This is part of The Shadow League’s Hispanic Heritage Month In Focus series celebrating Latino excellence in sports and culture.
If you haven’t heard about the rising artist Jessie Reyez by now, you’ve probably been living under a rock.
The Canadian-Colombian recently garnered mass attention for her two features on Eminem’s Kamikaze project, “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy.” But, prior to this appearance, Reyez was making a widespread name for herself within the music space.
Born in Toronto, Canada to Colombian parents, Reyez was introduced to music at an early age. Her father played the guitar and throughout her childhood, she listened to Cumbia, Salsa, and Boleros. At the age of about six or seven, she was introduced to reggae and instantly developed a deep connection to the genre. Surprisingly for some, her first artistic dwelling wasn’t music, it was actually poetry.
52k Likes, 1,517 Comments – Jessie Reyez (@jessiereyez) on Instagram: “@eminem Thank you for fucking wit me. @realsway”
“My grade 7 teacher happened to see one of the notebooks that I filled up with letters, and she said this is dope, and went as far as to tell my parents, I dont know if you know, but your daughter is lit with the pen! and I was like, thank you! And she was one of the first people in the schooling system that ever took the time to be like, Maybe you should polish this,” Reyez told Spin.
The singer/songwriter was able to harness her abilities further once she moved back to Toronto from Miami, FL. Her involvement in the city’s Remix Project, an art incubator for at-risk youth, eventually changed her life forever.
“The Remix Project is an art incubator for at-risk youth. It’s the hub of a lot of urban culture, specifically music in Toronto. You kind of go in there a rookie; videographers, photographers, graphic designers need to build their portfolio and musicians need music videos, photographs, artwork, so you end up walking out with material and helping each other get better in the process. The Remix Project changed my life. It’s actually the reason I met King Louie. He came in one day to mentor and one of the founders (Gavin Sheppard) happened to show him my music and we built from there,” the 27-year-old said to I-D vice.
Best of Jessie Reyez https://goo.gl/y1jhGa Subscribe for more https://goo.gl/PNisKn Jessie Reyez – Audio Videos https://goo.gl/GeU4Mi Subscribe for more https://goo.gl/ytDxup Music video by Jessie Reyez performing Gatekeeper. (C) 2017 FMLY Kiddo – https://lnk.to/JessieReyezKiddo Jessie Reyez Online: FB: https://www.facebook.com/MusicJessieR… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessiereyez Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jessiereyez Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessiereyez Music video by Jessie Reyez performing Gatekeeper.
All of her inspirations, hard work and experiences paid off in the end. Her acclaimed Kiddo EP was a heartfelt project that was two years in the making. In 2016, she grabbed mass media’s attention with the EP’s two singles “Shutter Island” and “Figures.” But, her powerful sexism and misogyny chronicled-track “Gatekeeper” skyrocketed her into a new level of stardom. It was eventually revealed over time that the inspiration behind that song was music producer Noel “Detail” Fisher, who was accused of sexually assaulting two singers.
After years of struggles, both highs, and lows, Reyez is now riding a big wave into 2019. She’s been seen with Jay Z on social media, has worked with acts like Calvin Harris and Kehlani, performed at the 2017 BET Awards and won the Juno Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. We don’t see this young, talented artist slowing down any time soon, and for that fact, we wanted to honor her during Hispanic Heritage Month.