Speak­ing Her Mind

Exclaim! - - SHOTS - By Ryan B. Pa­trick

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.”

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