Deep Dive: Angelique Jacquet
This quietly trailblazing composer and DJ has found inspiration in classical music and dance classes, but in the stillness of lockdown produced a sophomore album that includes odes to ketchup and Zoe Kravitz.
Angelique Jacquet (Photo: Angelique Jacquet)
We sat screen to screen with Jacquet, live from a fan-filled room in her parents’ house during lockdown in 2021. She’s just released VHS, an electronic record that charts crushes, monumental train journeys and life as a queer young composer on the rise. Surprisingly for an artist’s second album, it’s a coming-of-age body of work.
Then again, when we take a look at some of music’s most revered young stars, their second release was also more reflective and teeming with growth. There’s often an eye roll and some self-consciousness that manifests in comedy and strength not gained during a debut creation. Lorde’s Melodrama, Britney’s I Did It Again, Kanye’s Late Registration. Who can believe that the navel-gazing, revelatory and truly one-of-a-kind Astral Weeks by Van Morrisson was his second release?
Condiments has all the complexity and candour of our fridge’s dearest shelf; The Next Station deals with a time of transformation, love with a new girl and the daily train journey to a new school that Jacquet was left ruminating on these changes; Zoë K is purely an ode to the achingling hip daughter of Lenny.
And the fabulous French name? A stage name, surely? "Well, my dad swears that one of my ancestors was walking through a graveyard and saw a name they liked. So my parents just gave me the name to match it!"
With love and self-progression as comfortable as can be next to pop culture and food references, Jacquet is an artist of the times. Eclectic and honest, her instrumental odysseys are a sublime addition to the queer sphere and beyond. We wanted to hear what’s consistently symbolic to this artist (and very recently, first time performer as she debuted her album online to a crowd of almost 100 RSVPs). Around Pride Month, Jacquet curated a playlist and touched on the moments these artists give her.
“All of her records came out at such major pivotal points in my life, and resonated so much; I hold her as my close favorite artist. ‘Ribs’ isn’t my favourite, but the repetition feels so human in our actions, you know? I made a synth cover of Solar Power recently.”
“The vibe on ‘Peppers and Onions’ is different from her other stuff; it’s like she still knows she’s the shit, but she’s admitting her problems and weaknesses.”
“‘If You Seek Amy’ is songwriting frickin’ genius. Lyrical genius of her trying to bypass radio guidelines and say F-U-C-K on the radio. As a kid I went to these jazz funk dance classes and Britney was huge. Straight people can’t be queer icons when they set out to be such an ally and icon. The guys need to choose you, they don’t need a saviour.”
"There’s a time when I’d download an entire discography when I discovered one song I liked. Adele just makes me cry. I remember listening to ‘Make You Feel My Love’ on my daily commute to college, my regular ass routine, and letting my thoughts spiral into such drama, realising suddenly that my girlfriend might die.”
“‘A Million Dreams’ is a cover of Hugh Jackman’s song for The Greatest Showman for its soundtrack. She nails it. I don’t love her like I love Lorde or Britney, but she’s a great queer figure in her own way.”
“This takes me back to those dance classes, and so many other things. ‘Girl Blunt’ and her other songs was played by this choreographer Brian Friedman who’s huge and my instructors really looked up to, and she also had songs on Issa Rae’s show Insecure and the show Grownish, which is a great spin-off of Blackish. During college I didn’t have time for dance, so when I came back to it, it was a supportive community and the studio is right outside my window so when classes moved online it was so depressing. I felt even more boxed in being able to see the studio right there.”
“I started listening to Paramore as they were my then-girlfriend’s favorite band. ‘Hard Times’ is such a bop, but it’s so clearly about depression. “I still don’t know how I survive it” is a lyric that gets me, and the album After Laughter is just a great record.”
“One of the first queer female artists I heard who really talked about being with women and stuff. This song makes me so sad, it’s so breakup and fight-memory related. “Can we pretend we’re in love?” is a heartbreaking line from ‘Is There Somewhere?’”
“Well, ‘Waterloo’ is my fave from the second Mamma Mia film. How can I not include ABBA in a list?
“Even before I came out, she was strange and weird and special in my eyes and I felt like I somehow related. Also , my mum and brother really loved her. This old indian actress Simi Garewal had this talk show, mostly with Indian stars, and Gaga made her Indian TV debut on this show. She talked about being forced to sit at the piano every day even if you wouldn’t practice, and being grateful for that experience later in life, and I was like ‘ME TOO!”