“If you die tomorrow I don’t think I’d cry, I gave you one night too many,” sings Jessie Reyez on “Mutual Friends,” a single from her new album Yessie, out Sept. 16 Featuring many of the dark and raw R&B and soul sounds Reyez is known for, the 11-track album is her second studio album and fourth project. In “Yessie,” the Grammy-nominated performer mesmerizes with her unique, raspy voice while offering fresh sounds, hopeful lyrics and dance vibes.
“I always just talk about my life and what I’m going through, but I’m definitely in a different space.”
These expressions of joy amidst heartbreaking tracks reflect the journey Reyez has taken in her own life. “I always just talk about my life and what I’m going through, but I’m definitely moving in a different area,” says Reyez in an interview with POPSUGAR, “I just wanted to grow, you know? And heal. So I put more effort into healing myself and making my mental and physical health a priority.” The album is a musical journey that begins with the down-to-earth manifesto “Mood,” in which Reyez declares, “I’ve learned , loving the rain it’s all the same, I still got a smile on my face,” before diving into emotional tracks with the kind of sincere lyrics that feel like too much too real a confession (“I like every mistake , I see this is all new,” she sings on “Forever” ft. 6lack). “Queen St W” has a catchy tune with bold lyrics that celebrate the singer while focusing on the “tóxica” (poisonous ) Vibes, in which she sings “The B***hes You Want Want Me” while telling her former lover that he made a monster.
When asked if she identifies as “la tóxica” — a sort of online taunt among Latinx millennials and Gen Zers where they poke fun at toxic love traits (e.g., jealousy) — she says she used to identified with it, but she has changed. “It’s also good to have a little bit of poison in it,” she says nonetheless, “because I don’t think you should keep picking a scab that you’re trying to heal at the same time.” Reyez is a Colombian-Canadian artist who constantly is proud of her city of Toronto, whether by collaborating with other stars like Daniel Caesar or by celebrating what she called the city’s “music renaissance.” And on this album, she also glorifies her Colombian roots with a prominent sample of the band Los Diablitos’ “Los caminos de la vida” (“The Ways of Life”) in “Mood” – the album’s first track. The original is a vallenato classic of Colombian music popular throughout Latin America, where the group sings “the walks of life are not what I think”. Reyez had to pull some strings in deleting the sample. Finally, just a day before she had to hand the album over to FMLY/Island Records, she decided to ask her boyfriend, Colombian music artist giant Carlos Vives, for help. She tells how he moved mountains for it.
“It’s so poetic, you know, what Carlos Vives and his music means to me and what this song means to me and what this sample means to me and my heritage and my roots.”
“It’s so poetic, you know, what Carlos Vives and his music means to me and what this song means to me and what this sample means to me and my heritage and my roots,” she says.
The second half of the album contains the single “Mutual Friends” and the dance-pop “Tito’s” where she sings in Spanglish. In “Only One,” the latest single from “Yessie,” Reyez sings over a melodic funky beat and invites love into her life, “I don’t want someone who is there for everyone, I just want to be your only one. Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Rykeyz (he’s produced for the likes of Demi Lovato, HER), the track is the kind of song that can catch the airwaves.
And Reyez is poised for a takeover. With her sound, Reyez has already captivated the music industry and attracted millions of followers, receiving huge props from the likes of Eminem, who featured her not once but twice in his 2018 album Kamikaze. She also got the Beyoncé co-sign with a feature on Black is King.,” perfectly expressing the essence of a villain in Scar. When she was due to tour with Billie Eilish in 2020, everything had to come to a halt due to COVID-19. With the release of her debut studio album, Before Love Came to Kill Us, another type of alignment took place in her career, one that focused on grief at a time when the world was in deep sorrow.
This new album feels like her artistic rise from those ashes. As the world has understood over the past two years, Reyez remains true to the relationship and betrayal tracks her fans love. Towards the end of the album, in the punky “Break Me Down,” her powerful voice shines as she sings, “Wasn’t health but damn it was fun, I’m done wasting time being Broken-Heart When you’ That’s all.” , what I wanted.”
Showing this transition back to love and romance was crucial for Reyez, even as she focuses on self-love. “You can’t love yourself too close to the sun because then you become too self-sufficient and forget that ‘oh wait,’ for partnerships or for relationships with family or friends, you still have to be conscious.” She explains, adding that she stays grounded in family, meditation and prayer. “The key is finding a balance, so I’m finding a balance with the album right now. That kind of spiral journey, you know, I’m personally on right now [there].”
“The process hasn’t changed because I’m talking about my life,” she says, “but I think I’ve changed, like I’m trying harder to give myself the grace I give other people all the time.” would .”
“Yessie” reflects this duality with the lyrics and also sonically. Reyez’ sound continues to evolve with pop singles striving for stardom, but she’s still down to earth and anchored in her truth. “The process hasn’t changed because I’m talking about my life,” she says, “but I think I’ve changed, like I’m trying harder to give myself the grace I give other people all the time.” would .”
Image Credit: John Jay