Speaking Her Mind
THERE IS A QUOTE THAT SOMEONE TOLD ME YEARS AGO — fuck, I can’t remember who it was — but they said that creativity is abundant. If it’s for you, no one can take that away,” Jessie Reyez says.
For the Toronto-based singer-songwriter, it’s not about shock value when she uses profanity in her songs or in real life. She’s not going to be any other way. Since dropping “Figures” a couple years ago and her debut EP, Kiddo, in 2017, the road to success for Reyez has been forged by an unflinching take on R&B, soul, pop and blues, an unfiltered public persona and an unadulterated mix of humility, bravado and emotion.
Whether it’s working and writing with the likes of Eminem, Calvin Harris or Dua Lipa, or just kicking away with her friends and Colombian-born parents, authenticity is the life she’s maintaining. “They’re a lot wiser than I am, and they help with perspective and staying grateful,” she says of her immigrant parents.
Her new seven-track EP, Being Human in Public, is the latest salvo with this mindset, each song a mix of sexual, emotional and intimate energy. “You just need to create and be open with that energy. The second that you are precious with it, it’s almost like you showing the world you have a limited amount.”
Putting out an EP at a time when people might be clamouring for a full-length was intentional, she notes. “I’ve been debating with people over what an album actually means in 2018. Certain artists who have paid their dues and proven themselves have almost the privilege to put out a full-length album,” she says. “I still feel like I’m proving myself. I like to get to the point I can say, ‘It’s album time,’ and have gained or earned that musical respect, where someone is going to give that project that respect.”
So, she explains, there are some songs on the EP that are less than a few months old — and then there are some that are more seasoned. “It’s about being human on an intimate level. Saying things that you normally don’t say publicly. Things that people feel in their bedrooms but won’t say at their workplace or in public,” says Reyez. “It is still very much real, you know? These songs are just honest as fuck.”