Jeanne Galice, more commonly known by her artistic moniker, Jain, might be young, but her unique continent-hopping sonics have been brewing for years. Her rare itinerant upbringing allowed her to collect and sample a myriad of musical genres to make music. Jain is acutely aware of the ever-evolving musical landscape, connoisseur of the sounds that have shaped cultures around the world to contemporary rave classics, particularly, French Electronic music alike.
Her debut album Zanaka (2015) – “child” in Madagascan – is a carefully curated assemblage of African rhythms, electro-swing, reggae, soul and hip-hop all in one. As we travel in time, the singer-songwriter shares that ‘Makeba’ was inspirited by the work Mama Africa aka Miriam Makeba.
Makeba was a South African singer, a songwriter who wrote several songs against the governmental policies, took a stand against the countries apartheid, and became a symbol of opposition to the system. Upon her death, Nelson Mandela said that “her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.”
Jain reminisces her infancy, and how her mother used to play Makeba’s songs to her. As conversation develops, she shared that she’s delighted that fans, especially the young mothers among them, have reached out to her confirming that her intention behind the single had been fulfilled, carrying Miriam’s name and artistic legacy to the next generations.
“I just thought that was really sad, that people my age didn’t know who she was, or her legacy”. – Jain notes – “I had messages from young mums that were listening to ‘Makeba’, and then they told me that their child was singing Pata Pata. It was adorable. “
Zanaka’s tremendous success would take Jain from the glorious streets of Paris to a tour, supporting one of France’s most known prodigies; Christine and the Queens.
Comfortably sitting in a red sofa in West London, Jain shared stories of her nomadic lifestyle, and how being constantly exposed to different cultures on tour, being greeted by people that were just excited to see her on the daily, has provided an endless source of creative stimuli, and it was during this tour that she wrote most of her second album: Souldier.
“I didn’t want to do another song like Makeba. I wrote the songs on the tour bus, in between the shows, and days off. At the end of the tour, I already had all the demos for the album. I was inspired by the show and the live music for this album. Much more than I was for the first one.”
‘Souldier’ is an expansive album that is full of meaning. This body of work carries Jain’s quest to innovate forward, creating music that sounds like everything you know, but as you have never listened to it before: the perfect antidote to life’s endless to-do list.
If you pay close attention, there are some lyrics in this project that will allow you to get to know Jain a bit more, and you can evidently denote growth between projects. I suggest you lend your ears to her first love song, ‘Dreams’, ‘Inspecta’ her refreshing re-interpretation of Inspector Gadget’s theme, the uplifting combo of brass and percussion inspired by backyard parties in Congo in ‘Flash (Point Noir), and ‘Souldier’ written after the shootings in Orlando.
Jain moved from Toulouse to Dubai at the age of 9 for Dubai, where she spent three years; then lived for four years in Congo, which she credits for her taste for percussion-led, danceable melodies, followed a year in Abu Dhabi, before moving back to Paris.
“I had to move back to move forward all my life. Moving from Congo to Abu Dhabi just for one year was tough. You have to leave your friends and your gang.“ – She proceeds – “ I was sad. It was a hard time.”
Over an arabesque melody, inspirited by the cities Pakistani and Indian communities, in ‘Abu Dhabi’, Jain recites the natural resistance we build when we are pushed out of our comfort zone. When you resist, pain persists, and you shut down the endless possibilities that might await us if we just let it flow, and push ourselves to try something new with no expectations. For Jain, it was joining a band, the Macumbaz.
“I had my first band [that year]. That’s the only way I could move forward from my experience in Congo. Now I realised that I had the best year of my life there.” – Jain comments how she developed a negative into a positive.
Jain credits this year as one of the best of her life – the one where she allowed herself to soak in the city’s rich musical culture that has been hidden in plain sight all along.
Having toured the US and Canada for the past seven weeks, Jain’s set to return to the British Island next week. For us, Londoners, Jain plays at Electric Brixton on Tuesday 27th. There’s also announced dates for next year, for full schedule visit www.jain-music.com