Meet the artist

Jain

#EALiveInParis

Born in Toulouse 24-year-old musician Jain’s childhood involved more moving around than most. After travelling the world she settled with her family in the Congo (where she wrote her first song) and then Abu Dhabi before returning to Paris to attend art school.

Travelling opened Jain’s eyes to more than just the world - in the Congo she met French musician and producer Mr. Flash who introduced her to musical programming, which lead Jain to upload her own music on MySpace. Next came a manager, and a tour with musician Yodelice, who also produced her debut EP, Hope. And it was this EP that happened to contain Jain’s breakout hit “Come”, which racked up millions of plays on YouTube and made Jain a national star in France. She released her debut album, Zanaka, last year and with a follow up planned for next year, it won’t be long until Jain has the world at her feet.

What is your earliest memory of falling in love with music?

It was when I was about seven years old. I have two big sisters and they both played music, one played guitar and one played saxophone and I wanted to do it too! My parents brought me to a music centre and asked me to choose an instrument to learn so I chose the drums. That’s my earliest memory. My family aren’t professional musicians but we always listened to a lot of music growing up.

You travelled a lot when you were younger. How important do you think travel and multiculturalism is to your music?

I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t travel, it has taught me so much. It’s everything. It’s the reason that I started writing. I wrote my first song in the Congo when I was 16. I was a teenager with a lot of things to say so it was the perfect outlet – my redemption place.

Do you think that travel has helped your sound to evolve?

I think so, because I listened to, and still do, a lot of different styles of music, from African to Arabic when I was in Abu Dhabi. I learnt new rhythms and new ways of singing by listening to that music.

So what inspires your song writing now?

I love hip-hop now. There is such a mix in it, like electro and jazz, which is very inspiring. I love this new group called A1 who are three Israeli sisters and they’re making Arabic hip-hop. It’s so good!

The song you’re performing for EA Live in Paris is called “Heads Up”. What’s the story behind that song?

We’re living in troubled times in Paris and the rest of France, and all around the world so I really wanted to make a hopeful song. It’s my song to fight against fear and division. It’s a song for peace.

Do you find it easier writing from personal experience or the experience of others?

For my recent album I did both. I have no rules about it really; I write what I want to write, but often it is my own experience that I write about.

You started uploading music to MySpace when you were a teenager. How do you think you’ve evolved as an artist since then?

I made my own demos from the age of 16 but I have definitely evolved and my sound is much more professional now. I try to listen to as much music as I can, from all over the world, to inspire me. It’s all about continuing to learn, that is the most important thing. I never want to stay in the same place.

Style and fashion is very important to performers these days, does it feed into your persona and is it something that you think musicians should take notice of?

I think it depends on the musician. After my graduation I did art school for two years in Paris because I really wanted to be a graphic designer and create album covers, so now I try and incorporate art into what I do and my music. It’s very important to have a strong identity as an artist, whether that comes from art or fashion. It’s part of what I love and it helped me to focus on my shows.

How would you describe your personal style?

It’s quite French. I wear a black and white dress to perform in, but I mix it with Air Force Ones so it’s not too strict or rigid. I like to mix style so it’s still quite street.

What drew you to your Emporio Armani outfit for your video shoot?

Like the dress I usually wear it was quite simple but something you can wear in different moods. It can be quite street but also quite chic and stylish, like Emporio Armani. There is a modern edge and I can move in it, which is very important for me!

Tell us what the plan is next?

Next up is the US – Los Angeles, New York and Brooklyn – so there is going to be a lot of travel this year, and a lot of jetlag! I’ll be shooting another music video and I’m writing my second album, which I will record in January. But apart from that I am taking each day as it comes. I’m lucky enough to live this life so I try to enjoy every minute!

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