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David Jones

10 Things about ARIA Week performer Montaigne

David Jones continue to recognise young, emerging artists and in the lead-up to the biggest celebration of Australian music, the ARIA Awards, we profile three musicians who are part of the next wave of Australian talent. 

Meet Montaigne, whose philosophical moniker is just an indication of her intellectual approach to making music.

It was only 3 years ago in 2012 when Montaigne first came to Australia's attention as a finalist for triple j's Unearthed High. Taking a break to complete her HSC, she's now back with a brand new EP and poised to reclaim her spot in the Australian music scene. With a sound compared to indie pop ingenues like St. Vincent and Bat for Lashes, there's a lot to discover about Montaigne.

1. Her real name is Jessica Cerro.

And she's from Sydney.

2. Her artist name is based off the French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne.

An avid reader, Montaigne was impressed by Montaigne's (the philosopher) approach to living life to the fullest. "He was the YOLO of his day," she says.

3. Lizzy Maguire was her first musical idol.

"I started singing from a young age," recounts Montaigne. "And I would watch the Disney show, Lizzy Maguire, and sing along and make up dances to it."

4. But the first song she sang in front of a live audience was "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan.

Hey, it was a hit song back in 1997 — and it was at her high school for Grandparents' Day.

SHOP Montaigne's looks, from left to right: 'The Modern Love' playsuit by The Fifth Label; 'Gene' Denim Jacket by J Brand; 'Carter' Long Sleeve Shirt by Rails; High Boy Short by Nobody Denim

5. She tried to grow dreadlocks in high school.

"I was a massive hippie then," says Montaigne. "I tried to grow them [dreadlocks] but it just wasn't happening. Finally my mum took me to the hair salon and it took 45 mins to comb out my hair, then I had it all cut off."

6. Montaigne's first show was supporting dreamy indie pop quartet San Cisco.

San Cisco's Run tour was where Montaigne quickly had to get comfortable performing live onstage with her band. "It was the first tile to paving the road to glory," she wryly grins.

7. She channeled a femme-punk look for her first show.

"I wore a crop top with a black tulle skirt and boots. But I don't wear too many dresses or skirts now when I perform," she admits.

SHOP Montaigne's look, above: 'The Happening' Crop Top by Cameo'Rocket' High Rise Jeans in Coated Black by Citizens of Humanity

8. Freddie Mercury is her current style idol. 

"My clothes need to be easy to perform in but also looks cool...so sometimes a Freddie Mercury-inspired outfit of a simple tank top and jeans works for me."

9. Androgynous is how Montaigne describes her style.

And also, pragmatic.

10. She's super-stoked to perform for the Sony Showcase during ARIA Week.

Check out Montaigne singing alongside Drapht, Tonight Alive and Samantha Jade at The Beresford Hotel on Monday, 23 November.


Find out more about Montaigne and follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or watch her most recent video, Clip My Wings here.