Nima Kasmai, a fourth-year communications student at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), has always been compelled to create music. His earliest memories are from his childhood when he began singing at two years old. Joining the middle school choir further strengthened Kasmai’s love of music, particularly as his passion for songwriting continued to grow throughout the years.
During his first semester of college in 2018, Kasmai took a course specialized in music production, where he was able to learn the ins and outs of recording and producing his own music. He soon released his debut single “BEST FRIENDS,” which has since gone on to become his most-streamed song on Spotify.
“Releasing my debut single was such an exciting experience in itself. I was so excited to finally share my inner thoughts with the world through my music for the first time,” Kasmai said.
The creative process is rather unique for Kasmai. He has been inspired by pop music for as long as he can remember. His many influences include Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, and Britney Spears. Kasmai appreciates these pop singers for their vulnerability in songwriting — especially Spears, whose strength has inspired him to be completely authentic in his craftsmanship.
Kasmai uses his inspirations to ultimately put a twist on whatever music he is creating. He wants to create “something that’s never been done before,” therefore, his music can be described as experimental, but still shaped by pop music. From “BEST FRIENDS” to his newest releases “YOUNG AND IN LOVE” and “HEART ON FIRE,” Kasmai incorporates multiple genres in his music, from country to EDM.
Often, he also finds sparks of inspiration in moments throughout the day whether he is lounging in his apartment or working out at the gym. He starts out with a single line, word or title that initiates the songwriting phase. Typically using his iPhone Notes app, Kasmai uses the moment to let the words build into a completed song.
These moments of inspiration in his day-to-day life are what allow Kasmai to stay true to himself within his music, one of the reasons why he has seen so much success. Under streaming platforms such as Spotify and Soundcloud, the up-and-coming musician has been streamed globally. His song, “BEST FRIENDS,” became a viral sensation in Taiwan in April of 2019.
“It was crazy when I found out,” he said of the song’s popularity. “I was at Coachella seeing artists like Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, and BLACKPINK and had no idea until the week after that I was charting alongside all of them!” Kasmai said. “It was honestly such an exciting few months since the song also went on to have charting moments in countries like France and Germany too!”
Kasmai maintains that the best part of being a musician is being able to tell one’s story. He describes music as “a source of healing,” which becomes a fulfilling process for both him and the listener. Nonetheless, Kasmai relies on creating music to get him through anything he may be going through.
“Music is essential,” he said, considering it to be extremely therapeutic. Releasing music not only allows Kasmai to unleash his innermost feelings but allows listeners to connect and relate with his experiences as well.
Kasmai is very much aware of the challenges that come with being an artist. He reflects on how difficult it is for musicians to not doubt their talent when their music is not received well by an online audience. For the most part, though, he considers himself fortunate to not have endured ongoing online criticism and tells his viewers not to feel pressured to listen to his music.
“If you don’t vibe with [my music], you don’t vibe with it,” Kasmai said.
Kasmai, who is signed to his own record label, KASMAI Records, hopes to independently release even more music in the future. He envisions a future where he is able to work, write and produce for some of his favorite artists and help them with the music distribution process.
Kasmai is currently working on an album set for release later this year, with new songs “YOUNG AND IN LOVE” and “HEART ON FIRE” being available to stream on all music platforms.