JAIN

Performed in Sofar NYC

It takes just a few seconds of listening to Jain to know that you’ve stumbled on someone special. Pick a song – any song – from the Parisian’s glorious, globe-trotting debut album, Zanaka, and the effect is the same. Instantly, you’ll be startled, smitten and smiling. It took about a minute for the audience at this year’s French Grammys, Les Victoires de la Musique, to anoint Jain pop’s most compelling new star. Performing her song Come at the televised ceremony, surrounded by dancing doppelgangers, backed by masked drummers and blaring brass, Jain stole the show as the crowd leapt from their seats in disbelief. The following day, Come was at No.1, helping to propel Zanaka to platinum sales in France within a couple of months of its release. Come has since spread across Europe, going gold in Poland, Top 10 in Belgium and storming up the charts in Germany and Italy. Its wacky video has more than 20 million views on YouTube. Jain has received rave reviews for every stop on her tour with Christine and the Queens. That the 24 year old hadn’t released any music until last summer attests to her ability to ambush listeners. Quite simply, she sounds like no one else in pop. Success may have arrived overnight, but Jain’s joyous, sun-soaked, rhythm-driven sound had been brewing for years, collecting influences from multiple countries and a myriad of musical genres – Arabic percussion, African rhythms, electro, reggae, soul and hip hop among them. As the petite singer succinctly puts it: “It happened fast, very fast. But it took seven years.” Zanaka means childhood in Malagasy, Jain’s mother’s native tongue and is a telling title. The album’s ten songs are a diary that documents the singer’s life from 16 to 23, although some influences date back even further – to the Manu Chao, Youssou N’Dour and Miriam Makeba records her French father and half-Madagascan mother played at home in Toulouse, to the drums Jain took up aged seven and the family’s first big move, to Dubai, when she was nine.

Videos by JAIN