Jessie Reyez

Jessie Reyez is the real deal. Her eclectic musical mix hits that sweet spot between r'n'b and pop and the lady's voice is quite something too. Peter Gray reports.


Jessie Reyez is the real deal. Her music is an intoxicating mixture of influences from the blues infused Figures to the gospelly pop of Great One to the jazz and Hip Hop cool of Shutter Island.  However what really sets this native Canadian apart from the pack of aspiring X Factor wannabes is that incredible voice, an instrument of such dazzling goodness that she can go from a kittenish purr to a full throated scream in the space of a few notes.

The young canadian singer, born in Toronto to Columbian parents, credits her distinctive musical style to being exposed to a diverse range of music as a child, from the Columbian artists that her parents played to reggae and from artists as diverse as Otis Redding and Beyonce.

The artist herself refers to her distinct musical fusion as “Quentin Tarantino.”  Reyez says ‘Music’s always been in my home. My dad plays guitar, and I grew up listening to cumbia and salsa and boleros’. That background in music and an early fascination with poetry served the young Reyez well, giving the young  a form of self expression during her adolescent years.

 Reyez says she finds a release in music because there is no filter when you’re writing lyrics and her Twitter biography says that ‘i like to sing about shit I don’t like to talk about’.

After finishing school Reyez decided to put college on hold and pursue a career in music. This took her to Florida where her dreams of musical success initially translated into a regular gig bartending as well as busking on the beach. However in 2014 she was accepted to The Remix Project’s Academy of Recording  Artists. This meant a return to her native Toronto. A debut single quickly followed. This was a joint project with King Louie calked ‘Living in the Sky’. However it was not until 2016 and the release of singles Shutter Island and Figures that Reyez’s star has finally begun to rise. The latter peaked at number 74 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Then last year, following the success of the two aforementioned singles, Reyez released her debut EP, Kiddo, as well as debuting the short film Gatekeeper.

Her music mines a deep well of personal experience from break ups to sexual harassment in the music industry.

That last topic was the subject of Gatekeeper, one of the Eps standout tracks. Reyez has said that Gatekeeper relates to an incident that happened five years ago when she was a little more naive and new to the industry. Interestingly the song takes the perspective of the abuser and is a satirical take on the issue. Reyez says that she has been moved to see young women in tears listening to the song as it clearly brought up memories of similar experiences.

When asked in a recent interview who she’d most like to collaborate with Reyez named Frankie Ocean as an inspiration however the canadian native already has a slew of collaborative efforts to her credit in the space of her short career having worked with Calvin Harris on Hard to Love and Ariana Grande to name two. City Countdown thinks this is one young lady worth watching in the next few years.

More information about the artist can be found here.

For information about other music events in London can be found here.


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