I recently had the opportunity to interview Montaigne. Though I'd already heard of her, I managed to dig up some interesting nuggets. A copy of the interview (audio) has been included below.
Montaigne, or Jess Cerro, is one flamboyant, highly-confident gal. She's young. Yet mature. Whilst many musicians are associated with recklessness, eccentricities, twerking, Jess defies all that. Hailing from a religious, academically-minded, highly supportive family, she attributes her success to her values. One which puts a premium on education; proactive learning. Does conservatism equal boring? No. In fact, Jess debunks that myth. Jess's virtue, implying sober ain't so bad! In fact, her gravitas affords a clarity to better scrutinize this world, and reject it's superficialities.
Triple J Unearthed High finalist of 2012, Jess's consistently proven herself. With hits such as "Anyone But Me", "I'm a Fantastic Wreck", and recent "Clip my Wings", her concerts frequently sell out well in advance. Stats alone, a testament. But what is it about her that's spawned such success - so early? Intellect? Skill? Style? Beaut' tracks? In my humble opinion, something else: boldness. She wants to create what she wants to create. And, why not? Especially when avant-garde produces dividends. Will everyone like her? No. Does it matter? No. When you're on the cutting edge, you're naturally going to elude some, maybe repel. Me? (and this is well before I was asked to interview her, by the way). Six thumbs up. Not only catchy, engaging, but refreshing! Personally, I've had a gutful of music (and movies for that matter) that submit to the same old formulae - as if shaped with a fast deteriorating template.
All in all, it's pretty obvious Jess's talented. If not, multi-talented. But to fully understand her involves digging deeper. Like Bruce Willis drilling into an asteroid (okay, that analogy was dreadful), I wanted to delve into Jess's inner workings. I knew she was smart, sharp, avid learner. But I wanted to tap into the core. I wanted to know what truly differentiates 20yo Jess Cerro from the pack. You know what, I may have succeeded (not promising anything though). I think it's this: the way she incorporates academia (studying theories, literature, philosophers etc) with creativity. Her process, not only adding substance, but also fortifying. Yes, she knows what she wants, but her approach underpins. It not only bolsters the assembly phase, but also permits a self-directed career; honest self-appraisals.
As much as Jess enjoys taking us on a journey, she's now seeking to broaden herself. Does this involve sacrificing the aforementioned? I don't think so. I think it's a mere desire to invite her fans in. For instance, Clip My Wings. Not only just as catchy, but also danceable. It's not only in terms of her tunes however. But performances. Jess mentioning to me, one objective for her upcoming tour being to 'fun it up'. To summarize Jess (and though she might lament this), I personally see a resemblance to Madonna, in terms of how formidable both divas are.