Yasmin Radbod is a lifelong songwriter, Reiki Master, entrepreneur, and small business advisor. She has been writing and singing songs for as long as she can remember. She describes her music as “pop-rock-jazz.” In 2016, she told Tagg that her goal for her musical journey is to never stop making music and never stop being creative.
Yasmin calls herself “very spiritual,” which shows in her studies of herbalist antler alchemy, reiki, womb healing, and Al Shiba Shakti. On a musical level, she has worked with composer, pianist, and producer Lydia Clark, who was the Music Director for the Broadway Theatre Dance Workshop at the School of Performing Arts in Santa Fe.
Her creativity also expands to her expertise in small business management and fundraising, working with Amnesty International, Shambala Foundation, and other non-profit organizations.
Yasmin describes herself as an “advocate for the happiness and freedom of all beings.”
What is your inspiration and why?
My number one inspiration is Earth Mother. Many of my songs come to me when I am surrounded by her beauty, but also her grief. Have you felt her before? Truly? It’s a visceral joy and pain when you’re watching the rainfall in silence, when the snow has blanketed the dead branches of coiled trees – it’s that threshold where love and grief meet and give birth to life and death at once. I don’t know of anything that has ever felt more inspirational or powerful to me…it’s when I am closest to my own essence, to our connection.
Why is music important to the queer community?
I can really only speak on behalf of myself. For me music is important because it takes you to your deepest self. It takes us all there. It pulls back the cobwebs, the veil, and the illusions we may think are the absolute truth. It strips us to our core. Music grounds us and brings us closest to Earth. This is so needed in these times, especially in our community, and all marginalized peoples. It is through our strength and deep sense of knowing that we overcome hatred and bigotry. Only from that place within us can we truly choose love and stay firm in our truth. This is why music has saved me many times in my life. It has helped me trust this deeper place within me even when it was the hardest thing to do.
What do you hope to achieve as an artist?
I simply hope that my music inspires – for one person to be encouraged through my music to follow their bliss and rise above fear. One person who chooses love. One person who is not afraid to proclaim “I deserve to feel good damn-it” and live their best fucking life. For one person’s heart to leap when they hear my music and have faith return to them when they feel lost and completely alone. I want my art to remind each of us (and myself) that we are never alone. We belong. We are loved. There is nothing wrong with you or me just because we’re different in some way from our peers or our families.
Did music play an integral role in your coming out? If yes, how so?
My goodness, where do I even begin with this question. In 2016, I decided I was going to pursue a rap career. I had just come back to D.C. from working abroad in a refugee camp in Thailand where I felt incredibly isolated, alone, and confused with where my life was going. My heart was aching and I couldn’t put my finger on why.
When I came back to D.C., I threw myself into the music that was coming from within me, and it was raw and angry. I wasn’t in control. It was banging from within my body, screaming “Let me out now!” I was going through it. My family didn’t want to hear any of it. My mom kicked me out and told me I had a mental problem when my sister sent her one song I had made called “Always Pussy Ova Dick” (APOD). And, you know, that track for me was about liberation, personal empowerment, and freedom. This music was incomprehensible to them, it wasn’t “music” – they couldn’t get past the surface. I was a disgrace to them. They were humiliated by me. I had to fight for my words, my message, who I am. They still don’t accept or believe that that “version” of me was really me. Of course it was and it is, it’s a part of me. But I stopped worrying what anyone thinksnbecause I know who I am. If I did not make the music I needed to at that time, if I wasn’t honest with myself and if I had hid who I was, who knows where I would be right now.
Given challenges facing our country and community, in your opinion, what is most needed for the queer community now? How can the music scene further that goal?
For me, and I imagine for us all, I can say what is most needed is alignment and compassion in order to effect change from within. People often confuse compassion with sacrifice or trying to force a feeling of love for someone you despise. That’s certainly not my definition. Compassion is truly having firm boundaries and choosing not to enable destructive behavior or abuse. That is how we effect change. By being our own role model.
It’s so much easier to think we need to “fix” what is happening outside of ourselves, when it really all stems from what is within us individually and collectively. How have we manifested Trump and a growing slew of corrupt, dirty politicians in power dictating our Earth’s future? How have we made wealth and material things the goal of our lives instead of the act of love? It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to reevaluate what our priorities are. It’s time to have tolerance and compassion for ourselves, acceptance first so that we are able to grow and conquer our inner demons, not conquer anything outside of us. Music reminds us of our deepest feeling. That life is short. Our time is limited. Through self mastery we effect change.
You have a new music video out. Tell us a little about that.
The music video to “So Good” was such a joy to make. Best team ever. I have to shout out Leah Sims for being the best animator out here and also one of the most genuine people I know. I love you.
When I was first trying to visualize the concept for the video, I wrote down in my journal that I wanted something that everyone could relate to and that illustrated the divide. It’s what I call “surface living” versus “deep living.” It’s when our society and system tells us what’s right and normal to operate by – when it’s truly incredibly unhealthy and is leading to so much unnecessary individual and collective suffering and chaos. Nearly instantly I thought of showing myself as human and skeleton in two separate worlds. We must seek balance and alignment internally – inner harmony to effect outer harmony in our world.
You can check out Yasmin Radbod’s new song on Spotify.