MONTAIGNE the 16th century French philosopher was known as down-to-Earth and open-minded, which is also a pretty good description for the 21st century Australian singer-songwriter of the same name.
Of course Montaigne is a moniker for the 20-year-old Sydney singer-songwriter Jessica Cerro, albeit one that she has chosen carefully.
“He was an intellectual but he didn’t take himself too seriously and he wasn’t a total w*****. I think it’s possible to be the best person you can possibly be without being pretentious and having feelings of superiority,” she said.
“He was just a good person to model life off or least to emulate the attitude of. I chose the name because of that – I admire him and also because I want people to have that implicit association with me and him.”
Montaigne (the performer) will play in Ballarat this weekend as part of the council’s hugely successful four-part Summer Sundays events.
She said she was excited to visit the city and gauge audience reaction.
“The thing is I like performing full stop. Any opportunity I have to play to people or play on the stage I relish,” she said.
“Playing those areas which tend to have a smaller audience is a nice test or challenge because I find it easy to play to a lot of people as you thrive off their energy, but with smaller audiences you have to make deliberate choices about timing or energy.”
The indie pop artist is known for her powerful and soul-wrenching vocals, and recently toured nationally with San Cisco and Megan Washington. She was discovered as a Triple J Unearthed finalist back in 2012, when she was still at school – but decided to hold off pursuing a musical career until she’d finished her studies.
Despite her unique sound and talent, Montaigne never envisioned success at such a young age.
“I never really had expectations so much; I hope for things but don’t assume or expect things to come to me, especially with music. It’s all a whirlwind; it’s happened quite quickly and I’ve been lucky the time is right and I’ve had the right amount of talent for it,” she said.
“I’m just glad it’s working out.”
Montaigne will release an album this year and is expecting to play the festival circuit, possibly at Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass.
City of Ballarat’s free Summer Sundays program will continue at the Botanical Gardens this Sunday from 4pm to 7pm, with Montaigne joined by country and roots band Arkie T Williams and the Mudlarks and folktronica act A Miner.
Sunday January 31 will be final Summer Sunday installment for 2016, with indie folk group All Our Exes Live in Texas, indie duo Ari & Rhiannon and folktronica musician Thelma Plum.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.