Jäde is Ready for the Spotlight with Her New EP "Première Fois"

Photo credits: Fifou

Hailing from Lyon, France’s third-largest city, Jäde is about to unveil her very first EP, Première Fois, on May 15th.  Her musical universe includes R&B that borrows as much from trap as from pop, lascivious melodies, and disarming punchlines.  With her warm and singular voice, Jäde tells stories that tackle modern love and other generational themes, with an incisive and fair pen.  CJLO caught up with the young artist about her origins, her new EP, and figuring out how to deal with COVID-19.

I read that you started singing when you were very young and that you started music, by chance, when your sister received a guitar as a gift.  What convinced you to make music professionally?  Have you ever had doubts about yourself or from those close to you about the choice?

My passion for music came to me at an early age, yes!  The idea of making a career out of it came to me by watching one of my friends develop his own career.  I was 14/15 years old, and I told myself “if he can do it, I can do it too.”

I’m confident in my music, but I always have a doubt when I share my songs.  I like them of course, but I don’t know if the rest of the world will like it.  My entourage, my parents who are very open-minded, and my friends have always supported me and encourage me to do my own thing.

It's been about two years since the release of your first collection of songs, ClichéTape.  Do you consider Première fois to be a continuation of that project, or a new beginning?

Première Fois is not a follow-up or the continuation of ClichéTape.  With this new EP, there’s a much more open and eclectic approach.  It better represents my different facets.  Of course, the foundation remains the same, as my tastes haven’t changed.  I’m still the same girl as two years ago, just an improved version of it.

Your music is labeled simultaneously as R&B, pop, trap, and soul, but it's really a mixture of all of these into one distinctive package.  Do you find that genre labels are limiting or restrictive, either when applied to your music or others?

To be honest, I find it restrictive to apply a particular label on music.  Between “Longtemps” and “Docteur,” I find that there’s a huge gap in the style of these two songs.  But anyway, it’s what people are doing right now in modern music.  There are less boundaries between the different styles and everybody knows it.  Plus, being an “R&B singer” has its appeal, I find that it’s a very stylish label to wear.

You collaborate with several different producers to bring the songs you write to life.  What’s your collaborative process with these producers like?  Do you already have a sound in mind before a beat is made?  Do you see yourself creating your own musical accompaniments for future songs?

The process varies.  A producer can send me some music and then I write and sing on it.  Or, I start to make a beat at home, and then I ask a producer to collaborate with me to finish the song.  Sometimes we start everything at the beginning, back to the acapella version of it, or we keep some of the instruments I played.
Producing songs is a real passion for me. I haven’t really been able to produce something all by myself that I’m 100% proud of, but I’m working on it. 

At its core, what makes a good pop song for you?  Do you have a favorite song or artist that you think best represents the form?

A typical pop song to me is more like a summer hit that you blast while driving your car into the sunset and the freedom that goes with this image.  Like maybe “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics or Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” 

I read on your Twitter feed that you’re not the biggest fan of promoting your music through social media.  How do you reconcile trying to present your daily life and promote your art without being too in-your-face about it?

The pace of social media is very intense.  It goes in all directions.  Sometimes I worry about doing “too much” and my content drowning in the vast pool that is the Internet.  But, people who are following me are fans of my music.  So, if I do content oriented on my music, I think it’s okay.

The banning of shows because of COVID-19 is particularly devastating for newer artists like yourself.  How have you coped with the new reality while trying to make it as an artist with a new release?

The lockdown period forces me to be more creative.  It leaves me time to try new things, like filming and editing the video for “-12°C.”  I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude and learn a maximum of things that I will be able to apply to my music in the near future.

Alex Viger-Collins is the host of Ashes to Ashes, your weekly dose of modern pop, every Tuesday at 8:00 PM EST.