London singer-songwriter Yazmin Lacey is an artist who defies categorisation. “In some ways I would call it soul because that's where it comes from, my own soul. But I always avoid that; it's all perception,” she says. Her debut album Voice Notes, out today, was crafted from stream-of-conscious voice notes recorded on her phone, then worked up into a beautifully personal collection of powerful, intimate tracks.
What song reminds you the most of your childhood?
I’m going to go with “Silly Games” by Janet Kay. I think of family parties, my family listening to that song. And I can hear my aunties, my nan and my mum singing. And they’ve all got these kinda sharp, high-pitched voices, but they do go for it. It always reminds me of that, and it’s such a great track.
What was the first physical record you remember buying?
I don’t think I bought it, but I remember I was with my brother when he bought Jodeci - Diary of a Mad Band. They’re all on the cover in a bit of leather, a bit open shirt, and I always used to laugh because he thought that was him with his mates. I loved that experience of going with him to the record shop, because he was so precious about his collection and it always felt like an occasion when he would buy a new one.
What song reminds you the most of home?
It changes, but at the moment anywhere I play Cleo Sol feels like home. I know that’s a newer one, but that is really what is making me feel safe and comforted at the moment. It’s like my go-to comfort listening.
What song reminds you of traveling to a specific place?
I recently went to Colombia, and all the way there, all the way back, and sometimes in between when I was on buses travelling around, I just listened to Nick Hakim’s new album, Cometa. I love that album and now every time I look at my photos from that trip, I just hear “Let It Happen” playing in the background.
What is the song that you wish you had written?
There’s loads, haha! I love “Rolling Hills” by Jill Scott. That’s such an empowering song, and it’s very maternal. In the song, she is saying that you need to value yourself and you need to love yourself, and the only reason she knows that is because she’s experienced the opposite of that. It's Auntie Jill giving words of wisdom. And it’s crazy what she does with her vocal in that song. It’s actually mental. She moves around so much in such a short space of time. It’s amazing sonically and lyrically - I do wish I had done that one.
What is the best song to play at a house party?
I’m going to go with a firm classic. If I get the aux at a house party, every time I’m going to put on some garage or bashment. Let’s do “Gabriel,” because that vocal is crazy by Peven Everett. I love London parties, because there’s such a hub of everyone from so many different places, I feel like that is what creates that London sound. I’m really influenced and I’m always excited by UK music because it’s just so relatable with our little quirks, references that you’ll only know if you’re UK. I always like that familiarity. And I love things like Soul II Soul, which is the blending of the London sound and also hip-hop, and also soul and also music from the Caribbean. I just always really enjoy that kind of mish-mash.
You're abducted by aliens and when you wake up on the spaceship, they pass you the aux. What is the song that you're playing to convince them not to destroy Earth?
Let me think about the actual song, but I know it has to be something from Baduizm, and the reason I say that is because I believe that Erykah is either a witch or alien. I’m not saying that lightly, she’s just so magic that she’s definitely not just from this plane. So if they’ve abducted me, the first thing I’m going to do is make peace with them, let them know it’s some Erykah vibes and I think I’d be alright. When you know you’ve got mutuals with someone, it’s a bit safer. I’d probably play them “On and On.”