The Art of Sound: Jasmine Bailey’s Pursuit of Immersive Musical Experiences

3 min read
Jasmine Bailey performing. Photo credit: Vanessa Cindy.

by Jessica Wolf

Songwriter, performer, producer Jasmine Bailey has a vision for her art form, a world of immersive soundscapes and multisensory communal experiences that bring artists and audiences closer together. 

Bailey is graduating this year with a degree in musicology from The Herb Alpert School of Music. She’s simultaneously preparing the release of “Negative Space” the debut full-length album she wrote, performed and co-produced. (Check out a sneak peek here). In it, Bailey harnesses synesthetic poetry, R&B grooves and with lyrics that approach themes of isolation, healing, identity, and transformation. She was awarded an honorable mention in the second annual Class Artist competition sponsored by the Chancellor’s Council on the Arts for the piece.

In making her album, Bailey became inspired by immersive sound design.

Jasmine Bailey’s debut album “Negative Space” will be out soon. You can catch a sneak peek here.

Photo of Jasmine Bailey. Credit: Roger Panameño.

“I would love to one day compose a piece of music that could live in a space,” she said. “And so the title of this album is ‘Negative Space,’ I just wanted it sonically to feel really expansive and wide.”

Bailey credits her collaborative co-producer DeShawnBigD for helping her achieve the sound she wanted. 

“There’s lots of reverb, and there’s lots of panning and sort of circling and we play with a lot of different textures, both electronic and some sort of more organic, and all that just kind of like orients you in this space where it I hope it feels like you’re floating, being surrounded and enveloped.”

For her capstone project, under what she says has been the invaluable guidance of professor Raymond Knapp, Bailey is working on a proposal to make an even more expansive vision for her sound come to life, thinking about how to connect and collaborate with like-minded curators and fellow artists. Her dream would be to create a fully immersive visual and sound experience as an installation for the eclectic interactive museum collective known as Meow Wolf, which recently announced plans to build its sixth location in Los Angeles. 

The multihyphenate artist is grateful for her path through and to a degree from UCLA. She originally took some time between graduating from high school and entering college (a planned “gap year” became five). She moved from Northern California to San Diego where she worked on her music, touring and performing, growing into her path as an artist.

Photo courtesy of Jasmine Bailey.

“That just kind of gave me a taste for the career that I already knew I wanted,” she said. “And I just felt super aligned with everything that UCLA  program offered and promised. And also what better place to pursue music than L.A.?”

Bailey said her musicology studies at UCLA invited her and her fellow students to dive deep into explorations of what music is, what makes it different than sound alone, why it endures as a form of human expression and all the myriad permutations of music as a form of cultural awareness, of understanding both the self and the other. 

“Music serves a very real function of keeping us together and keeping us sane and being able to, like, carry us through some of the hardest times of our lives” she said. “So I think music is a way to survive. Music and art is a way to survive.”

She’s leaving UCLA already a polished professional. Her approach to her craft reveals a wisdom beyond her years alongside a yearning for healing, hope and connection in an increasingly fractured and digital world. 

“In my heart of hearts and just how I like to create and move through the world, I’m really looking to create something that’s a little bit tangible, and community-oriented, where people really like have to emerge out of their bubbles, from behind their screens to see a cool piece of work,” Bailey said.