I remember the days when I could count in one hand the amount of Latina singers in mainstream music. Fortunately, there’s been a rise in badass Latinx artists from rapper Cardi B to feminist Afro-Latina artists including Amara La Negra, Princess Nokia, Maluca Mala, and twin-sister duo, Ibeyi. One star that’s recently stood out to me is the soulful, Colombian-Canadian singer-songwriter, Jessie Reyez, whose storytelling lyrics are just as powerful as her impressive vocals.
Reyez’s music could easily be categorized under R&B and soul but her lyrics are a lot more raw than we’d normally expect from the genre. Think Adele meets Princess Nokia. The 26-year-old who recently won breakthrough artist of the year at the Juno Awards this past Sunday, recently released her remix of “Figures” featuring Daniel Caesar and it’s fire. The lyrics are real AF and resonate strongly with anyone who’s experienced a broken heart. Here are a few reasons to add Reyez to your spring playlist!
She’s not afraid to tell it how it is.
While most up and coming artists would hesitate to expose the sexism and corruption that exists within the music industry, Reyez is determined to let the world know the truth. Her track “Gatekeeper” from her EP Kiddo, exposes the harassment and sexual abuse female artists constantly endure. She even dropped a short film by the same name that tells the story in even more explicit detail. Both the track and film were released before allegations against movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein were made and before the #metoo movement began.
Reyez is the queen of lyrics.
Her song “Shutter Island” addresses an abusive relationship that makes her feel crazy and at fault. “My straight jacket’s custom-made though (with fucking diamonds)/My straight jacket’s custom-made though (with fucking diamonds)/I’m crazy just like Galileo/My straight jacket’s custom-made though/You keep hitting, I’ve been bruised/Holy field I can’t hear you. I’m tired of begging you to love me.”
She’s very open and vulnerable.
She wrote an open letter to the harasser in the music industry that almost made her quit music and inspired both the track and her short film “Gatekeeper.” THEN she shared it on Instagram with her fans. Wow. Now that’s powerful.
She brings her parents with her to all her shows.
Canadian singer Jessie Reyez was just nominated for a Grammy.
Her parents are from Colombia. When they found out, they went to her home.
This is how they woke her up, to give her the good news.
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) November 21, 2019
Family comes first for this Colombiana and we can all relate.
She’s going to be big.
Reyez won’t consider herself a star until she brings at least one Grammy award home to her father but she’s already been compared to legends like Amy Winehouse, who she considers one of her idols.
Her music is a blend of everything.
It’s technically R&B but Reyez’s music also includes other influences due to her upbringing. Her dad played guitar and she grew up listening to everything from salsa, reggae, cumbia and boleros. She refers to her music as “Quentin Tarantino.”