My Playlist With… Yasmin Evans

Looking for some new music inspiration? From the artists worth following on Spotify to the one tune that always gets her on the dancefloor, here Radio 1Xtra DJ Yasmin Evans shares her favourites – as well as her top five playlists for easy listening.
@YASMINEVANS

My favourite genre of music is… bashment. I’m such a bashment queen. My family is from Jamaica, so I’ve been brought up on a lot of reggae and high-tempo Caribbean music. In fact, it’s hard to choose just one genre as I also love old-school soul music and South African vocal house. Right now, there are so many great South African producers out there – Black Coffee has been around for years, but I also love female DJ and producer Success SA. I also listen to a lot of AmaPiano mixes, which are so cool.

The artist I’m currently playing on repeat is… Mustafa. He’s from Canada and his vibe is a mix of R&B and alternative sounds. It’s soft, gentle listening and he has a great vibe. Pip Millet is another cool singer-songwriter and has recently released an EP which includes a song featuring Ghetts called ‘Running’, which I’ve been loving. One song that I haven’t been able to get away from is ‘GYALIS’ by Capella Grey – it’s a really short tune but it became a huge hit in New York at underground parties during lockdown and my friend from the US sent it to me. I couldn’t stop listening to it!

If you’re in the mood to party… jump onto SoundCloud. Til Two, who run one of the best nights in London I’ve ever been to, have a great mix called July 19th by DJ Pioneer & Spidey G. It’s the best getting-ready-to-go-out mix I’ve ever heard, and it makes you feel like you’re already in the club. It’s a blend of Afrobeats, Afroswing, dancehall, bashment, R&B and vocal house – a showcase of some of the best Black music we have in the UK. 

My favourite old-school tunes include… ‘Gimme the Night’ by George Benson, ‘Hangin’ On a String’ by Loose Ends, ‘Nights Over Egypt’ by the Jones Girls and Damage’s ‘Ghetto Romance’. That said, I love old-school garage mixes – there’s a great remix of ‘Just In Case’ by Jaheim, while ‘Weak’ by SWV is such a tune. I’d also throw in some funky house, like ‘The Cure & The Cause’ by Fish Go Deep.

My family is from Jamaica, so I’ve been brought up on a lot of reggae and high-tempo Caribbean music. In fact, it’s hard to choose just one genre as I also love old-school soul music and South African vocal house.

When I’m getting ready for a night out, I listen to… 90s R&B and current hip hop, with songs I know every single word to. Think P Diddy, Tupac, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. Add in a dash on Mariah Carey and I’m set.

My favourite album right now is… We're All Alone In This Together by Dave. Another favourite is Sinead Harnett’s recent album, Ready Is Always Too Late

My favourite album of all time is… The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It’s such a classic and every song is so, so good. My other top choice has to be Bluestars by Pretty Ricky; I know every single word on it, top to bottom. I could even tell you the track list without having it in front of me. I was so obsessed with Pretty Ricky back in the day, it’s really nostalgic for me now. I was far too young to be singing the lyrics of his songs when I was younger – it felt a bit risqué!

If I was going to a desert island and had to take just one song with me, I’d choose… Never Too Much’ by Luther Vandross. It reminds me of my mum, and all the people I love know how much it means to me. It’s like a big comfort blanket – one I’d probably need on a desert island!

The type of music I listen to on holiday… really depends on where I’m going. When I’m relaxing with a G&T or cocktail, it has to be Luther Vandross and Snoh Aalegra. Snoh’s albums are the soundtrack to my holidays, but I also love putting on Kranium – in my opinion, he’s quite underrated as a Jamaican artist – as well as Koffee. If I’m on a party holiday, somewhere like Ibiza, I’d put on vocal house mixes. 

When poolside, I love playing… throwback R&B tunes, like Usher and Mya, followed by island vibes from Beenie Man, Sean Paul and Beyoncé. When the cocktails are flowing, I pick up the pace with some funky house mixed with reggae. I love those old-school songs that tell you what to do, like ‘dance to the right’ – always so fun.

Because I present a radio show, I’m very lucky that I get a lot of music emailed to me, so I spend a lot of time listening to music from my inbox, whether that’s unreleased songs or upcoming hits.

On a girls’ trip, my friends and I listen to… a playlist I’ve usually made on Spotify. We normally listen to old-school R&B and classic club bangers with a few guilty pleasures (especially if I’m with my northern friends) like H Two O, ‘Babycakes’ by 3 Of A Kind, and ‘Let Me Love You’ by Mario. 

The track that always gets me on the dancefloor is…So Mi Like It’ by Spice. If the DJ plays it, my friends always look to me like ‘Oh go on’, and then the twerking starts…

My top three start-of-the-weekend tunes are… Dakiwe’ by South African DJ Lady Du – it’s so powerful. I also love Elton John and Years & Years’ version of ‘It’s a Sin’ by Pet Shop Boys, as well as ‘Superman’ by Black Coffee. 

At a house party, the playlist has to include…Wild Side’ by Normani and Cardi B and ‘Days Like This’ by Shaun Escoffery. There should also be some songs from Burna Boy, J Balvin, Mary J. Blige and Lotto Boyzz. There’s a South African house collective I loved called Kreative Nativez who have a lot of great music made for house parties. In terms of the vibe, it’s all about dancing, meeting new people and enjoying great food. I normally provide the food and ask my friends to provide the bar. 

To listen to music, I mainly use… Spotify and SoundCloud. Because I present a radio show, I’m very lucky that I get a lot of music emailed to me, so I spend a lot of time listening to music from my inbox, whether that’s unreleased songs or upcoming hits. 

My favourite UK rappers and MCs right now include… Little Simz, Ghetts, Manga Saint Hilare, Wretch 32 and Young T & Bugsey. 

To unwind, I listen too… Anderson .Paak… with a glass of wine. 

The up-and-coming artist everyone should know about is… Tendai who recently signed to the new Def Jam UK label. His debut single ‘Not Around’ is great. Bea Anderson is another one to watch, her song ‘Nauseous’ is stunning. BenjiFlow and ENNY are also both up there. It’s great to see so many new R&B artists from the UK, particularly female ones, who are making waves in the music industry right now.

When I want a good cry, I listen to… Perfect Ruin’ by Kwabs. I can’t listen to it without welling up, even if I’m driving my car. It doesn’t remind me of a particular time, but the words and melody move me so much. The music video is beautiful, too – his storytelling brings me to tears every time without fail. 

My guilty pleasure is… anything by Daniel Bedingfield. ‘If You’re Not the One’ is a big tune. Also, I’m not ashamed to admit this but I used to be a huge fan of Blazin’ Squad when I was younger. During my indie phase, I listened to Panic! At The Disco and Jamie T on repeat. 

Inspired? Here are 5 of Yasmin’s favourite Spotify playlists…

Follow @YasminEvans

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