The Gift of Being a TCK, Embodied By the French Singer Jain

Cover of Jain and her first album

Jain is a singer and a Third Culture Kid (TCK), a true product of multiculturalism. She is truly a child of the world.

Jain was born in 1992 in Toulouse, France. She spent her formative years in France, Dubai, the Congo and Abu Dhabi due to her father’s job.

It was during her family’s four-year stint in the Congo that she credits for her taste for danceable melodies. Then she and her family spent a year in Abu Dhabi, before she moved back to Paris where she started a pre-art-school foundation course. She also learned how to play drums in Pau.

Jain learned Arabic percussion in the Middle East and musical programming in the Congo. Her travels truly impacted her musical style.

Jain (via Instagram)

Her first album, Zanaka, was released on November 6, 2015. “Zanaka” is a Malagasy word used to describe a child who has not yet reached adolescence; Jain was fully aware that she had a lot of learning and growing up to do yet, and the title is a tribute to her mother who is of Franco-Malagasy origin.

Success may have arrived overnight, but Jain’s talent had been brewing for years, collecting influences from multiple countries and a myriad of musical genres. As she briefly said: “It happened fast, very fast. But it took seven years.”

At first blush, “Makeba” was inspired by Miriam Makeba, a South African singer, civil rights leader, and Mama Africa herself. This might be flagged as “#problematic” by U.S. listeners for cultural appropriation by a neo-colonialist. But from an interview, she said her art comes from a place of experience and appreciation, not only for the African continent, but for its kaleidoscope of cultures, art and music.

Being a TCK for some people tends to spawn a lot of confusion and problems when growing up. At the same time, you receive an invisible gift from your different experiences. If people can correctly and positively face the differences they possess, the advantages you achieve from the experiences of being a TCK can be your inspirations. Jain, based on her diverse upbringing, has become a unique singer, and her audience can be anyone from any culture.

As Jain told The Independent in an interview:

Music is all about travelling… electronic music was actually from Harlem and Chicago, and it came to France… music is open-minded and has always travelled, every country takes something from another, and that’s what makes the richness of music. When you use something, a particular rhythm, you’re not stealing it, you’re bringing it together with something else for a different sound.

Jain (via Instagram)
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