Born and raised in North London, Jazmin Bean (they/them) has set a towering bar for modern pop music, not only as a singer-songwriter but as a multimedia artist. Playing with the friction between vulnerability and persona, nightmare and fantasy, trauma and recovery, the multi faceted performer invites listeners into their unparalleled universe of alternative, infectious pop.
Inspired by the films of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman’s theatrical scores, Bean’s relentless approach to pop innovation began aged 15 while studying for their GCSEs. “As a film student, I had all these visual ideas that I wanted to explore alongside my songwriting. I was already making my own soundtracks, experimenting with fashion and had a following on Instagram [prior to music, Bean posted ‘extreme’ makeup looks online], so I decided to do it all myself without a label.”
Bean’s breakthrough debut single, ‘Worldwide Torture’, launched independently on YouTube in 2019, with an anthropomorphic self-directed, self-funded music video created with just £500. Since its release, the grassroots track has racked up an impressive 5.2 million views on the platform, cementing Bean’s status as a non-binary pop pioneer.
Building on the growing online hype, Bean released a gore-tinged video for the sickly sweet single ‘Saccharine’ that same year, a distorted nursery rhyme about unrequited love that takes unsettling and relatable visual queues from past experiences and horror culture. “I’ve always been interested in death; it’s very visually appealing to me, especially in that era of my music,” says Bean. “There’s something cathartic about blood and the emotional imagery it can create.” The follow-up single exploded Bean into the limelight as a next-wave artist to watch with industry insiders and has garnered 62 million views on YouTube and counting.
In 2020, Bean released their debut independent EP, Worldwide Torture; a collaboration with up-and-coming producers Dougal Drummond and Jessica Winter. The confident and assured five-track record balances hard-as-nails lyricism with dreamlike breaks, melodic pop choruses and trap metal inflections. “Worldwide Torture was me saying, ‘I’m here, I exist, and this is what you need to know about me as an artist’,” Bean affirms. “It was an amazing introduction to my music. I wanted to be as shocking as possible, to be an ‘edge lord’ and to get people’s attention – which I did.” The EP was an instant hit with fans and critics alike, achieving over 200 million streams globally. The Worldwide Torture EP was later reissued by Island and Interscope Records in November 2020 with six additional tracks.
Otherworldly music videos for the blistering ‘Yandere’, anthemic ‘Hello Kitty’ and punishing ‘Princess Castle’ – the latter, a collaboration with drag artist Cottontail – yielded a similar viral effect. To date, Bean has amassed over half a billion streams, and after a short run of sold out intimate London gigs in 2021, they performed at Reading Festival’s Pit Stage to a packed audience. The Sun named Jazmin the standout performance of the festival, while their ever-
growing online fandom has also earned press nods from VOGUE, NME, Clash, Wonderland, Dazed, DIY and PAPER.
Reflecting on the artistry in their debut body of work, Bean says that the bratty, blood-soaked persona they adopted during the EP promo was a deliberate way of armouring themselves against difficult life experiences. “I’m very proud of the younger me; I was going through a lot that I wasn’t ready to talk about, so I made this big, strong character that could kill people instead. I wouldn’t say I hid behind it, but it was a great way of coping during that time of my life.”
In the summer of 2022, Bean revealed to their 639K Instagram and 879K TikTok fans that they’d undergone rehab for drug addiction and, following treatment, were on the road to recovery. They have also been candid about their experiences with trauma from sexual abuse. “I did a lot of healing after rehab about things that I had never really gotten to the bottom of,” says Bean. “Since then, I’ve really grown out of the sad and angry music I was writing.”
Bean’s creative process has long used music, makeup and fashion as an outlet for teenage trauma, but now one year clean, they’re writing from a place of healing. “I’ve been creating music with awareness since rehab. I’ve been writing sad music for 10 years now, and I don’t want to trauma bond with my fans. Now I’m trying to channel everything that hurts me through beauty and joy.”
After teasing snippets through Instagram and TikTok, Bean released the defiant ‘Carnage’ featuring pop artist Lucy Loone in late 2022, along with a futuristic music video directed by Shan Phearon in collaboration with Bean. In 2023, the fan favourite Acoustic Church Session EP was released, containing stripped-back versions of ‘Carnage’, ‘Little Lamb’, ‘Yandere’ and ‘Saccharine’, plus a bittersweet cover of ‘Teen Idle’ by MARINA. “I really wanted to cover that song before turning 20, as a goodbye to my teenage years,” says Bean. The intimate acoustic session was filmed at St Giles Church in Camberwell and revealed a softer, ethereal side to Bean’s live performance.
With an avalanche of new music on the way, an album slated for release in 2023 and live performances at Download this summer, the future is bright for the 20-year-old multi hyphenate. Like all legendary artists, the natural auteur in Bean bookends periods of their music with radical transformations. “As soon as I got out of rehab, I cut all my hair off and changed my makeup style because I kept seeing people with the same look,” they laugh. “The next era is going to look very different, and I’m excited for my fans to hear the new sound. In Worldwide Torture, I was singing about everything and nothing; I’m ready to delve deeper into what was actually going on in my life and how I really feel about it.”