About Jessie Reyez
When it came time for her to go to college, Toronto singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez (born in 1991, to Colombian parents) bet on herself, choosing a life of music and all of its potential instability instead of playing it safe. But her gamble paid off. Like so many before her, heartbreak was the fuel to her fire after a relationship crashed into a wall. “Figures,” her 2016 breakout single, captured the sentiment and provided the perfect vehicle for her unique manner of singing; its simple acoustic guitar melody (played by Reyez, of course) contours the extraordinary qualities of her voice, a raw and soaring rasp that lingers in the mind long after it's left the ear. But if Reyez's vocal prowess is glaring, then her candid writing is her ace in the hole. “I like to sing about shit I don’t like to talk about,” she told Apple Music in 2019. And in lyrics, she doesn't shy away from the vulgar—“Fuck it, you're lucky I didn't roll it/You're lucky I didn't blow your brains out” goes the hook on “Fuck It”—or the uncomfortable. Her debut EP, Kiddo, featured one of the most blunt and scathing accounts of sexual abuse ever put to music: “Gatekeeper.” Its follow-up EP, the Grammy-nominated Being Human in Public, amounted to a tortured self-portrait that opens with the line "I think about dying every day."
Reyez, an Apple Music Up Next honouree, is chameleonic in her pursuits, nimbly mashing together assorted genre signifiers as they suit her. Her 2020 debut album BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US cemented fluidity as an essential part of her artistic identity with sonic markers from R&B and acoustic music coexisting with those from hip-hop or splashy dance pop. Even when her voice becomes its own kind of shape-shifter—expanding and shrinking, brightening and warming to suit each song's needs—its power remains constant.
BORNJune 12, 1991