Hailing from Toronto, Canada, singer/songwriter Jessie Reyez, who rose to fame after her song “Figures” reached number 58 on the Canadian Hot 100 in 2017, released her most recent album “Before Love Came To Kill Us” March 27.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak became a pandemic, Reyez was set to open for Billie Eilish on her When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? Tour and planned to release her album during this time. Eventually, the tour became postponed and Reyez questioned whether or not to release her album. Reyez left it up to her fans to decide, posting an Instagram poll on if she should release her album during the pandemic. Her followers answered with a resounding “yes.” (She said only about 3% of followers voted no).
“I feel weird promoting [my album] in these times,” Reyez said in an interview with The New York Times. “It feels like music is kind of minuscule in comparison to what’s going on.”
Reyez centered her album around the idea of one’s mortality and closeness to death.
“I don’t want to seem insensitive, but this has been my reality for a long time. Because that’s just the way I’ve grown up,” Reyez said. “I’ve grown up thinking about death as something that could easily happen tomorrow. But I know that for everybody else, there’s a lot of fear right now.”
This harsh topic does not seem out of Reyez’ range, as she has been known for her “intense” musical subject matter. An example of this is her song “Gatekeeper,” which she released in 2017. The song details sexism and misogyny that she was faced with when working with a music producer from her past.
Apart from her win for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and R&B Soul Recording of the Year at the 2018 and 2019 Juno awards, Reyez also received a nomination for the Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2019 Grammy’s for her album Being Human in Public. (Photo/Twitter)
The contemporary R&B singer is known for her raspy yet subtle voice (almost similar to late singer Amy Whinehouse) that makes every song she sings sound authentic. Most of the songs in the album are soft and melodic; however, they still possess a strong back beat that makes the songs appeal to different emotions.
Reyez wants fans to think, “Let me put my phone on airplane mode, let me sage the room . . . let me sink into this,” while listening to the album.
Reyez also incorporated her Colombian roots in her album by creating the song “LA MEMORIA,” written about one of her past partners who mistreated her emotionally. She has released a few tracks in Spanish in the past to stay in touch with her heritage, such as “Sola” and “Colombian King and Queen, a voicemail from her parents in Spanish she included in her 2017 album “Kiddo.”
“I never really made music for other people,” Reyez said when interviewed for a New York Times article. “I always made it selfishly. I always made it in my bedroom by myself.” However, the way her fans reacted to her music changed her outlook. “It helps me feel like I’m doing something right, you know?”