New Audio: Cameroon’s Jade Jana Releases a Pan African, Feminist, Club Banger


Jade Jana is an emerging, Yaounde, Cameroon-based singer and Afro pop artist. Deeply influenced by her maternal grandmother, who also an artist, a young Jade Jana found herself drawn to music at a very early age. As a child, she took part in public performances during religious ceremonies, eventually becoming the mascot of the children’s choir that her big sisters Aurelie, Rachel and Irene founded.

Her first time performing in a musical group came when her bass playing brother Martin asked a then-seven year old Jana to step in for the lead singer of his college band. Several years later, while a teenaged member of the local classical church choir, Jana started her first group VAST, which featured her best friend LilI Blandine. While a member of VAST, Jana met pianist Mbo’o Tchinda. Tchinda would become instrumental to a young Jana: Tchinda taught the rising Cameroonian singer the basics of jazz and blues.

Jana eventually relocated to Douala, where she met Calvin Yug and collaborated on S-Team’s full-length debut. Shortly after, she started a second group MARAKASS. MARAKASS played at Douala’s French Institute and made waves with “Te Wa Mbara,” which appeared in the 2006 compilation Francophonie du Midem. She then spent the next two years working on her own material, re-emerging in 2010 when she opened for Henri Dikongue.

Jana then collaborated with hip-hop act Afropeen Lyonnais Tchopdye, joining the act on a handful of French tour dates. She also collaborated with Lyonnais, appearing on Les Monstroplantes  — while touring with her own electro poppet Son Of Tube. With those experiences under her proverbial belt, the Cameroonian artist decides that it’s finally time to go solo, releasing material under her own name that thematically explores all the encounters that have one way or another influenced who she is today.

“Sassaye.” Jada Jana’s solo debut is an infectious and hook-driven track that draws from a variety of sources across the African Diaspora: there’s elements of soukouss, Cameroonian pop, Mandingo melodies and Caribbean groove and Jana’s sultry vocals. And while being a Pan African club banger, the track is simultaneously a bold and defiantly feminist anthem that calls out a specific type of man — a sort of fuckboi. “A sassaye is an easy man, who gets bogged down in his game of seduction and who too often forgets his dignity,” Jana explains.