Chinese-American Sisters Breaking Barriers With Their Voices - NBC Southern California

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Chinese-American Sisters Breaking Barriers With Their Voices

The Jazmin Sisters have appeared on NBC's "America's Got Talent" and MTV's "Top Pop Group"

The Jazmin Sisters are making a name for themselves in the music world while honoring their Chinese-American heritage. Hetty Chang reports for the 2016 NBC4 Asian Pacific Heritage Month Special. (Published Saturday, May 14, 2016)

Four Chinese-American sisters who began harmonizing almost as soon as they could talk are breaking barriers and stereotypes.

Hear the voices of the Jazmin Sisters and it's hard not to get hooked. After hearing Nadia, Felicia, Daria and Celia sing at a community event a few years ago, I knew I wanted to know more. After all, this is a Chinese-American girl group breaking barriers in an industry where there are very few like them.

The girls say they take some listeners by surprise.

"I was taken aback by people who would say, 'You're Chinese and you can sing and dance?' Yeah, Chinese people can sing and dance, too! It's normal," Daria says.

Indeed, it was normal at the Jazmin household. They were raised in the San Fernando Valley by a pastor father and a music teacher mother.

"Our mom would play, we would sing, daddy would preach, and that was life," Felicia says.

Their early musical influences were the vinyls records mom and dad put would play. The sisters grew up singing at their father's church, but their R&B style - part soulful, part playful and all their own - is a mix of many musical influences from their diverse upbringing.

"We love Jackson Five, Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald - Beach Boys for sure because they loved harmonies," Nadia says.

The sisters would get plenty of practice getting their harmonies just right.

"Whenever there was a special occasion, whether it was Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, he would just be, 'Oh, let's sing something today,'" Nadia says. "So we're like, OK let's pull something up. Harmonies on the way to church."

In their very first talent show, youngest sister Daria was just 2 years old, napping in the audience, until she heard her sisters sing.

"As soon as I heard the music come on and I heard there were up there, I woke up from my nap and walked up on stage," Daria recalls.

Little did they know Daria would steal the show once again, so many years later on a much bigger stage when she appeared as a contestant on NBC's hit talent show, "The Voice."

"I felt like it was a dream," Daia says. "It was an out-of-body experience."

It was also an experience that came full circle for her and her sisters.

"Going from not seeing someone like you on TV and then being on TV and you're that person to someone else, it was so cool," Daria says.

"We want to show kids out there that you can be whatever you want to be," Nadia says.

The sisters' soulful songs are a playful mix of their parents' classics and homage to the 90s classics of their own.

"As you grow older you realize there's a different world out there and I found out there was hip hop. There's Tupac, there's Snoop (Dogg)," Nadia says.

When they found their identity, they say the name Jazmin Sisters just fell into tune.

"We were just trying to find a name that just really could show our Chinese side and the Jazmin flower is something that represented that," Nadia says. "It means style and grace and happiness."

Their Chinese-American identity is something the sisters wear proudly.

"Your path, even if it's written, you don't know it," Nadia says.

The Jazmin Sisters have appeared together on NBC's "America's Got Talent" and MTV's "Top Pop Group." They are working on releasing a full-length album soon.

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