An ephemeral romance is the subject of “Indiscreta,” a hazy slow-pop burner sung in sighs that seem to float above and around its substratum of thick funk bass lines. It’s Jean Nada‘s first single from his forthcoming debut LP, out early next year, and while the track highlights the shakiness of an illusory affair, the Puerto Rican electronic artist, whose work dates back four years, is now seriously focused. It’s inarguably clear in the song’s accompanying clip; with it, Jean Nada has officially eked over edge of the come-up.
Set in super-luxe modern digs, the aesthetic of “Indiscreta” is impeccably clean and sleek: Jean Nada (born Giovanni González) teamed up with his brother to get the clip created. Juanchi González launched the production collective Artok earlier this year and has already racked up enviable credentials in flawless work on “Piso 13 (Mia Wallace)” for Álvaro Díaz and “Barlovento” for Bairoa (keyboardist for Buscabulla). With a solid crew in support (photographer Steph Segarra, a Remezcla contributor, was in the mix for art direction), all its stylish, modern grandeur — a breathtaking living room view, Jean Nada sipping from a coconut in the bluest of swimming pools, and later, his fur coat and crisp white pants — is given personality, some palpable humanness that’s subtly wry, rather than feeling intimidatingly packaged or too flashy.
The bassist featured is Hassam García, a multinstrumentalist and member of San Juan mainstay La Santa Ska. He’s not on the actual track — that’s Jacob Javier — but filled in for the video, and already knew the song from playing a few live Jean Nada shows. “I wanted the bass to have a character in the video,” he explains. “I [wanted to] personify the bass.”
With a stoic expression and a slight groove, González dances in slow motion beside him. In fact, González, perpetually sporting shades, dances for pretty much the entirety of the nearly 5-minute number. He even makes dribbling a basketball look like dancing.
All of this was filmed before Hurricane María, González notes. He’s since relocated to Portland, after a brief stint on a friend’s couch in Seattle, where he wasn’t able to find work or housing. “Basically, I wanted to keep doing my music and mostly my music is electronic, and I wasn’t able to,” he says. “I was planning on leaving like 2018, just for having a change in my life, also looking for new opportunities. I’ve never moved out [of Puerto Rico].”
The crisis post-storm expedited his departure, and he left without the bulk of his equipment. González would rather work to build up his arsenal in Portland than trouble his family, who are still on the island, with sending his gear.
On November 20, Jean Nada debuted in his new homebase at a benefit for Vieques, a smaller Puerto Rico island significantly affected by the storm. “I actually did [the set] more dancey so people would have fun, and they did have fun actually,” he says. “I was singing in Spanish, and not a lot of people speak Spanish there, but they were digging it.”
After the show, he adds, the organizers asked about his relatives back home. “They actually offered me some of the money at the end of the show,” he says. “The organizer told me if my family needed something…[but] they’re too proud to admit it.”
González didn’t accept any help for himself, either. He seems wholly content with having played, period, and in the connections he’s made since relocating. Brown Calvin, also on the bill, who is Puerto Rican and has been in Portland for years, has been helping in his getting settled. “He’s been poniéndome pa’lante,” he says.
His leaving isn’t permanent, though. González ultimately imagines himself back in Puerto Rico — eventually.
Before heading out, however, he was able to wrap up the full-length. “Indiscreta” included, the album was mixed and mastered by Overlord, known for his work with Audri Nix, Álvaro Díaz, and Füete Billëte. It’s dubbed Algo Fijo — named for a track and, for us, symbolic of the hopes for Jean Nada’s future in music.