Meet Jain, A Musician Of The World

Photo courtesy of JAIN

Get in a ‘Zanaka’ state of mind

Jain walks into the NYLON offices quietly, wearing a pair of black sunglasses to shield her eyes. Though otherwise unassuming, the big, dark eyes that sit behind those shades have seen a whole world, and just how quickly that world can change, revealing an artist who is looking to create changes of her own. And now, following the release of her debut album Zanaka, Jain is starting to make it all happen.

From the mountains of southwest France to the beaches of the Congo, Jain lived a peripatetic life as a young girl, never staying in one place for too long. It was during this time that Jain picked up the various languages and learned about the many cultures and lifestyles of the Arabic, European and African cities she would inhabit. Living life as a nomad during such a formative period of her life contributed to making Jain not only a woman of the world but also something of a universal musician. 

“That multiculturalism is a part of me. It’s how I built myself, and it’s also why I’ve decided to sing. It’s the center of this album,” Jain says to me. “I don’t know if I would have done music if I haven’t lived in different countries.”

Following a long stint in Pointe Noire, Congo, with knowledge of rhythm and Arabic percussion fresh in her mind, Jain began composing her first songs and subsequently met her future manager and producers after posting her work to MySpace.  

The vagabond within Jain shines through in her music—a culmination of the genres that swaddled her as a child and rocked her to sleep. Her sound has elements of Europop, rock, Arabic percussion, with a dash of reggae all mixing together for the perfect musical storm. This sound is evident on Zanaka, an album seemingly with no limits, pushing the bounds of genre identity and utilizing an English that Jain admits “is not a perfect one,” but rather multicultural in which she still feels “understood.”

Jain's emphasis on cultivation and growth, rather than perfectionism and absolutism, is what ties the tracks of the album together and is why the politically charged “Heads Up” seamlessly matches both the funk of the irreverent "Mr. Johnson" and the uplifting and carefree sounds of “Hob” and “Come."

Though her day-to-day life is still constantly changing, Jain brings with her a consistency in spirit, one of hope and resilience. '"Don't be proud if you gain, nor be sorry if you lose,'" Jain quotes aloud. "I often repeat this sentence to myself."

In the midst of a European tour, and looking forward to a newly announced North American tour that touches base in Oregon, Montreal, and New York amongst other cities in 2017, Jain will end her year in her home base of Paris, a proper endpoint for celebrating her “album full of contrasts.” With an aim to “do something original that can move everybody,” Zanaka, with Jain at the steering wheel, reminds its listeners that though it's easy to feel trapped by the restrictions and boundaries that society places on us, we actually live in a world where spreading "hope around" is key and "an open mind is stronger" than the opposite. 

Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.



Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

"In the midst of chaos there's opportunity"

Following the travesty that was Fyre Festival, Ja Rule wants to take another stab at creating a music festival. Good luck getting that off the ground.

On Thursday, the rapper spoke to TMZ, where he revealed that he was planning to relaunch Icon, an app used to book entertainers, which is similar to Billy McFarland's Fyre app. He told the outlet that he wanted to create a festival similar to Fyre to support it.

"[Fyre Festival] is heartbreaking to me. It was something that I really, really wanted to be special and amazing, and it just didn't turn out that way, but in the midst of chaos there's opportunity, so I'm working on a lot of new things," he says. He then gets into the fact that he wants to form a music festival. "[Fyre] is the most iconic festival that never was... I have plans to create the iconic music festival, but you didn't hear it from me."

Ja Rule actually doesn't seem to think he is at all responsible for what came from Fyre Fest, claiming in a Twitter post that he was "hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, led astray." Even if that's his feeling, he should realize that anyone involved with Fyre shouldn't ever try their hand at music festivals again.