On a hot evening in June, a couple of hours before she performs a sold-out show at Village Underground, French singer-songwriter Jain (that's Jeanne Galice to her parents) sits with The 405 in a breezy corner of the venue's panoramic roof garden for a natter.

It's not her first gig in London but when she later takes to the stage, the level of adoration in the audience's reception clearly surprises her. A recent slot on Jools Holland may have helped spread the word but her hard graft and the fact of Zanaka - the debut album she's promoting - being charm-full and filler-free can't be doing any harm.

Zanaka came out in France in 2015 and, as the rest of the world is catching up to it, Jain seems to be enjoying clothing songs which are, by now, all too familiar to her with fresh arrangements and bringing them to new audiences. At Village Underground she is alone on stage but it might as well be a full girl-band up there, working the crowd, who sing along, dance and jump at the chanteuse's command and, quite literally, wave their hands up in the air like they just don't care. It's not just a show, it's basically one big party.

Spending the majority of her youth in places such as Dubai, Congo and Abu Dhabi, apart from - of course - France, gives Jain's sound an eclectic nuance without coming across as unfocused. Performed live, the songs gain even more energy and punch and the vibe is rather infectious. When, at a certain point during the set, she changes the lyrics of 'Paris' (a new-ish song she's written in the wake of the recent terror attacks in her city) to make reference to London as a tribute to her host metropolis, one can really feel the strength of the connection between this performer and her audience.

Here Jain talks to The 405 about everything from her love of hip-hop to the state of French politics, including some clues as to what we can expect from her next record.

Outside of France, Zanaka is a fairly fresh discovery but you have lived with it for over two years, now. How do you feel about having to keep promoting a work which, for you, must feel - for want of a better word - old?

It's old but it's very exciting because I've already done this work in France and now I'm trying to do it here and in the United States also and it is very interesting to see a new approach in my own music. I'm excited. And in the shows I'm also doing new songs so I'm not bored. It's cool!

Have the old songs changed in their live arrangements over the past couple of years?

Oh yes, definitely. I have to do that otherwise I would just get bored so I try to refresh them and to make them more... current and more me.

The oldest song on the album is 'Come', which you wrote as a teenager...


Do you remember the circumstances of writing it?

Yeah, actually I wrote it because I was living back in the Congo and it was a song for my boyfriend, who had to leave the Congo, telling him to come back there. So it was a song mainly for a boy [laughs].

You managed to get Femi Kuti to do a remix of it, which is a perfect match between song and remixer. How did that happen?

I'm a big, big fan of Fela Kuti and I'm a big, big fan of Femi Kuti also. I was approached for him to make a new arrangement or a remix of the song and I was very, very excited about it because I love afrobeats. The song and Femi Kuti are great together.

Yeah, it's a great marriage.

[Laughs] I hope so!

A lot of the songs on the album have a very distinct rhythm section. Is that where songwriting starts for you - the beat?

It changes from song to song but a lot of the time the rhythm comes first because I studied the drums when I was seven years old, so it was my first instrument ever. So, for me, it is very natural to really make my own rhythm and after that to try and find the lyrics and the melody. But, yeah, the rhythm in my music in general is very important.

You're working on some new music at the moment - is it safe to say the rhythm section is going to continue being central in it?

Yeah, I think so! It's going to be different rhythm because otherwise it's not going to be interesting but yeah, I'm really focused on that. I'm listening to a lot of hip-hop at the moment so I think the new music is going to be more hip-hop. I can't wait, actually.

What hip-hop have you been listening to most?

Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, A$AP Rocky and... The Streets.

Anything else influencing your writing at the moment?

There's a lot of stuff. When I was a teenager I used to listen to a lot of reggae so there's a lot of reggae and a lot of pop music, European music and quite a bit of French electro also. It's a big mess but I love it [laughs].

Outside of France you have been compared to Christine and the Queens and Camille. How do you feel about those comparisons?

Well, I'm very honoured because I love both of them and the work that they do but I think that the comparison is only about, you know, the fact that we are girls and we are French. But musically, I think we are very different and actually, that's very good - it's good to see that Christine and Camille are very independent women in the music industry and it is very inspiring for me and for other musicians.

Are there any other contemporary French artists the rest of Europe may not be aware of which you think we should check out?

Yeah! There's a girl called Fishbach and a band called Las Aves - they're very good.

One of your biggest hits is a song about the legendary Miriam Makeba. What made you decide to write a song about her?

My mother used to listen to her music when I was a child because she loved a lot of African music - she is half-French and half from Madagascar. And we used to sing together, you know, "Saguquka sathi..." [sings first line from Makeba's hit, 'Pata Pata'] when I was very young but later when I grew up I realised that none of my friends knew her or her music and she is such a strong woman from history and I found it very sad that they didn't know about her - she was a great artist and a great woman. So I think everybody should know about her. I then came up with the lyrics "Makeba ma que bella" and that was it. The song is a homage and I want young people to wonder what is Makeba and then google it and find out.

Since Zanaka came out in France in 2015 there's been a lot of political change over there as well as the rest of the world. Do you think that the events of the last couple of years will influence the writing on your next record?

Yeah, definitely. When I write, I write about my own life as a woman and as a citizen also and the things I see in the streets. I write about everyday life and the everyday life is sometimes very political. So, yeah, of course it seeps into my songs and who I am. Music is amazing because you can say something to people through it and create a unity in the shows between people who don't know each-other. So I am really glad to be able to do that.

Does Emmanuel Macron's France inspire you with hope?

Ummm... I would say that we... we had so much disappointments in the past years that... I am waiting to see. But I am happy that it was not Marine Le Pen who passed, for sure!

Has the mood become more optimistic and positive over there since the Presidential elections result?

Well, I think we were very scared because after what happened with Brexit and Trump... we were very scared France would be next, you know? And we were so scared that we went out and voted but we'll see how it goes.

Going back to music, other than the hip-hop feel, do you have any other aspirations or conceptual thoughts for your next record?

It's still very early stages but I'm trying to rap a little bit and there are also going to be one or two songs in French because I really wanted to challenge myself. It's going to be pure exploration of music and I'm not going to put any boundaries with that.

Do you generally prefer to sing in English?

Yeah, I mean, I have to say - I only really listen to songs in English or mostly English. So, for me, it is very natural. I have lived in lots of different countries so a lot of my friends didn't speak French and, for me, it was very natural to try and be understood by a lot of people.

Any specific artists or producers you'd like to collaborate with?

There are a lot! The first on my mind is Joey Bada$$ - I really loved his last album, I think he reminds me of the writing of Biggie, you know? We are trying to contact him!

Zanaka is out now.