’s ideas, and to judge them fairly. “I’m really glad I made room for other people in my music,” she said, “but it was hard for me too. I had to look my father in the eyes and tell him that I thought his idea wasn’t something I wanted to hear.”
Jasmine makes sure to leave behind a message in all of her songs. “I’m not a talented guitarist,” she said, “I use it more as a vessel for the lyrics.”
A couple of lines from “Snailsong”:
“There was a snail lived down the road he had little ugly babies and his wife was a toad”
“I would tell him what was on my mind he said ‘don’t you worry you’re a waste of time’“
“Why do I have to tell people exactly what I’m feeling when I can write a whole song about a snail and adultery?” Jasmine said. “Which connects back to issues that I’ve seen. But nobody knows what the hell I’m talking about because it’s about a snail.”
Audio file of snailsong: …
Another one of her songs, Magazine, which will be first on the album, has a message too. In an art class, Jasmine was asked to make a collage with photos from magazines. She found a photo of a lady’s silhouette in a door frame. She ended up taking the photo home. One day while she was struggling to write a song, she saw the photo; from that, Magazine was made:
“I found a picture in a magazine she was leaning on a wall, she was looking kind of mean”
“I liked her short dress and I liked her cigarette smoke so now I’m gonna be her, identity theft is a hoax.”
Audio file of Magazine: …
The song is about how easy it is to lose yourself when you compare yourself to others. “I’ve never been fully comfortable with being me,” she said. “I’m always comparing myself to other people. So much that I feel the need to become them.”
Jasmine’s album has been in the process of creation since the end of October of 2020 and is set to be released before Thanksgiving 2021. Every song on the album has a story, but Jasmine doesn’t want people to just see the songs how she sees them.
“If I’m saying something and that’s not how you feel, that’s not the way you relate to the song; you are right,” she said.
“You’re just as right as I am.”