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Meet the Writer: Jasmine-Kay Johnson

An interest in writing turned into a passion for music journalism after a fateful tumblr post.

Abbey Collins

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Whether she is writing, cooking or whipping up a new playlist, Jasmine-Kay Johnson oozes creativity and passion in everything she pursues.

Johnson grew up in Alton, Illinois in a family of creatives. Today, she still experiments with new recipes in the kitchen along with her mom.

Surrounded by innovative minds, she quickly discovered her own love for writing.

“When I was younger I thought I would grow up and be a poet.”

With her focus on pen and paper, there was very little musical influence on Johnson during her youth.

“I knew in eighth grade that I knew I wanted to go into journalism but it wasn’t until sophomore year of college that I wanted to incorporate music into my career somehow,” she says.

While scrolling through Tumblr as a high school freshman, Johnson’s life changed after her first listen of “King for a Day” from Pierce The Veil featuring Kellin Quinn.

“That was the first time that I had listened to any music like that,” she says, and it was “a little off-putting at first but I realized I actually liked it.”

This was the defining moment for Johnson’s musical journey and she said this song, “made me realize there’s a lot more music out there that I haven’t listened to, so I [needed] to expand my horizons.”

Fast forward to today and the University of Missouri senior is seizing every opportunity to learn more about music journalism. She is pursuing her degree in journalism with an emphasis in magazine publishing and management. In addition to her articles at College Media Network, she has also applied her skills in work for Vox Magazine, a local publication.

Johnson plans to volunteer for secret concert organizer Sofar Sounds in the fall.

All of the work is worth the time and effort to Johnson who said, “I love music and I love writing so being able to combine those two things makes me happy and I can see myself doing it for a very long time.”

You can hear her smile just through her voice, as Jasmine dishes on her music taste. Since her initial introduction into new music genres, she said her music taste “has grown tremendously. I’m definitely not picky. I listen to a little bit of everything and when I say that I actually mean that.”

She has even has built up a reputation among her friends and family: there is “a running joke if I don’t have to keep my headphones off for something, they are usually on and I am listening to something,” she said.

Johnson wants to push the envelope of music journalism with fresh and compelling ideas and stories. She said she wants to “ask questions that artists don’t always hear all the time. I want to get deeper than the surface level.”

Through this, she hopes to reveal “what their music means to them and bring in new perspectives to their art for readers.” She takes her position and voice seriously and said that “music has always been a thing that united people and brought people together,” and as journalists, “for us to be able to unpack this kind of art is important.”

The future for this up and coming journalist looks bright. Post-grad, Johnson has set her sights on NYU’s master’s program in music business. She is currently taking a summer course through the institution to further her knowledge of music journalism. Her dream is to own her own music-related magazine or work for Billboard or Rolling Stone.

Johnson is hard working and knows what she wants. Remember her name, because this is definitely not the last time you will be seeing it in regards to music journalism.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Abbey Collins is a senior Communication Specialist major at Baylor University in Waco, TX. She loves live music and discovering new artists. She is graduating this fall and plans to pursue a career in media communications.

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