Meet Jasmine Trails, One of Your Performers for City Sounds Live at Ogilvy Square
August 10, 2023
Here in Ottawa’s Original Downtown, we’re thrilled to announce that City Sounds Live will be making an appearance in Ogilvy Square! The Ottawa Music Industry Coalition and the Downtown Rideau BIA have been working tirelessly to showcase the booming music scene that Ottawa is proud to support, and this live performance is the perfect opportunity to witness it for yourself – best of all, admittance is absolutely FREE! Join us on either the JOEY Rideau or Clocktower Brew Pub patio in the square and experience some of Ottawa’s cultural offerings and unique ambiance!
In our earlier blog, we shared our conversation with Kaspien and learned about his passions for film scoring, ocean conservation and, of course, composing and performing. This time around, we sit down with Jasmine Trails to learn more about her journey from humble origins to touring in venues across the Atlantic Ocean as well as everything that inspires her to make music.
Planting the Seeds of a Musical Odyssey
Situated roughly 30 minutes outside of Ottawa’s Original Downtown is Kars, a quaint little rural community characterized by its golf courses, 19th century houses and tranquil positioning along the Rideau River. It was here, in this small village not unlike the many others that are dotted along the length of the river, that Jasmine Trails began her lifelong love affair with music.
Jasmine’s initial musical experiments consisted primarily of learning to play the family piano as well as plucking on her father’s 12-string guitar from time to time. Eventually, she would procure a digital recorder for herself, where she began to learn how to refine her works.
Due to spending her formative years in such a sparsely populated village that was located a significant distance from Ottawa’s city centre, there were few opportunities to play the music she wanted to make for a receptive audience, save for the occasional show in an abandoned barn or a family diner. “Growing up in Kars, my friends and my musical accompaniers were birds and raccoons,” she jokes.
That said, the village offered her an essential inspirational resource in abundance: nature. With forests, fields and rivers in plentiful supply, Jasmine fostered an intimate connection with the natural world not just as an artistic muse, but as an essential facet of her existence. She often finds her feeling grateful to be able to experience what she describes as the “mystic essence” of nature.
“We have this incredible alignment in nature and in the human world that creates life. When you’re feeling the wind and the sun rising and your heart beating, everything is happening because life just wants to live…and there’s this gratitude that everything is conspiring to just make more life.”
The Gifts that Nature Brings
Through her connection with nature as well as her experiences with dreams, spirituality and love of all kinds, Jasmine’s music evokes a sense of wonderment when reckoning with the world around her and the human condition. Her delicate vocal performances are backed by a symphony of dreamy, ethereal instrumentation that feature guitars, pianos and occasionally even specialized tools like loop boxes. Her musical influences include artists of a similar nature like Cocteau Twins and The Cure as well as jazz musicians like Alice Coltrane.
After relocating from Kars to Ottawa, Jasmine embraced the local music scene whole-heartedly, spending much of her between Canterbury High School and music venues across the city. People began to notice, and shortly thereafter she began opening for larger, more established artists including Tim Hecker as well as Andy Shauf and Sylvan Esso. Jasmine was fortunate enough to embark on a European tour with the latter two acts, which taught her the importance of having a grounded, healthy relationship with fans.
“The thing that I noticed about Andy [Shauf] was that even though he was so loved, he was so humble,” she recalls. “That’s when I knew that if I ever built up a bigger fan base or played bigger shows, I would always wanted to stay rooted in just being a normal person who just loves music.”
Weathering the Storm
Jasmine’s love for music has also seen her through some of the more somber periods in her life, during which she was able to fall back on her passion for her craft as a means of coping with the darker aspects of reality. These struggles are reflected throughout the entirety of her discography thus far, which she describes as going from “pure insanity, to insanity/healing and then clarity.”
The pandemic would prove to be among the greater challenges that she has had to confront thus far, as she struggled to cope with the “weird, dystopian world” that came to exist as public gatherings were rendered impossible and/or illegal in some instances.
“In a way, I feel like I lost a lot of traction due to the pandemic. Things were kind of snowballing in a positive way for me before things got shut down. But it forced me to spend time within and work on my songwriting skills on my own.”
In the post-pandemic era, Jasmine has slowly begun to re-engage with the scene. In doing so, she has re-acquainted herself with her love of live performance, an aspect of her music career that she sorely missed during those years. She remembers the yearning for things like eye contact, the transfer of energies, speaking to the audience before and after shows as well as between songs – all of which could not be replicated in earnest while performing online as part of an initiative spearheaded by the National Arts Centre.
“There is such a profound energy transfer that happens in live music,” she maintains. “Livestreaming and doing things online, it just pulled the soul out of it completely.”
Looking Forward to Clearer Skies
Despite these setbacks, Jasmine’s drive to share her voice with others did not waver. She released the album “Destiny, Sweeter” and multiple singles throughout 2021. And since her re-emergence in the local scene began, Jasmine has been hard at work putting together a band that includes collaborators like Pierre-Luc Clément and Robert Chapman, the former of whom is notably of FET.NAT fame.
“You can kind of bring a different swagger when you’re playing with the full band, because there’s so much outside of yourself backing you up.”
Jasmine has an equal appreciation for being backed by a band as well as performing solo sets like her upcoming performance in Ogilvy Square, noting that each has its own distinct set of pros and cons. “When I’m playing solo, I can kind of go at my own pace and slow things down to put emphasis on a certain line, whereas with a band it all has to be pre-rehearsed.”
Along with her backing band, Jasmine’s plans for the future include releasing more recorded material as well as simply taking music with her wherever she goes. “I’m working on a college degree for caregiving right now, so I just want to involve music in the healing of others and in the meantime just keep pumping out records as I’m writing them, which is all the time.”
Some day, she hopes to establish a following for herself that’s on par with some of her musical influences. “My goal is to be cult famous when I’m 70,” she jokes, “I want to have a 30-person following in Japan, play for them and have that be my last gig.”
Feeling the urge to see one last outdoor live performance before the end of summer? If so, this is an event you simply can’t afford to miss! Ogilvy Square is a mere two-minute walk from Rideau Station and is the ideal place to bring your family and friends in order to bid summer goodbye and issue a warm welcome to the autumn season. With two patios to choose from and a brand new mural from Dems & Doll to set the scene, you’ll have no trouble enjoying an evening of music under the starlit skies of Ottawa’s Original Downtown! Check out the latest listing on our Events page for more information.
📅 Thursday, August 31, 2023
📍 Ogilvy Square (1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7)
⏰ 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Worried about where you are going to park? Click here for a handy tool to find all the parking options and rates in the downtown!