Jasmine Choi

Praised by the Korea Times as "The goddess of flute", Jasmine Choi is one of the most celebrated flutists of our generation. She has been critically acclaimed on international stages for her rich tone, technical brilliance, superb musicianship, and charismatic stage presence since an early age. After having served as principal flute of the Vienna Symphony and associate principal flute of the Cincinnati Symphony, Jasmine has now taken off with a career of a full-time soloist.
Jasmine is currently nearing the end of her Kickstarter campaign, in which she is raising funds to support her next album, The Telemann Files, 12 Fantasies for Solo Flute by G.P. Telemann.
We were lucky enough to get an exclusive perspective on her campaign!
We all know HELLO STAGE’s favorite color! What’s yours? Yes we all know the orange is the Hello Stage’s favorite! I also love orange a lot, however if I have to pick one favorite color, I’d say light blue like the beautiful autumn sky these days:) What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you? I had a great privilege to study with the legendary flutist Julius Baker in the last four years before he passed away. I was a little teenager who just wanted to “soak” up everything he said, however, his intention was completely different than mine. Mr. Baker always emphasized that I should be my own teacher: meaning that I should be able to listen to what’s going on in my playing and create my own color rather than trying to copy or follow someone else’s. How has your practice changed with time? Let me put it this way: when I was a teenager, I practiced as if it was oxygen - something that I just have to keep inhaling and exhaling at all times. These days, I feel like I practice as if it is water- I don’t need to drink it 24/7, but it is still absolutely vital every day.

What do you think is the most important trait of a successful artist in today’s modern world?

I believe that artists, first of all, should put their best effort on what they do - in other words, regardless of the old times or today’s modern world, “quality" is the most important thing and that should never change. However, in today’s classical music scene, I think artists should also be able to be accessible for those fans who want to know when and where is your next concert, how they can find your music and so on. Fans want to be not only listeners or concert-goers, they also want to be your friends up to a certain degree. I also think it’s important to be able to understand the business part of being successful. I am learning more and more about this all the time.

How much time do you spend every day on Facebook, twitter, and which other ways do you use to promote yourself?

It depends on how much time I have every day. Some days I have a free afternoon and end up spending hours on Facebook before I even realize how fast time flies, and then the next day I am under piles of unanswered emails. Some days I cannot even go online at all, but my goal is to update my Facebook page every day or every other day - enough to let people know what I’m doing. I try not to annoy them with too many posts. I also update my Hello Stage page time to time- if Facebook is for the fans, I’d say Hello Stage is for interacting with your peer musicians and also people in the business.

Jasmine - How did you get the idea for your Kickstarter campaign?

I’ve seen some of my musician friends doing Kickstarter. Some were successful, and unfortunately, some weren’t. It actually never came to my mind until the beginning of this year. When I felt a total despair towards my next recording because of the financial issues, then I began to imagine myself trying Kickstarter. But gosh, I have never known it would be so much work like this, haha!

What is your experience like on Kickstarter so far?

So far, it has been definitely a much more difficult journey than I ever expected it would be. Many people have told me that if my 30,000 fans on Facebook would pledge a dollar, my project would be successful, as simple as that. However, all my lovely fans were sharing my link so passionately and sending me many cheering messages and comments but very few actually pledged on the site. In the first few days I was disappointed, but as the time went by, I decided to focus more on what had been already given than how much more funds I still had to raise. I feel extremely grateful for those who took action because I do know that it takes a real dedication and belief to join such campaign in one’s busy life, and even at a time when everybody thinks they’re short in their own pockets.

Based on your personal experience, what are the main challenges for musicians attempting such a project?

To be honest, I think the challenge is based on the fundamental issue in classical music scene these days - having physical CDs in general is not popular anymore, and today, we’re not used to paying anything for audios as consumers. People first try YouTube, Spotify, NML, then they'll most likely find a decent-enough recording before having to pay for any full-priced CD on their own. So what shall we do? Classical music CD funding is not even nearly as cool as those new technology gadgets, and not as fun as potato salad making! After contemplating a lot, I decided to simply focus on the genuine intention, not trying to change the world with inventions nor trying to be funny. I just want to record this masterpiece of Telemann with all my heart, with top quality playing guaranteed! That is my message, and I hope this will work out in the end. :)

Do you have any special tips for other classical musicians on Kickstarter?

I think for most musicians, it is a once-in-a-lifetime project, or at least it is their first-ever crowd funding. I’ve been learning a lot as the campaign has developed every day. I’d suggest that people who would try Kickstarter in the future should start preparing everything as soon as possible. Make a plan of every step in the campaign. Keep trying to widen your network every day. And please don’t be discouraged or lose hope. Keep believing in yourself and your project, and be sincere. Follow and keep up to date with Jasmine Choi on HELLO STAGE.
Author: Nina (c) HELLO STAGE
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