AS the name suggests, Montaigne’s second album covers a range of complex issues.
But to sum it up simply, she says it’s “my life”.
Due out August 30, Complex deals with an ex-boyfriend with a messiah complex, gaslighting, body image, loneliness, long distance love, self-loathing, being a people pleaser, gaming, sex robots, gender pay imbalance, burnout, environmental issues and a serious health battle.
“I don’t deliberately think ‘I’ll tackle this issue now’ but when I get into the studio it’s based on whatever I’m experiencing in that period of time,” the singer-songwriter born Jessica Cerro said.
“So a lot of the songs are just about my own internal monologue and things I’ve noticed about myself and things I want to change, or don’t want to change, or struggle changing, and often the relationships that have naturally arisen out of my own propensity for certain traits and behaviours.”
But despite looking at a darker side of life, nearly every track on the album has quite an uplifting feel.
“It’s just how it happened,” the 24-year-old said.
“What tends to happen in those studio sessions is you start the melody and get the feeling and then I write over them, which is basically an instinctive response from me creatively to one of the sounds happening.
“So I guess that indicates when I hear something uplifting and happy I feel the need to put something dark and terrible over it.
“But I think these issues become more palatable if you can dance to it.”
While Cerro admitted Complex was an angry and frustrated record spawned from a dark time in her life, it was also a cathartic experience that enabled her to “move past every single thing on that album”.
“Writing the whole album, I thought it was a piece in the puzzle of my great therapy experience and it definitely helped,” she said.
“It brought to light the way I was actually feeling because I do struggle with not actually knowing how I feel a lot of the time.
“So whenever I write a song that tends to open up a window into my soul, I just allow it all to spill out because I can’t do that consciously.
“It was definitely an integral part of the process.”
But she said it wasn’t the whole process, which included “actually going to therapy, doing a lot of journaling and talking to friends”, which also helped her to recover from burnout.
“I got very ill in a way I couldn’t understand and no specialist could understand,” she said.
“It’s now medically recognised as burnout, which is amazing, but at the time I didn’t have that diagnosis which really messed me up.
“I got to full recovery around June or July last year but that was f***ing tough.
“That was maybe the worst moment and period of my life… but in hindsight it was absolutely necessary for me to learn all the lessons.”
With the imminent release of her latest work, Cerro said she was feeling “really good”.
“I fell really confident, really happy and very relaxed (in the lead-up to the album release),” she said.
“I’m really happy with it so whatever happens, I’m cool about it.”
To celebrate, Cerro will tour the country with a full band, kicking off in Adelaide before hitting Badlands Bar in Perth on November 8 and Mojos Bar in Fremantle on November 9.
And fans may also like to hear she has partnered with PLUS1, with $1 from every ticket sold going to support Bush Heritage Australia.
“They are a conservation organisation for bushland but also, they help indigenous people with land claims,” she said.
“The Aboriginal population in this country – the first people – are the most wise and knowledgeable about land health and protection and the relationships we have with the environment.
“I think the handing over of the reigns and the original entitlements back to them is absolutely vital and an important symbol of us actually recalibrating our approach to this whole situation and actually thinking with greater compassion and acting and creating policies with compassion.
“I think that’s really important work.”
What: Complex National Album Tour
November 8: Badlands Bar, Perth
November 9: Mojos Bar, Fremantle