Montaigne (musician)

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Montaigne 2019.jpg
Montaigne in April 2019
Background information
Birth nameJessica Alyssa Cerro
Born (1995-08-14) 14 August 1995 (age 26)
Sydney, Australia
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresArt pop
  • Vocals
  • acoustic guitar
  • piano
Years active2014–present

Jessica Alyssa Cerro (born 14 August 1995), who performs as Montaigne, is an Australian art pop singer-songwriter-musician and Twitch streamer. Her debut album, Glorious Heights, was released on 5 August 2016, which peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2016 she won Breakthrough Artist – Release for the album and was nominated for three other categories. In April 2016 she was a featured vocalist on Hilltop Hoods' track, "1955", which reached No. 2 on the ARIA Singles Chart. She was supposed to represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 with her song "Don't Break Me", until the contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, she represented Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with the song "Technicolour", but did not qualify from the semi-final, becoming the first Australian entrant not to qualify to the final since the debut of Australia in 2015.[1]


Early life[edit]

Cerro was born in Sydney on 14 August 1995, and was raised in the Hills District.[2] Her father Gus Cerro was a professional football player who played in the Australian National Soccer League, as well as for Negeri Sembilan FA and Pahang FA in Malaysia.[3] Cerro has stated that her "ethnic background is a mixture of Argentinian, Spanish, Filipino and French".[4]

2012–13: Career beginnings[edit]

Jessica Cerro was a Triple J Unearthed High School finalist in 2012 with her indie pop song "Anyone But Me" but she waited until finishing high school to pursue her music career. In November 2012, Cerro signed a publishing deal with Albert Music and spent the following two years refining her songwriting skills under the guidance of Michael Szumowski.[5]

In late 2013, Cerro decided to adopt the moniker Montaigne, inspired by the 16th century philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne. Shortly after completing her HSC Montaigne began recording her debut EP with producer Tony Buchen (The Preatures, Andy Bull).[6]

2014–16: Glorious Heights[edit]

Montaigne performing in 2015

In 2014, Montaigne released her first single "I Am Not an End", which was added to high rotation on Triple J. In July 2014 Montaigne signed a management and recording deal with Wonderlick Entertainment.[7] On 21 November 2014, she performed "I Am Not an End" for the radio station's Like a Version segment, along with her cover of Sia's "Chandelier". The song was listed as its 36th most played song of 2014.[8] The same day Montaigne also released her second single "I'm a Fantastic Wreck" in conjunction with the Life of Montaigne EP. "I'm a Fantastic Wreck" also received high rotation on Triple J and Sydney-based community radio station FBi Radio, which also listed the song as its eighth most played song of 2014.[9]

Montaigne was selected by San Cisco as the support act for their Run tour in November 2014. Shortly after, she was also chosen by Megan Washington to be the main support for her February 2015 national There There tour.[10]

In January 2015, Montaigne won FBi Radio's Next Big Thing Award at its annual SMAC Awards, which recognises "the musicians, artists, performers, restaurants and events that shaped the Sydney's creative culture in 2014".[11] Montaigne announced her first headline tour in February 2015, visiting Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in April.

In August 2015, she released "Clip My Wings", the first single from her debut studio album, Glorious Heights.[12] In January 2016, Montaigne released "In the Dark", the second single from her debut album, along with the announcement of the In the Dark Tour.[13] A music video for the song followed in March. The following month, she featured on Hilltop Hoods' song "1955", which reached number 2 in Australia.[14]

In June 2016, Montaigne released the third single from her debut album, titled "Because I Love You".[15] The album, Glorious Heights, was released on 5 August 2016.[16] On 30 July, "Because I Love You" debuted at number 98 on the ARIA Singles Chart, marking Montaigne's first solo chart appearance.[17] In November 2016, at the ARIA Music Awards of 2016, Montaigne won the ARIA award for Breakthrough Artist – Release.

2017–2021: Complex and Eurovision[edit]

On 4 May 2017, Montaigne was featured on Akouo's single "Feel That".[18] In 2018, she was featured on the track "The Best Freestylers in the World" from the Aunty Donna album, The Album.

In November 2018 Montaigne released "For Your Love" as the lead single from her upcoming sophomore album.[19] In June 2019, she released the second single "Ready" alongside the announcement that the album would be titled Complex.[20] On 9 August 2019, the album's third single "Love Might Be Found (Volcano)" was released.[21] The album was released on 30 August 2019, and debuted at #19 on the ARIA albums chart.[22] "Ready" plays over the end credits of the 2022 film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande starring Emma Thompson.

On 6 December 2019, Montaigne, along with fellow singer Didirri, was announced as two out of the ten participating performers for Eurovision - Australia Decides the Australian national final in which the winner would represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 with the song "Don't Break Me".[23] On 8 February 2020, she won the competition, and would have competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, to be held in Rotterdam in May 2020,[24] but on 18 March 2020, the EBU announced that the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 has been cancelled due to the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19. On 19 March 2020, Montaigne made a Facebook post clarifying her feelings saying "I've had my cry. I spent a couple of hours paralysed in bed, despondently scrolling through the many lovely tweet mentions from people expressing their love and support. I imagine I'll probably have a lot more cries in the next little while, for me and for the wonderful team who were working with me to make our vision come to life." She stated that she agreed with the cancellation choice saying it was "the most responsible and ethical decision that the EBU could have made." On 2 April 2020, SBS confirmed that Montaigne would represent Australia at the 2021 contest.[25] Montaigne's Eurovision Song Contest 2021 entry, "Technicolour", was released on 5 March 2021.[26] On May 18, 2021 she competed in the first semi final of Eurovision 2021, however she did not qualify for the final, as she didn't finish within the top 10 countries. This marked the first time in Australia's participation that an Australian contestant failed to qualify for the final. It was later revealed that she had placed 14th in the first semi-final, with 28 points.

2021–present: Making It![edit]

On 15 March 2021, the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me revealed their new theme song to be "My Life Is Better With You" a track written and performed by Montaigne specifically for the show.[27] The song was officially released on 13 August 2021, alongside an official music video featuring Montaigne and the McElroy Brothers.[28]

On 22 October 2021, Montaigne released "Now (In Space)", the lead single from her third studio album.[29] On 9 February, she was cast in the Special Broadcasting Service musical comedy Time to Buy, marking her debut lead role as an actress.[30] Alongside the announcement, Montaigne revealed that her third studio album would be released in 2022.[30]

On 25 February 2022, Montaigne released "Always Be You" with Talking Heads' David Byrne. In an instagram post announcing the release, Montaigne said "It's pretty much the biggest deal in the world for me to be able to collaborate with him", crediting his book How Music Works as a "groundbreaking read [and] totally changed how I approached live performance."[31] On 8 July 2020, Montaigne released "die b4 u" and announced the forthcoming release of her third studio album, Making It!, scheduled for release on 2 September 2022.[32]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
Glorious Heights 4
  • Release date: 30 August 2019[20]
  • Label: Wonderlick Entertainment, Sony
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming
Making It!
  • Scheduled: 2 September 2022[32]
  • Label: Wonderlick Entertainment, Sony
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming

Extended plays[edit]

Title EP details Peak chart positions
Life of Montaigne
  • Release date: 21 November 2014[34]
  • Label: Wonderlick Entertainment, Sony
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming


As lead artist[edit]

List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak
Certifications Album
"I Am Not an End"[36] 2014 Life of Montaigne
"I'm a Fantastic Wreck"[37]
"Clip My Wings"[38] 2015 Glorious Heights
"In the Dark"[39] 2016
"Because I Love You"[40] 98
"For Your Love"[42] 2018 Complex
"Ready"[43] 2019
"Love Might Be Found (Volcano)"[21]
"The Dying Song"[44]
"Don't Break Me"[45] 2020 [A] Non-album singles
"Technicolour" 2021 42
"My Life Is Better with You"[47] My Brother, My Brother and Me
"Now (In Space)"[29] Making It![32]
"Always Be You"
(with David Byrne)[31]
"Make Me Feel So"
(featuring Dadi Freyr)[48]
"Die b4 U"[32]
(with David Byrne)[49]
"–" denotes releases that did not chart.

As featured artist[edit]

List of singles as featured artist, with selected chart positions and certifications
Song Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
(Hilltop Hoods featuring Montaigne and Tom Thum)[50]
2016 2
  • ARIA: 9× Platinum[51]
Drinking from the Sun, Walking Under Stars Restrung
"Feel That"
(Akouo featuring Montaigne)[52]
2017 Non-album singles
"You're the Voice"
(as part of United Voices Against Domestic Violence)[53]
"I'll Make You Happy"
(The Bamboos featuring Montaigne)[54]
"Best Freestylers in the World"
(Aunty Donna featuring Montaigne)[56]
2018 The Album
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Other appearances[edit]

List of appearances on other albums or compilations
Song Year Album
"Rubble of the Past"
(Urthboy featuring Montaigne)
2016 The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat
"Ashes to Ashes"(live) 2018 Countdown: Live at the Sydney Opera House
"Love is a Stranger"(live)
(Amanda Palmer featuring Montaigne)
2020 Forty-Five Degrees - A Bushfire Charity Flash Record


  1. ^ Don't Break Me did not enter the ARIA top 100, but peaked at number 22 on the ARIA Digital Track Chart.[46]

Awards and nominations[edit]

APRA Awards[edit]

The APRA Awards are several award ceremonies run in Australia by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) to recognise composing and song writing skills, sales and airplay performance by its members annually.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2017 "1955" (with Hilltop Hoods & Thom Thum ) Song of the Year[57] Nominated

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards are annual awards, which recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music. They commenced in 1987.[58]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2016 Glorious Heights Best Female Artist Nominated
Breakthrough Artist Won
"1955" (with Hilltop Hoods & Thom Thum ) Song of the Year Nominated
Best Video Nominated
Tony Buchan for Glorious Heights Producer of the Year Nominated

J Awards[edit]

The J Awards are an annual series of Australian music awards that were established by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's youth-focused radio station Triple J. They commenced in 2005.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
J Awards of 2016[59] Glorious Heights Australian Album of the Year Nominated

National Live Music Awards[edit]

The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
National Live Music Awards of 2016[60] herself Live Voice of the Year Nominated
National Live Music Awards of 2017[61][62] herself Live Act of the Year Nominated
Live Pop Act of the Year Nominated
National Live Music Awards of 2020[63] herself Live Voice of the Year Nominated


  1. ^ Moran, Robert (19 May 2021). "Remote performance dooms Australia's Montaigne to early Eurovision exit". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  2. ^ Mathieson, Craig (20 September 2019). "'Why not do something a little wacky': Montaigne on new album Complex". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ Rocca, Jane (1 September 2016). "What my father taught me". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. ^ "Montaigne on Instagram: "So my ethnic background is a mixture of Argentinian, Spanish, Filipino and French, and these are my great grandparents from the French side…"". Instagram.
  5. ^ "Jessica Cerro Releases 'I'm A Fantastic Wreck'". Alberts Music. Alberts Music. 7 May 2014. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Montaigne". Wonderlick Entertainment. Wonderlick Entertainment. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  7. ^ Fitzsimons, Scott (1 August 2014). "Sydney Triple J Favourite Montaigne Signs With Wonderlick". Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Montaigne 'Chandelier' (Sia cover)". triple j. ABC. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  9. ^ "2014 Yearbook: FBi's Most Played Tracks". FBi Radio. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  10. ^ Spring, Alexandra (24 December 2015). "Book ahead, Australia: Travelling Films, White Night Melbourne, Perth fringe". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Winners:: 2014 FBi SMAC Awards". FBi Radio. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Hear: Montaigne drops new single 'Clip My Wings', announces tour dates | music news | triple j". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  13. ^ Mathison, Emily (22 January 2016). "Montaigne shares stunning new single In The Dark and announces tour". Happy. Vice Media. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  14. ^ " - Hilltop Hoods feat. Montaigne & Tom Thum - 1955". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Montaigne Releases New Single 'Because I Love You'". The Music. Street Press Australia. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Glorious Heights by Montaigne on iTunes". Apple Inc. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  17. ^ a b "CHART WATCH #379". auspOp. 30 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Feel That (feat. Montaigne) - Single by Akouo". Apple Music. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  19. ^ Newstead, Al (9 November 2018). "First Spin: Montaigne is back to snatch the indie pop crown with 'For Your Love'". triple j. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  20. ^ a b Gallagher, Allison. "Montaigne shares new single 'Ready', reveals album details & national tour dates". Music Feeds. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  21. ^ a b "First Spin: Montaigne lets fly on the eruptive 'Love Might Be Found (Volcano)'". ABC. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  22. ^ " - Montaigne - Complex". Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Next two artists announced for 'Eurovision – Australia Decides' 2020". Programs. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Montaigne Wins Eurovision: Australia Decides!". Eurovision Union. 8 February 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Montaigne named as Australia's Eurovision entrant for 2021 after this year's coronavirus cancellation". ABC. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  26. ^ "Montaigne releases Australia's official Eurovision song 'Technicolour'". SBS. 4 March 2021. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  27. ^ "MBMBaM 552: Introducing Fredo Cooljazz" (Podcast). 15 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  28. ^ "video". YouTube. August 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  29. ^ a b Brereton, Greta (22 October 2021). "Listen to Montaigne's new cosmic-inspired single "Now (In Space)"". NME Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  30. ^ a b Doria, Matt (9 February 2022). "Montaigne to star in musical comedy Time to Buy". NME Australia. Archived from the original on 23 February 2022. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  31. ^ a b Newstead, Al (25 February 2022). "Montaigne enlists Talking Heads' David Byrne for 'Always Be You'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  32. ^ a b c d "Montaigne Shares "die b4 u" Announces New Album making it!". Music Feeds. 8 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  33. ^ a b c " - Discography Montaigne". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  34. ^ "Life of Montaigne (EP)". Apple Music. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  35. ^ "2021 21-os SAVAITĖS (gegužės 21-27 d.) SINGLŲ TOP100" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. 28 May 2021. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  36. ^ "I Am Not an End (single)". Apple Music. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  37. ^ "Montaigne I'm a Fantastic Wreck". Happy Mag TV. November 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  38. ^ "Montaigne releases new song "Clip My Wings" and tour, reminds everyone she is amazing". Happy Mag TV. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  39. ^ "Montaigne Releases "In the Dark" And Announces National Tour". Outlet Mag. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  40. ^ "Montaigne Releases New Single "Because I Love You"". The Music. Street Press Australia. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  41. ^ "thanks to you all, because i love you went PLATINUM !!!!". Twitter. 31 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  42. ^ "For Your Love – Single by Montaigne". iTunes Store. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  43. ^ "Montaigne announces new single Ready". Gong Scene. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  44. ^ "Montaigne on Twitter". Twitter. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  45. ^ "Montaigne "Don't Break Me" out 31 Jan". Sony Music Fans. January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  46. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 40 Digital Tracks" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  47. ^ "My Life Is Better With You– Single by Montaigne". Apple Music. 13 August 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  48. ^ "New Aus Music Playlist Additions 27/05/22". Music Feeds. 27 May 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  49. ^ "Montaigne, David Byrne - gravity (Visualiser)". YouTube. 4 August 2022. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  50. ^ "Hilltop Hoods". Facebook. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  51. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2021" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  52. ^ "Feel That (single)". Apple Music. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  53. ^ "You're the Voice (single)". Apple Music. 30 May 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  54. ^ "I'll Make You Happy - single". Apple Music. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  55. ^ "Rebeat EP". Apple Music. November 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  56. ^ "Watch Matt Okine & Montaigne Worship Rap Kings Aunty Donna On "Best Freestylers in the World"". Music Feeds. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  57. ^ "Urban Work of the Year". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  58. ^ "Aria Awards".
  59. ^ "The J Award 2016". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  60. ^ "Nominees 2016". NLMA. 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  61. ^ "NLMA reveal 2017 Nominees". NLMA. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  62. ^ "Winners 2017". NLMA. December 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  63. ^ "Nominees announced for 2020 National Live Music Awards". NLMAs. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.

External links[edit]

External video
video icon One Plus One: Montaigne, One Plus One, ABC News
Awards and achievements
Preceded by Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest
2020 (cancelled)
Succeeded by
with "Technicolour"
Preceded by
with "Don't Break Me"
Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by