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Women Who Rock: Courtney Yasmineh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Family tragedy, a teenaged runaway, living in an abandoned cabin in the woods. It may read like the lyrics to a song, but it's singer-song writer Courtney Yasmineh's reality.

"When I was 16 in Chicago, my dad was indicted for insider trading," Yasmineh said.

The fall out was hard and fast. Yasmineh ran away.

"I stole one of the cars. Part of the myth of the story is that it was one of my dad's jaguars," she said. "I don't remember anymore. But anyway ..."

She drove to her late grandfather's empty cabin on the Iron Range and took up residence, all by herself. Yasmineh enrolled in Tower Suedan High School and worked at a resort playing music. All was good until the pipes froze, and the furnace ran out of oil.

"How would you ever know how long it's going to last?" Yasmineh said. "So it ran out. And they didn't plow Birch Point because they didn't think anyone lived down there."

The principal took an interest in Yasmineh, understanding that there was likely more going on than she let on. He bought her a bus ticket to St. Paul, where she was accepted on scholarship to Macalester College, and worked in the admissions office.

"I worked with those ladies all four years, and they were like nice moms to me," Yasmineh said. "It was awesome. I graduated, and they totally saved me. They did."

Yasmineh marched along in a conventional set of circumstances: marriage, children, advertising job. And 20 years passed.

"I woke up one day and was like, 'The heck with this.' And I wrote a new batch of songs," Yasmineh said.

She formed a band, recorded and released a record. That was 10 years, four albums and an EP ago.

Women Who Rock: Courtney Yasmineh
(credit: CBS)

"It was 10 years ago that everyone explained to me that I'm too old to do this," Yasmineh said. "Now I'm 10 years older, and I don't feel like I'm too old to do this."

With a recent appearance at SXSW, several European tours and an upcoming album, Yasmineh is finally doing what she loves full time.

"It just seems like a lot of fun things are happening," Yasmineh said. "And I like the word fun a lot now."

Yasmineh's recent album is called Wake Me Up When It's Over. To learn more and hear where you can listen to her perform, visit

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