PAN M 360: In a few words, how would you describe your career path?
Jäde: My musical career started when I was about 10 years old. Actually, my sister was making music, she had a guitar, she was writing songs, all that. She’s a year older than me, we often hang out together. Our favourite activity was making music when we came home after school. Then we bought a microphone, we started recording, and then time goes by. I was doing my baccalaureate in Lyon, and I wanted to go to Paris, because I think it’s a bigger city and it might offer me more musically, and also just because I wanted to move around a bit. I arrived in Paris and met people who are in the same delirium as me, musically, there were a lot of events that I found cool, I met producers. So I made friends with these kinds of people and then, from there, they tell me, “hey, I’m doing production”, and I tell them, “I sing”, and, from there, I started the Jäde thing.
And then, voilà, I released songs on SoundCloud around 2016 and I started singing in French, something I didn’t do at the very beginning. From the very first song, I started getting feedback, even from record companies and so on. After that, I put out a first project on SoundCloud, which is two years old, then I was offered concerts, I even had a group, we did small shows for a year, there were five of us on stage, I’ve got a guitarist, really, it’s cool. And then I signed to a label, the label where I am today, called Entreprise, which works with the label Sony Als+O. And now we’re working on a new EP that was released last week.
PAN M 360: Why Jäde?
Jäde: The umlaut is just for SEO, there’s no story, it’s just a name that I like, it’s a nice precious stone.
PAN M 360: Why the title Première fois (“first time”)?
Jäde: First of all, for sure, I arrive with a kind of mini-calling card, you know, where I try to show the different sounds I can do, the different universes I like, and I think because it’s the first time I do a project where I have people helping me in the studio, for the mixes and so on, it’s the first time I do a something solid. That was the real beginning, the ‘first time’ for that. And also because there’s a delirium, ‘first time’, in the sense, as I often talk about relationships with boys, love and so on, there’s this thing, when you think about the ‘first time’, you think about your own first times, and there’s this delirium in the lyrics of the EP.
PAN M 360: Where does this vintage pop universe that you’ve built yourself come from?
Jäde: So, ‘vintage pop’, I don’t really get it when people say that (laughs), but I think I understand a bit!
PAN M 360: Actually, it sounds like you’re a mix of Kali Uchis, Ravyn Laena and Tengo John.
Jäde: It’s true, Kali Uchis, I listened to her a lot and watched all her videos because she’s had this crazy identity, for a very long time. I’m an artist and I think she’s been a good influence for me. I like anything that’s a little bit rosy-picture, sweet stuff, because it reflects the clichés of love, all that, so it speaks to me, but on the other hand, I’m not too smooth and too into it either, so I try to counterbalance with other things so it’s not too vintage, too rosy and so on, but it’s still a facet of my personality.
PAN M 360: Your lyrics are worthy of the French language, rich in alliterations and double entendres, and your strength lies in the fact that even when sung, they have a rap feel to them. So what are your influences in hip hop?
Jäde: So frankly, there’s all the rap today, French rap anyway, I listen to a lot, it’s everywhere. I used to listen to a lot of artists from Lyon, like Jorrdee, Lyonzon, all those are people I see, people I know a bit and who have a great vibe, I think, a bit different from what’s being done, it speaks to me. Then, honestly, all those who do like PNL, Hamza… I don’t listen a lot but I like it a lot. As for the United States, I’m a bit lost, even if I know it comes from there.
PAN M 360: What about rapping, do you do it or would you like to do it?
Jäde: Well, as you say, there are rap ideas in there, it’s a bit like I like this delirium, but it’s true that I couldn’t just do a rap project, or really get into a “I’m the latest new rapper” mode. It would be weird for me because I’m really a singer, I love to sing, so it wouldn’t be like that. On the other hand, as I have songs, sometimes, which are more in that direction, more trashy songs and so on, I still want to be given that credibility, you know. When I try to do things a bit more in that direction, I want people to say, yes, it’s trap. Not just an R&B singer, if the sound isn’t that way. But people have a hard time with that, you know, because it’s easier to label everyone, they don’t really know where to put me, they’re a bit lost.
PAN M 360: That’s exactly what makes your work so rich.
PAN M 360: Who’s behind the music of this EP? How do you make a track?
Jäde: These songs, honestly, I built them at home first. Usually I get beats, beatmakers or friends of mine send me beats by email, and I record and write at home. Once I’ve got a demo, I go to the studio, and if I can, I bring in the guy who did the production, so we can revisit it a bit, I re-record my own vocals, if need be, I rewrite the lyrics a bit and we rework the track, we make arrangements. Sometimes we’ll call a guy to play drums, to play bass, that kind of thing, I’ve done a lot of that on this project. All in all, it’s not the best process to make songs. Now, looking forward, I try to change a little bit, to start everything in the studio. I’m afraid I’ll lose the initial thing, the vibe of the moment. But the truth is, because I’ve got my microphone at home and I’m at home a lot, I often write at home first.
PAN M 360: You sing, “I want five stars, what’s wrong with that, I know what I’m worth and it’s a lot”. Is this second degree just playing with clichés, or do you think there’s something really meaningful in your lyrics?
Jäde: (laughs) There’s a purpose in the lyrics, because there are clichés about girls needing men to buy them things, that kind of thing, you know, and it’s boring because it’s bullshit (laughs)! That’s why you need a guy who’s going to buy you clothes, cars, restaurants or, I don’t know, hotels. So, me, I want that kind of thing because, of course, it’s always nice to have nice things, but I can have it on my own too and that’s better.
PAN M 360: You address boys in a very uncomplicated way, is that you in real life?
Jäde: (laughs) It’s so funny, but it’s so much like that, I have to say that word in all my songs at least 100 times. But yeah, I have to admit I’ve got a serious lack of complexes, I’m not crazy or anything! What’s weird about my songs is I’m really open about certain things, like sex and stuff, and the truth is, I’m a totally normal girl – in other words, I’m not, like, obsessed or anything (laughs). I’m not going to talk about that, like that, with just anybody, that’s what’s a bit weird actually. It’s just that, as a result, people are going to have a slightly delirious image of this chick, when I’m not that. I was raised in a family where we’re very open, without taboos, we speak freely, and that’s different from other people, I speak easily about these things. So, yeah, I’m uninhibited, but I’m not a crazy person.
PAN M 360: There’s another thing you say at the very beginning, it’s that, no matter what the lyrics are, we love the sound. Would you like to export yourself and your projects one day?
Jäde: Of course, besides that, we’re trying to see where it works according to the feedback. There’s Canada, so that’s cool, Germany… I won’t be able to vocalize in another language, it’s not possible, and in any case, staying in my French thing and trying to please the outside world, that would be the dream. It’s complicated but I think it can be done. For example, Rosalia, she killed it while singing in Spanish, you know. If I export my work, so much the better, but it’ll be in French.
PAN M 360: It’s not easy to make songs in French, and your lyrics are simple but well worked out.
Jäde: Nah, it’s actually super hard (laughs). My lyrics are simple, you have to try to find a little recipe, because at the beginning I was trying to do something well written and, as a result, to be a bit in poet mode. You realize that it’s not natural, and therefore weird, but you don’t want to do something too much like SMS text language, because it’s a bit cheap, it’s really in-between (laughs). You’ve got to find the middle ground, that’s what’s complicated.
PAN M 360: Are there other facets we haven’t yet seen? Any ideas for the future?
Jäde: There are other things that I’m still experimenting with, that I’m going to share in the future, but for the first project, I still need to do this a while to stake out my identity, because if I go all over the place, people won’t understand my foundations, but I’m already experimenting with electro (laughs), things that have nothing to do with me, but in the end, it’s going well, so there are a lot of things to test again. I’m just going to focus on a longer format with more tracks for next time, so I can really show more stuff.
PAN M 360: Last little question: we know that the coronavirus has put a lot of things on hold, but what are your future projects in terms of live shows?
Jäde: Well, that’s fucked up. The only gig that is still going on is in November, because it’s my release party six months late (laughs), so maybe we’ll celebrate another project at the same time. All the summer projects are cancelled. After that, we are working on sounds in the studio and we will be able to move ahead quickly because we have only that to do, so we spend some time in the studio, and then we shoot some videos, and then go back as soon as possible.
PAN M 360: And do you have any collaborations planned?
Jäde: Yeah, well, on this project, there weren’t any, so now I want to invite people for the next one. On the other hand, I really need to invite people I like. I’m going to try to collaborate especially with Lyonzon, and to open up and try to get out of this wave because there’s a lot of other people, but yes, I’m planning strong collaborations.
PAN M 360: Great, thanks. What are your plans for the day ahead?
Jäde: Right now, I’m going to do some sunbathing, it’s nice out.