InTheMusic: Juliette Jemm, interview

Juliette Jemm is a French lady from Paris. But she is a bit Japanese, in her heart. Her productions have a well-defined nature: in her songs, she plays with dreams, wishes and fantasies. She puts a lot of emotions in it. She likes beautiful melodies and making choices of interesting instruments. “Mirage blancs” is her last single, with sad and emotional temperament.

Name: Juliette Jemm
City: Paris
Nazionality: French
Released Tracks: Motto Blonde, Mes Très Chère Soeurs, Mirages Blancs, Jumping In The Sky
Released Album: Motto Blonde
Activity period: since 2016
Genre: French pop
Digital Stores: Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal, ecc.

Who is Juliette Jemm?

Juliette Jemm is a French lady from Paris. But she is a bit Japanese… in her heart. Indeed, she doesn’t look like one, but she lived 8 years in Tokyo so it leaves some traces. When you live so long in such a different country from your own, it changes you. Sometimes, you can hear in her music that some of her inspiration comes from the land of the rising sun. She sings in French, in English…and therefore sometimes in Japanese.

How did you choose the name for your artistic project?

I wanted to call myself “Juliette je t‘aime“, which means “Juliette I love you”. It is not that presumptuous and narcissistic in reality. It is the name of a Japanese manga series from the 80’s originally called “Maison Ikkoku”. I don’t know if you have that in Italy, but when I was a kid in the 90’s, everyone from my generation watched and grew with it, so it is as a nostalgic reference to the Japanese pop anime culture that I chose a similar name: Juliette Jemm. I didn’t know if I was legally allowed to choose the name “Juliette je t‘aime”. So I chose the name “Jemm”. Phonetically, it means “like”. I still don’t know whether or not I can use the name  “Juliette je t ‘aime”, do you think I can? Anyway, I wish I had.

We are curious to learn more about your journey in music. When did you discover this passion and when did you decide to be an artist?

When I was a kid, my parents kind of forced me to play the classical piano at the municipal conservatory. I didn’t know it at the time, but I am grateful they did. Even If I liked music, I wasn’t very good at classical music : I was intimidated by the teachers, I had to repeat my years of music theory a couple of times, and I was often failing in front of audiences during end of the year recitals. When I started to sing, when I was 18, I was very bad at it. My relationship with music has always been a one of failures: not being good enough, always need to improve, lack of self-confidence… but I never gave up and here I am now. I never gave up because I was guided by my desire to create, and my kind of natural gift for writing songs. This gift and this will are stronger than me: I always have ideas that comes to my mind for new melodies, lyrics, themes… It would be a shame not to use them.

Your productions have a well-defined nature. They mirror your personality and this comes straight to the listener. How would you define your style?

In my songs, I play with dreams, wishes and fantasies. I put a lot of emotions in it. I like beautiful melodies and making choices of interesting instruments. I like magical instrumentals that sometimes sounds like cartoon soundtrack or a Disney movie.

You sing in English, in French and sometimes in Japanese. You have lived in Tokyo for several years and many of your inspirations come from the land of the rising sun. How do your influences come together in your productions?

I am inspired by artists such as Yelle, Stromae… and Frida Kahlo. I love British and American pop culture too. And a little pinch of K-pop from the years 2005-2009, it is very precised. The sound I make is naturally impregnated from the years I was in Japan, because living in Japan in itself, was a major inspiration to my music, and to my project Juliette Jemm. The irony of it, is that, for Japanese people, my music Is categorized into the ‘world pop’ section. Because for them, I sound only French.

What are your past productions and who did you collaborate with in the past?

The first song I ever released, “Motto Blonde (Japanese version)”, I did it on my own. My first EP, “Motto Blonde”, that I released  in November 2019, I started to collaborate with producers for it. But I always make the original demos by myself. In the past, I have collaborated with Sugar Sweetie, Julia Mascetti, Jesse The City, and Yonaga orchestra. For my new songs, the one I released recently on January the 21th, “Mirages Blancs”, which is a dark ballad, and for the other songs I made or I am preparing for my full-length album project, they were co-produced with the Japanese composer Shohei Narabe (Drum TAO, Kome Kome Club), and the French artist-producer Nampa. His song  “Fabulous” was a hit in 2018.

“Mirage blancs” is your last single, with sad and emotional temperament. How did you work on it?

The melody, the lyrics and the themes for this song came to me all at once, a few years ago, when I was riding the tube in Tokyo, coming back from a long, exhausting, not making sense day working at the office. So I quickly recorded it before I forget. I love it when the inspiration comes so fast and so quickly. But it is very rare! And a bit mystical, reason why I love this process even more.

The theme is a bit extreme because it talks about suicidal thoughts. Since I released it, some people have expressed their concern about that, worrying about me having those thoughts… but not everything that artists talk about in their songs are real! More often than not, on the contrary. “Mirage blancs” lyrics does not reflect my reality, it is art! It suits to an emotional state that I may have felt at a particular moment in time, but it corresponds to an inspiration, neither a will or a statement. Sometimes you are sad, but it never last for long. Self-development experts will tell you the same: we are not our emotions.

You’ve also released a live version of this song. How was interpreting the song in this new version?

It was completely different because up until the live, I have always worked on the song with the computer and in the studio. I had to restart all over again to perform it with real instruments. I could also play a longer version of it. Therefore, for the live version, I added an extra bridge part before the final chorus, that gives a positive twist to this sad song.

What are your plans for the future?

I am teaching to myself how to play my own songs on the piano, alone, on my own. The idea is to be able to play acoustic versions of my songs, everywhere, anytime. If someone want to hear it. I wouldn’t need anyone or anything, just a piano… but I also want to play them  again with my band! So we are preparing us for it, too.

Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

For the coming weeks, I am releasing a couple of my songs on my channel, every week. At 11:30, CET time. The upcoming one this Sunday is a cover of a French lady rapper called Diam’s. I made a pop-rock version of her anthem-song “DJ”, which is also inspired by the standard song called “Sway”. Other live version of my songs will come after that. Also, it is not because you are ‘not good enough’ at art that you can’t do it. If you want to do it, just do it.

Juliette Jemm for Siloud

Instagram: @juliettejemm
Facebook: @juliettejemm
YouTube: Juliette Jemm

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