Featured Artist: Jessie Reyez

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez has been making headlines for a while now, and with good reason. After watching the music video for her song “Figures”, I discovered that her unique sound and raw talent, isn’t like anything you’ve ever heard before. Shortly after its release, the track even caught Zane Lowe’s attention, calling the record “brilliant”, right before premiering it on his Beats 1 radio show. The song itself feels intimate and the visual is quite interesting. In a recent interview, the singer admitted that her cheating ex is the inspiration behind it all; but a heartbreak is just one of Jessie’s past life experiences.

Jessie’s passion for music started at a very young age but it wasn’t until she got older that she got more involved. During her high school years, she took hip-hop classes (which she loved) however it kept interfering with her grades. She went through her first breakup at the age of 18, and that’s when writing from her own personal experience began. It was a painful time for her, leaving her broken inside. As a result, she stopped attending class and only went to music class, where she jump started her creativity. Once she was done with school, Reyez was well on her way to making a name for herself in the Toronto music scene, until she got news that her family had to move to the U.S.

She ended up relocating to Miami with her family, but not for long. She got a job bartending and soon enough realized that by sleeping during the day and working at night, she wasn’t really focusing on her dream; music. She decided to change that and asked a friend of hers to shoot a music video for a song she had recorded back home. After editing the visual herself, she took to Facebook and posted the final result; it got over a thousand views. Shortly after that, she was referred by someone on her page to the Remix Project, a youth program helping aspiring young artists from under served communities advance in different creative industries.

After joining the Remix Project, that’s when she really kicked it up a notch on her writing and vocal skills; which led to her collaboration with rapper King Louie. He first heard Jessie’s work when he was invited to speak at the arts academy, where one of the founders there played one of her songs to him. He liked it so much that he immediately wanted to work with her. Next thing you know, she’s featured on his single “Living in the Sky” and is introduced to Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper.

New music is definitely in the works for this emerging artist, and with names like Shy Carter and Preist and The Beast under her belt, we can definitely expect something out of the ordinary. Jessie recently performed for the first time in Paris and travelled to London for an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra.

Reyez’ powerful vocals and realness make her stand out from everyone else we hear on the radio and in my opinion, she definitely has the potential (and the talent!) to become Toronto’s next big star.

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