Montaigne Releases Stunning Sophomore Full-Length Album 'COMPLEX'
Montaigne (aka Jessica Cerro) is sure to be a name and voice you soon won't forget. At only 23 years old, the Australian Latinx-Filipina singer-songwriter has already dominated the charts on her home turf with each single on her debut album Glorious Heights hitting #1 most played on triple j while her certified-Gold single "Because I Love You" hit #25 on triple j's 'Hottest 100' charts.It's no surprise Montaigne has surpassed 15 million streams on her most popular track - the songstress won the 'Best Breakthrough Artist' ARIA Award (equivalent to the US Grammy), was also nominated for Cosmopolitan's 'Fearless Woman Of The Year' Award, and commended by Sia personally following her triple j 'Like A Version' cover of "Chandelier."
Today, she unleashes her sophomore full-length album Complex along with a track by track via Billboard. It's a lot to take in - packed with a punch and a rare sense of profound honesty, it may be exactly what we all needed to hear this year. Complex is, as Montaigne admits, an angry and frustrated record, spawned from a dark time in her life. She's left it behind, but not before documenting it in a way she hopes could help others. "It was written during a period where I was extremely down on myself, not just because of my own insecurities, but I got very ill in a way I couldn't understand and no specialist could understand. It's now medically recognized as burnout but at the time I didn't have that diagnosis which really messed me up. Montaigne chose the album's title not just after the song, but to represent how complicated relationships are both with ourselves and others." She also adds: "I love this album. I think it's important not just for me but for other people. I'm proud of being able to deliver that and share it with other people, give other people a moment of solitary belonging that I've found with music."
Complex is certainly an accurate name for the articulate popstress' sophomore album. Themes will range from loneliness, isolation, distorted love narratives, confused sense of self, the desire to escape, self-image issues and self-realization. On the new collection, Montaigne worked with a wide range of producers including long-time collaborator Tony Buchen (Courtney Barnett, The Preatures), Wynne Bennett (Twin Shadow, Janelle Monae), Kyle Shearer (Dua Lipa, Broods, K. Flay), Mozella (Madonna, Miley Cyrus, One Direction), Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals), Mario Späte (Tkay Maidza, Urthboy, Allday) and Eric J Dubowsky (Flume, St. Vincent, Dua Lipa).
Hardly ever shying away from political debate throughout her career, Montaigne's lead single off Complex is no different. Rallying the youth of today and our future leaders/innovators, the official music video for "Ready" showcases Montaigne leading the pack as they prepare for the revolution amidst the global climate crisis. Teen Vogue went on to praise Montaigne and the duality of the track:"Though the reality and political conversation surrounding climate change are deeply disheartening, the upbeat and firey pace of the song and video represent the underestimated power that this current generation of youth retains." "Ready" is undoubtedly Montaigne's most anthemic single to date, a heartfelt call to arms, and a soundtrack for activism. There's an undeniable element of pop to this song as Montaigne's soaring vocals elevate the chorus, and the irresistible hook "I think I'm ready to go, I think I'm ready," cycles like a mantra around shifting drumbeats. Watch "Ready" now, below.
Like all of Montaigne's music, there is a deeper element, a considered purpose for this song. She explains: "To me the song is about this political moment, where humanity is starting to realize how actually cooked this planet is, that it never had to be like this, and that we have the power now to overthrow those who've forced us into this corner. It's music that I'm proud of representing, because I think that it reflects the feelings swirling around the current political sfest my generation is facing, and it attempts to transform the anxiety amongst those feelings into angry power. It's like a fuel source."
On the "Ready" music video, Montaigne says: "The video is supposed to be a celebration and most importantly encouragement towards the school strikes for climate... 'Ready' is dedicated to young people who are not yet jaded and worn down by the realities of this world. Those who inspire us with the fire of anger against injustice so that we may be galvanized to stand up and demand what is right from our world leaders."
Additionally, she elaborates on the slam poetry introduction and rallying the students for the video shoot: "I saw Fergus perform a slam poem he had written at the first School Strike For Climate in Sydney. I was blown away by how eloquent the poem was, how incisive the metaphorical language was, and how confident he was in presenting this creative creation... so I got in touch with him through Instagram and asked if he'd like to contribute to the video." All in all, the experience was one both Montaigne and the kids will always hold dear. "I think all of us walked away from it feeling like we were a part of something massively special and spiritually permanent. My soul felt very warmed and I felt very heartened about the future."
Montaigne has established herself as one of Australia's most distinctive new lyricists, with a vocabulary that instantly sets her apart from the pack. Now taking her powerful, inspiring music global, Montaigne's set to prove that she's an undeniably exciting one to watch this year on the global front.
Listen to "Ready" here: