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Multiculturalism runs in Jain's blood. Born to French and Madagascan parents, she spent her childhood living in Toulouse, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the Republic of Congo. Constantly moving home, she absorbed elements of the cultures she lived in, learning the darbuka (an Arabic percussion instrument) in Dubai, the drums in France, and beat-making in the Congo.
Putting this musical knowledge to use, Jain wrote songs to cope with continual relocation. “When you're a teenager, it's very hard to always move because you leave your friends, your way of living,” she explains. “And that's why I started writing, to express these feelings of loneliness.” These songs, personal records of Jain's life, form her debut album 'Zanaka', a work that has caught the ears of Chris Martin, Jaden Smith and others.
Her first single 'Come', written at 16, hit Number One on the French charts in 2015. A love letter to friends left behind in Dubai, the song displays a characteristic mix of influences including country guitar riffs, funk bass and reggae pulses. “I just write my everyday life,” Jain says, “I heal myself when I write and that's why there is a lot of hope in my songs.”
This is evident in politically charged numbers like 'Makeba', an homage to South African civil rights activist Miriam Makeba, and 'Heads Up'. Jain wrote 'Heads Up' when she moved to Paris and “far right politics were rising,” she says. “The only thing I could find hope in was music. I yearned for people everywhere to share the feeling that fear shouldn't guide us.” With the lyrics: “Heads up for this time where fear's not a leader / Where open mind is stronger,” Jain's hope prevails.
Jain's audiences dance beyond a political rhetoric of fear to her infectious hooks and inventive rhythms. “Music is stronger than intimidation or politics because music unites people. Politics can change quickly but a good song doesn't; music comes from true feeling.”
WHAT: Positive pop with global rhythms
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Come’, ‘Makeba’, ‘Heads Up’
FACT: Jain learned production from a Congolese beat-maker called Mr. Flash – she’s still unsure of his real name!
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Words: Ammar Kalia
Photo Credit: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Josh Tuckley
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