Jessie Reyez: 13 Facts About The Singer (And How Eminem Really Discovered Her)

Jessie Reyez is one to watch out for in the music industry.  The musician has made a name for herself with a distinct voice and an effortlessly cool persona that makes her impossible to ignore. The "Far Away" singer was born Toronto into a family of immigrants from Colombia. With Spanish being her first language, she carries her Latin roots with her, writing and producing several tracks in her native tongue. While she may not have reached mainstream success just yet, Reyez's talent hasn't gone unnoticed. Her 2018 EP album "Being Human In Public" earned the Canadian musician a Grammy nomination for "Best Urban Contemporary Album."

Reyez has quite the track record collaborating with music industry legends. The "Mutual Friend" singer toured twice with Billie Eilish and stepped in the studio with legends like Beyoncé and Eminem. The sky's the limit for the Canadian-Columbian, who told CBC Radio, "I want plaques on the wall, I want a farm for my dad, I want an orphanage, preferably two, named after my mother, I want to positively and tangibly help the lives of millions of people and die a legend." She's well on her way, having launched a nationwide tour of her self-titled album "YESSIE" in 2022, two years after her album "Before Love Came To Kill Us" racketed up 1.2 billion global streams. We're giving you the dirt on Jessie Reyez: all the facts to know about the singer (and how Eminem really discovered her.)

She's Canadian

Jessie Reyez may be a long way from her home in Toronto, but that doesn't mean she doesn't carry her Canadian roots with her in her music. She is thankful to have grown up in a city that embraces different cultures and allowed her to connect to her Colombian heritage. Reyez told The Forty Five, "Maybe if I wasn't raised in Toronto, I wouldn't be as connected, but I definitely feel every bit of the title, 'Colombian-Canadian.'" She doesn't miss a chance to collaborate with fellow Canadian musicians either, with her hit track "Figures, a Reprise" featuring fellow Toronto native Daniel Caesar.

The "Love In The Dark" artist gives back to her Toronto community whenever she can. Reyez was invited back to her home city in 2021 by the Toronto Raptors to give a jaw-dropping performance of the Canadian national anthem on top of a towering building before a game. She also helped launch the team's mission statement that year, which highlighted "abundant potential in human resilience," shining a light on Toronto's inclusivity efforts when it comes to race and immigration. 

Reyez returned to Toronto in 2022 to finally give her day-one fans the homecoming they have been waiting for. Reyez released her album "Before Love Come To Kill Us" deep into the coronavirus pandemic, shuttering any hopes of tour stops. As per Exclaim, her two sold-out shows in her stomping ground brought the musician to tears by the end of the night following a buzz-worthy performance in the city that shaped her into who she is today.

She embraces her Colombian heritage

As a daughter of immigrants, Jessie Reyez's level of global success means so much to her Latin heritage. Reyez grew up adapting to life in Canada under a Colombian family's roof. Her experience not only shaped her life — but it shaped her music as well. The "Coffin" artist has several songs in Spanish, but it still presents a challenge for her. "Unfortunately, because I went to school in North America, my [Spanish] writing takes time. I always second guess the tenses, I always second guess those kinds of things," she told The Forty Five.

Reyez recalls a childhood where Colombia was a part of her family's everyday lives, down to a scooter branded with the Colombian flag. When she wanted a razor scooter like the rest of her friends, her father improvised. "My dad went to the garage, spent one or two days and built one out of wood and painted it with the Colombian colors," she told Billboard

The singer's unique family history may have set her apart, but it also made her susceptible to judgment from her peers growing up. Reyez, who was raised in a working-class family, was lucky enough to have a father who never made her feel less than. "I was wearing the four-stripe shoe instead of the Adidas, and then going home and my dad [saying], "No, the four-stripe shoe does exactly what the three-stripe shoe does. You'll be okay." He was right, as the singer has enough money now to buy as many Adidas shoes as she pleases.

She's not afraid to be vulnerable

Vulnerability and honesty are things you will find in all of Jessie Reyez's songs. Her lyrics cut right to the core of trauma, love, and healing, with lyrics that are so inherently human. She opens up about the process of seeing a former love move on in the track "EMOTIONAL DETACHMENT DEMO", and the rawness of her lyrics is what sets it apart from other breakup anthems. "Met your new girl at Johnny's party, I had to smile and say, 'what up?', then I ran my a** to the bathroom so I could cry about old love," Reyez sings. 

Reyez consistently uses her platform in music as her own way to heal from past relationships, and she isn't afraid to be real about it with her fans. She says her 2022 album "YESSIE" is her most vulnerable music to date. In an interview with Q With Tom Power, she said, "I always loved in a tidal wave sort of way, that left me dry," the artist admitted adding, "The recovery was like Everest." 

The singer has newer, fresher perspectives since the Coronavirus halted any touring plans for her 2020 album "Before Love Came To Kill Us." After she was given time to self-reflect, Reyez says there's an openness to her music now that didn't exist before. "Part of my growth is realizing that.. if [love] happens and if it goes left, and if the tidal wave comes and if you go dry, it's fine because the water is abundant regardless."

She's recorded with Beyonce

Not all artists have the privilege of working with Queen B herself, Beyoncé. Jessie Reyez can knock it off her bucket list however, as the Toronto native teamed up with the music legend to provide vocals for "The Lion King: The Gift." As announced on her Facebook page, Reyez was featured alongside 070 Shake in the track and music video for the single "SCAR." She spoke to The Forty Five about the honor of working with Beyoncé, saying, "It feels insane. I'm part of the Beyhive. I loved her from before she was Beyoncé. I loved Destiny's child." The "Before Love Came To Kill Us" was star-struck after meeting one of her idols, recalling, "After meeting her, I had to go meditate to come back to Earth, 'cause I was too hype. I said everything I needed to say, and then I went to go touch some grass."

In the visual album, Reyez slips out from behind trees at nighttime to deliver her powerful verses, "Show no fear, boy, where's your spinal?/Where's your backbone? /Where's your pyro?/I had to be everything you couldn't be for my survival/My own idol skipped my trial." Reyez didn't go quietly following her experience working in the Beehive. She took to Instagram in since-deleted posts obtained by CBC, writing, "Beyoncé and Lion King are synonymous with my childhood," Reyez posted on Instagram. "I'm on a f***ing trip."

Her unique voice and pitch sets her apart

Jessie Reyez's voice carries a whole plethora of emotions with it. Her wide tonal range, pitch, and signature sound make her music one of a kind. The "Far Away" artist has a way of shifting from a shier feminine tone to one that's angsty and raspy all at the same time. Her ability to achieve such a wide range of vocals, from low to high-pitched is something not every artist can do so effortlessly. 

Many of Reyez's songs shift from soft and sweet to powerful and reaching, taking listeners on a vocal journey that coincides with what she's singing about. In her track "MOOD" she starts off freestyles over snippets of a dubbed-up baby voice, then lifts off into a powerful chorus with backing tracks. She also flips back and forth from English to Spanish easily, showcasing her capability not just as a Canadian artist but as a Latin artist as well.

"I hope listeners take away whatever they're supposed to. If someone feels like they've got a homie on the track, great. If someone is triggered because they're the piece of s**t I'm talking about, great," she told Next Magazine, adding, "However it's supposed to land, it will. I'm always creating. The day we turned in this album, I went to the studio and made more s**t. It's why a fish swims, why the sky is blue — it's a process that doesn't stop for me."

Enimen is one of her biggest supporters

Jessie Reyez has some big fans — one being Eminem himself. The "Mockingbird" rapper spoke about his admiration for the Colombian-Canadian and how he first discovered her in an interview with ePro Team. Eminem revealed he saw Reyez on "Late Night With Seth Meyers" performing her track "Gatekeeper" and he was struck by her talent. "I was like who the f*** is this — cause her voice to me was so crazy," Eminem said, adding, "so I rewound it and I was like 'Oh Sh**t, I gotta check her out.'" The rapper went on to say he has no doubts about where she will go, adding that "she will absolutely be huge."

The two went on to work together, with Eminem featured on Reyez's track "Coffin" and the Toronto native providing vocals for the rapper's single "Good Guy." Reyez compared her time in the studio with the "Till I Collapse" rapper as spiritual, telling XXL Magazine, "Sometimes I get lucky [with] spirit and inspiration. I been blessed to be in rooms with like, f***in' legends. I usually keep my cool. Only two times in my life have I lost it. Em was one of them."

The "Titos" spoke to NME about the honor of working with the rapper, believing it was a sign her career was on the right path. "Being acknowledged by and asked to collaborate with someone that you've looked up to as a kid is special," she admitted. 

She accused a producer of sexual misconduct

Jessie Reyez is using her platform as an artist to speak and sing about the injustices she faced as a woman in the music industry. The singer came forward in 2018 to reveal she herself had been taken advantage of in the industry. The "Adios Amor" singer retweeted a TMZ report in 2018 that accused Music Producer Detail of physically and sexually assaulting two aspiring artists. "One night, over 6 years ago Noel 'Detail' Fisher tried this on me. I was lucky and I got out before it got to this. I didn't know what to say or who to tell. I was scared. Fear is a real thing. The girls that came out are brave as hell," Reyez wrote at the time.

Detail, whose real name is Noel Fisher, is well-known in the industry, having worked with music legends like Beyoncé, Drake, Jay-Z, and Wiz Khalifa. The producer won a Grammy for producing Beyoncé's hit song "Drunk In Love" and has been nominated other several times by the Recording Academy. As per The Guardian, Fisher was arrested in 2020 on 15 counts of sexual assault and five counts of felony assault for his alleged crimes between 2010 and 2018. The producer was held on a $6 million dollar bail, with his attorney saying at the time, "I am quite certain he will enter a not guilty plea and contest to the fullest all of these allegations." A year prior to his arrest, a Los Angeles model was awarded $15 million after accusing Fisher of rape.

She's open about her mental health

One thing Jessie Reyez doesn't shy away from is mental health. The artist is incredibly open with her fans about how important it is to take care of yourself, and it's evident in the many tracks she's released about healing. If you ever attend a live show, she also brings the same energy into her performances. As per Complex, she told her Los Angeles fans on her "YESSIE" tour stop to "Breathe in, inhale! Breathe out, exhale," jokingly adding, "I've never heard anyone yell when they meditate, but do you!" But mental health is the farthest thing from a joke for the musician, who believes being in the present moment is essential. 

Reyez spoke about the power of meditation in an interview for "Q with Tom Power", saying, "It brings you to right now, and I feel like it just makes me appreciate things differently. It makes me more present in conversations, it makes me be more...connected." The Toronto native revealed that when the Coronavirus pandemic halted her career, she took to therapy and did a lot of self-reflecting while life was on pause. "It was heal or die," she said, adding that the book "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" by Eckhart Tolle gave her the tools she needed to survive a difficult transition period in her life. Reyez turns to music to open up about her healing processes, even poking fun at emotional breakdowns. In her track "Shutter Island" she sings, "My straight jacket's custom-made though (With f***ing diamonds)"

She's besties with Kehlani

Jessie Reyez has made some real friends in the music industry on her road to the top. The "Figures" singer spoke about her close friendship with artist Kehlani, whose real name is Kehlani Ashley Parrish, on "The Angie Martinez Show." Reyez admitted that the first time she met the "Nights Like This" singer, she helped her out of a rut when the two were at the same party. The "Coffin" singer admitted during the interview that she struggles with social anxiety, and when she slipped away for a private moment to herself, Kehlani came to check on her. "[She] took it upon herself to check on me ... she helped talk me off the ledge ... it set the tone, that's the first night we ever chilled like that."

The friendship between the two translated into their music together, with Reyez featured on Kehlani's track "More Than I Should." Kehlani also provided her vocals when she joined Reyez for the remix of her song "Body Count" alongside Normani. The anthem unapologetically preaches about the power of being a woman, with lyrics like, "You were birthed by a woman, show some f**king respect," and "We don't care what they say / We gon' love who we wanna love."

Kehlani has nothing but love for her bestie, telling Hot New Hip Hop that Reyez is "insane to me in the best way," going on to add that, "She just makes you want to love her. And we all do. Everybody who knows her loves her."

She was once a bottle girl

Jessie Reyez knows a thing or two about humble beginnings. The "Gatekeeper" singer adopted her immigrant parents' hard work ethic and determination into her own life, grinding her way to fame. She told the Miami New Times about her days of working in the service industry before getting her big break, revealing that she used to trade free shots to DJs that agreed to play her music. 

It started when Reyez traded her Canadian snow boots for bikinis when her family moved to Fort Lauderdale after securing a visa. Reyez saw it as her chance to expand creatively, and she immediately started hustling as a bartender in hopes of one day getting noticed as a musician. The singer admitted to Miami New Times that she even worked as a dancer for Bongo's, a Cuban cafe that features salsa and merengue dancing. 

Eventually, Reyez put her days of working in the nightlife industry to rest after scoring an audition for The Remix Project. As per the website, the company aims to "level the playing field for talented youth who face barriers pursuing careers in arts and entertainment." The recording academy welcomed the singer into their fold, giving her the tools to release her first EP, and later her Grammy-nominated second EP titled "Being Human in Public." Reyez admitted the project was a huge stepping stone for her, saying, "I was lucky. I ended up working with people who are lifelong friends."

She snuck past club security to hand Calvin Harris her demo

Before Jessie Reyez was writing for Calvin Harris, she was begging for him to listen to her demo tape. As per her interview with Vibe, the singer admitted she snuck her way past club security guards to hand the DJ her demo. "I got my bag and filled it with my sh***y little mixtape, and we went in," the singer said. "We went to the next room, and as soon as security turned their head I ran up and tried to give [it to the] DJ, but one of his guys ended up taking it. The security saw me but I just ran into the crowd, and that DJ was Calvin Harris." 

Reyez's swift moves ended up paying off, as years later the two ended up collaborating together on multiple projects. The "Far Away" artist was featured on Harris's track "Hard to Love" and she worked alongside him again when she and the DJ were featured on Sam Smith's single "I'm Not Here To Make Friends." Reyez also put her songwriting skills to use, helping to write Harris's and Dua Lipa's track "One Kiss." 

Harris sang her praise, telling Reyez (as per Vibe), "You have the good voice, you have the content, you have the audience and you have the melody," Harris said. "When you hit the spots, all of those things, you have a really impactful important artist. A lot of people see that in you."

She was nominated for a Grammy

While Jessie Reyez might still be making her way onto the mainstream music scene, her work is already critically acclaimed. The "Only One" singer received a Grammy nomination in 2020 for "Best Urban Contemporary Album" for her second EP "Being Human In Public." The singer opened up about what the Grammy nod meant to her in an interview for CBC News, saying "People that are excited about the album and people that are resonating with the music in tandem with getting recognition from your peers I feel is a blessing," she admitted. "It means a lot, I remember watching the award show when I was a kid too so it's crazy."

The singer recalled getting the news unexpectedly, telling Music Choice, "I thought somebody died, cause I was like 'What the hell is everybody doing here?'" Her parents were there to break the news, with her dad singing his congratulations in Spanish to celebrate his daughter. Reyez compared the nomination to an out-of-body experience, something that took her months to comprehend. President Obama even took a liking to her music, telling Reyez he was a fan when they met in person. "I so enjoyed listening to you. I hear you've been blowing it up, that's the word on the street," the President said in this clip.

She's supported by music legends

Jessie Reyez has received plenty of love from some of the music industry's greatest players. As per Variety, fellow Toronto native Drake paid the artist a visit at her "YESSIE" album launch party in 2022. The party, which was held at No Vacancy in Los Angeles, saw Diddy, Yung Miami, Diplo, Murda Beatz, and Ty Dolla Sign attend in support of Reyez. The singer made sure to bring a bit of her Colombian heritage to the festivity, including adding some positive affirmations in her native language as wall decoration. 

The "Mutual Friend" posted an Instagram snap following the event alongside Drake with the caption, "A few from the album release party in LA last night #yessie is outttttt."  Rapper Ty Dolla Sign commented on the post, writing, "Album so fire!!!!! Congrats." Reyez named the album after her own nickname, telling Billboard that "YESSIE" has nothing to do with saying yes. "It took me a long time to realize that 'no' is a full sentence," she confessed. "I was originally thinking I was going to name the project 'Self', because I feel like I've made such an emphasis on self-discovering, self-healing. I've been way more selfish than I've ever been in my life. You need balance, but I needed that extra push to get close to myself again and treat myself with kindness."