Jessie Reyez is exhibit A for the kind of hard work, dedication, sweat, blood and tears it takes to make it to the top of the pop music world. As she detailed in her Honda Backstage video, from writing songs by herself in closets to composing hooks for the biggest names in the music world today, she’s been on a journey of incredible toil and sacrifice.
“Ten years ago, I used to be a background dancer for music videos and rappers and sh*t,” Reyez said. “Then I started bartending, but I was still doing music on the side and busking at the beach and stuff; auditioning for a girl group at 16 and failing; my parents freaking out when I told them I didn’t want to go to college. Every time somebody told me I couldn’t sing it made me think about how to get better.”
All that street busking and those tiny gigs where only a dozen people showed up eventually paid off for Reyez. In 2018, she’s now widely lauded as one of the rising generation of new stars in the current pop music landscape, as one of her most recent collabs, “Promises,” counts Sam Smith and Calvin Harris as co-collaborators. On the opposite end of that song’s light, airy romantic feel, her own new solo track “F*ck Being Friends” is a jittery, angular call out that confronts a hook up who has no desire to take things to the next level.
Plus, just last week she logged not one, but two guest spots on Eminem’s surprise new album Kamikaze, one of only four credited guests on the record. But for all the effort she personally put into her music and her dance moves, she knows she couldn’t have made it here alone. “There are so many pieces of the puzzle that have nothing to do with me,” Reyez said through tears. “The reactions of other people is what helped me get here.”
Watch Reyez tell her story of how she rose from being a bartender to a pop superstar in the video above, and if you’re still getting familiar, check out her debut project Kiddo here.