“Ooouuu”, chant eager fans as they await Jain at MTelus. It’s the first of two shows she’ll be playing at the historic Montreal International Jazz Festival. For a French singer, the city is one of the few markets outside of Europe that she can truly thrive in.
“Most of her U.S. tour actually had a lot of people from France attending”, explains a publicist from Sony (Jain is signed to the label’s RCA Records) division. After all, this is the singer’s fourth time playing in the city, with her last appearance less than a year ago.
Jain makes her to the stage sporting a blue jumpsuit, with Nike Air Max`s the colours of her country’s flag to match the fit. Her stage setup is sparse, with the only thing with her onstage being a loop station on a podium, and an accompanying arm controller.
This is the indoor Jazz Festival performances that attracted the most children. Not only does Jain’s music transcend language barriers but also helps bring generations of listeners together for a night of sweat and dance.
On the cusp of releasing a new album, Souldier, next month, fans were treated to a handful of new tracks. The songs seem to pick up exactly where 2015’s Zanaka left off, abundant in bounce and swagger. Many people in attendance are already quite familiar with its lead single, `Alright`, and those who weren’t were happy to hum or sing along when given instructions to.
The new song with the most flare to it was undeniably `Inspecta`, which samples the Inspector Gadget theme song over a menacing trap beat. It is more influenced by hip-hop than any other track she plays, showing her strives to continue evolving as an artist. For an artist full of surprises, recording a song inspired by an unprecedented animated hero only makes sense.
Of course, there was only one logical tune to close the night with. `Makeba` crossed over to the North American market with a bang after being featured in a commercial for Levi’s Jeans last summer. While the advertisement currently sits at 25 million hits on YouTube, the song itself has gained double this amount.
Crossing over to North America is no easy feat for French artists. While Jain has some ways to go with the rest of the continent, it is safe to say she has found something of a second home in Montreal.
Jain plays MTelus tonight (6 July)é