I was recently lucky enough to witness Jessie Reyez headline a sold-out show at New York City’s Brooklyn Steel in front of 2,000 eager, loving, and loyal screaming fans. From busking on the streets of downtown Toronto, to co-writing hits for artists such as Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris, to collaborating with Eminem on his most recent Kamikaze LP, the awe-inspiring Jessie Reyez has come a long way.
Reyez is a special kind of artist. Not only does she write all of her own songs, but you could feel the emotion and truth in her voice through every beautifully executed note. Whether she’s crooning to the crowd during the soft, heart-wrenching ballad “Cotton Candy”, or belting out the words with rightful entitlement during powerhouse anthem “Dear Yessie”, her passion, desire, happiness, heartache and Gemini-powered duality can be felt rippling throughout the audience.
Despite facing numerous setbacks over the years, (the most recent being a back injury that she developed during a performance this past summer, causing her to grudgingly cancel shows and hold off on touring for a while) Jessie is the definition of resilience. She bounced back admirably, introducing her fans to the next chapter of her career, achieving one of her most remarkable and memorable performances to date. In addition to her fabulous band, made up of fellow Toronto natives, Heather Crawford on guitar, Chino De Villa on drums, Mark James on keys, and DJ Junia-T who has been performing live with her for years; an entire orchestra appeared mid-set, gracing each end of her stage.
The moment was nothing short of heavenly. The orchestra was clad in white and embraced Jessie’s words with angelic synchronicity as she began to sing “Gatekeeper”, off of her 2017 Kiddo EP. The song narrates her own personal #METOO movement experience– a terrible incident she faced (and overcame) early on in her career involving a famed record producer, who she later publicly revealed to be Noel ‘Detail’ Fisher. Another example of Reyez’s resilience. In fact, every one of Jessie’s songs sends a message of strength. She is not afraid to speak her mind, whether it be through messages of self-love, female empowerment, or heartache.
Her most recent single, that will appear on her album, is “Far Away”. It delivers heartbreaking insight into the immigration crisis we are currently facing in the United States. She released this powerful visual to go along with it earlier this month. Before performing the song at Brooklyn Steel, the proud Colombian-bred Toronto native stated that one of her favorite things about being on stage is looking out into such a beautiful and diverse crowd. In Jessie’s words, “It’s a fucking rainbow!”
Jessie’s debut album is due out early 2020. We cannot wait to see what else she has in store for us!