Categories: Arts Music Pop

Jessie Reyez on the rise with ‘Kiddo’

Growing up in Toronto, Colombian-descended R&B artist Jessie Reyez got nothing but encouragement from her parents when she began giving impromptu performances around the house, imitating salsa artists like Celia Cruz. But her musician father had guitars on hand for her to experiment with, until she perfected the swaggering, street-savvy persona on her breakthrough 2016 single “Figures” and its 2017 EP follow-up “Kiddo,” which earned her a Juno Award for Best Breakthrough Artist. “My dad and I used to sing and play guitar in church,” she says. “My parents were amazing, which is why I bring them on the road with me whenever I can. I don’t think I’ll ever pay them back for everything they’ve done for me.”

As much as you love your family, why did you move to Florida after high school instead of going to college?

I hated school for a long time, along with a lot of teachers. And I felt that college pressure, but I told myself that I was going to work for a year and a half until I could pay for my own school, and not to have go so crazy in debt. And this lady customer where I was working told me, “You’ve got to get out of this city in order to start things moving for yourself, you can’t stay here.” And I found out she was a psychic that had grown tired of helping humans, because all they asked about was money, and she was a pet psychic now. So I took the jump and went for it.

And what happened in Florida? You ended up busking on the beach?

I worked every possible day job you can think of. And yeah, I busked on an actual beach. And you can pretty much set up shop anywhere that’s really busy. But I quickly learned one thing: If you don’t have money for a speaker, you’re not going to be heard. I didn’t have an amplifier, so at first I had to go across the street from where all the sound was. But it was cool.

When did music become your career, though?

I can pinpoint the moment. I was bartending, doing a lot of yoga, and I was busking. But something didn’t feel right. And I put on this song by BJ the Chicago Kid, talking about how you cannot let other people tear down your dreams, and I thought, “OK, what opportunities have I overlooked in my life?” I remembered hearing about the Remix Project Academy in Toronto, and so I reached out to them, just before their cutoff. And I made it, flew back home and used my bartending money to sustain me through school.

IF YOU GO

Halsey, London Richards, Jessie Reyez
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 8 p.m. July 27
Tickets: $21 to $65
Contact: www.ticketmaster.com
Note: Reyez also appears at Outside Lands on Aug. 11, and at 10 p.m. Aug. 12 at The Independent; tickets to the Aug. 12 show are $30 at www.ticketfly.com.

Tom Lanham
Share
Published by
Tom Lanham

Recent Posts

Golden State Warriors drop fourth loss of the year as Draymond Green returns

By C.J. Peterson Special to S.F. Examiner Pushing the ball down court on a fast break opportunity in the first…

5 hours ago

The number of missing people in Butte County fire jumps dramatically to 631

The death toll from the devastating Camp fire in Northern California jumped to 63 on Thursday as search crews recovered…

7 hours ago

Films opening Thursday-Friday Nov. 15-16, 2018

FILMS OPENING Burning: Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo and Steven Yeun appear in Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s moody adaptation of Haruki…

11 hours ago

Family continues fight to sue SF over Kate Steinle’s fatal shooting

A panel of federal appeals court judges heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit from the parents of Kate Steinle, who…

11 hours ago

Recycling proposal to require hiring trash sorters held up in board committee

A proposal designed to boost San Francisco’s recycling rate, but which could force large businesses to hire trash sorters, failed…

12 hours ago

Unhealthy haze over SF Bay Area from Butte County fire prompts health warnings

Smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County continued to hang over San Francisco and the Bay Area on Thursday,…

13 hours ago