Jamaican star Koffe and British Sam Smith, next to Colombian-Canadian Jessie Reyez (center). The three released the song “Gimme.” / home file
For Colombian-born singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez, 2023 began as loud as her own music. On the one hand, the artist, who confesses to being passionate about R&B, is in the middle of promoting her album Yessie.
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On the other, he has agreed an international tour with the British Sam Smith, with whom he has also just released the single “Gimme”, which also features the Jamaican reggae star Koffee.
And, as if that were not enough, the artist — who has lived in Canada for several seasons — has just appeared on the successful television format The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallonwhere she talked about her figuration in the artistic industry and why people like Billie Eilish, Sam Smith and Calvin Harris believe that she is the best composer of the moment.
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We talked with Jessie Reyez, who was born in Toronto (Canada), but in her music she has linked Colombian folklore flirting with vallenato and also incorporated fragments of the song The ways of the life.
You are the daughter of Latino immigrants and in your music you have Colombian references. How have you managed to stand out in a place like Canada?
I’ve never hidden my roots or tried to be something I’m not, I’ve always come across as natural as Latina as Canadian, even back when it wasn’t in style. Freedom defines me. When I was a child, my parents didn’t force me. If I wanted to pull the curtains and make a dress, they let me. That helped me to be free and creative. Freedom is what defines me. What is happening now is very beautiful, because the world is receiving Latin music with open arms, Latin artists are like waves that every time they hit the outside, they become bigger and bigger.
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Artists like Billie Eilish, Sam Smith and Calvin Harris, in their interviews, classify her as the best songwriter of the moment. What is the message she wants to convey when she writes?
I write about what life teaches me; for example, the importance of being present, because life is now; the past and the future do not exist. I am inspired by the importance of not wasting time thinking about the past or planning the future, the only thing we achieve with that is to ruin our present. I write about seizing the now, connecting with people and letting them know that the energy that has our hearts beating is not a rechargeable battery, it’s just magic and energy.
We have heard her play with Colombian folkloric rhythms, such as vallenato; What other surprises will the public find?
When I was a child, my parents only spoke Spanish and listened to Alquimia, Grupo Niche, Celia Cruz, Carlos Vives all the time, and I was happy and learned the letters. Although I also listened to Bob Marley, Lauren Hill and Tupac, among other artists who sing in English. The language with which I learned to love is Spanish, it is the language of my heart. When I sing in Spanish and use Latin sounds, I turn an audience that may be far away into my own family. I need to play with the sauce, my roots from Cauca ask me for it and I have to do it.
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How did you come to use the popular song “Los caminos de la vida” on your “Yessie” album?
“Mood” is the name of this song and it was almost finished, but I felt something was missing, more blood and roots, and I remembered this song. We almost can’t get authorization from the composer and my label told me that I couldn’t use it, but I started to review options on my own, I told Carlos Vives, who is a friend, and he managed to get authorization and make this a reality. desire.
How was your process to find such a particular sound?
When I was a child, my brother listened to Bob Marley and I fell in love, but also when I was older I got to know the music of Amy Winehouse and in my moments of loneliness he was a great company. Those sounds led me down a path that I’m still discovering. It has been a permanent exploration.
How do you feel that the Colombian community in which you grew up and for which you have become a reference point sees you now?
The message is always that if they love music and have the passion, that is what will push them… nothing else. I would like to tell all those people to prepare with enthusiasm and, as they say, “put on the thick leather” because many refusals will come and they will tell you that you are not enough, but be clear that each refusal is an opportunity. I have a motto: mud it up a lot and quickly, so that success comes as soon as possible. It is that, the longer one delays the muddling, the longer success is delayed. Don’t be afraid and never stand still, it’s the only way to get ahead in difficult conditions.
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How was the process of making “Yessie”, your most recent album?
Yessie is what they call me at home, and I named her that way because it’s a very personal album that tells my story. It differs from the other albums because it has presence and awareness. The pandemic changed me as a person and taught me to be on the positive side of love, this is shown on the album, they are positive songs made with the vibe that whatever happens I will always be fine.
What are your projects now?
Although I am very happy with what is happening and sometimes I feel that I have everything, I still have a long way to go working; The tour with Sam Smith is coming, but the only thing I ask of life is more life, more health and more music.