Daily Discovery is a feature that highlights a new or recently discovered artist who we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.
You can get a team of great songwriters and producers, pair them with a great singer, and maybe create a hit. But does it feel real? Does it mean anything? The songs that connect, the songs that change people's lives—they have real and emotions and actual stories behind them. Whether it's Amy Winehouse's heartbroken balladry or Sia laying bare her personal demons, we'll take something honest over something engineered.
Even before seeing the video for Jessie Reyez' "Figures," the song feels intimate, but the audio and video combination is an intense experience. The singer and songwriter was born in Toronto to Colombian parents, and she has already made music with King Louie and hung out with Chance The Rapper. Based off "Figures," we can't wait to hear her EP, which is on the way.
Check out "Figures" and read an interview with Jessie below.
Tell us about "Figures." How did the song come together and was there a certain person who inspired it?
I created it in Sweden with Preist and the Beast and Shy Carter. I was going through some darkness back home and was lucky enough to turn that bullshit into a song. My cheating ex inspired it... duh.
I remember thinking over and over I wish I was capable of vengeance... but love doesn't let you.
How has Toronto shaped you as an artist and a person? Is there a strong artistic community there?
This city is such a mosaic. It has shaped me by allowing me to hold on to my family's Colombian roots and also be influenced by other cultures and imported music, despite being born in Canada. The diversity here produces this weird colorful little mutt that is Toronto music.
I feel like there is a strong artistic community here. Obviously the OVO movement has helped make the city's musical contribution global and there are so many talented artists and producers here working to get to a bigger stage as well; Savannah Re, Jhyve, Junia-T, Moose, Allan Rayman. So many. All dope and all grinding.
When did you start making music, and then when did you start focusing on writing, recording, and releasing your own songs?
I started when I was 3. I was awful. I was watching Celia Cruz and Pavarotti and my mom saw that I was obsessed. My dad also plays guitar. I started recording at, like, 8 years old, using the "two tape decks" method. I was still awful. It wasn't until I got older, around 18, when I went through my first heartbreak and started writing from a real place; that's when a few people started listening. Then I made it into the Remix Project in Toronto and that's when I really jumped in head first. Daniel Daley (from DVSN) helped mentor me there—he challenged me to step up my song writing and vocal skills. I'm still not as good as him though!
Can you talk about how you linked with King Louie for "Living In The Sky" and what that experience was like?
That song happened because of the Remix Project. In short, it's an art incubator for at risk youth; basically free schooling if you make it. They teach you about the industry and help sharpen your skills. Two years ago King Louie came as a speaker and before we started "class," Gavin Sheppard (one of the founders of The Remix Project) played Louie one of my songs. He said he fucked with it and wanted to work. We ended up at a condo in Toronto with a bunch of talented people including Doc McKinney, Wonda Gurl, the late Redway (r.i.p), Sean Leon, Spooky Black and King Louie.
Everyone was just vibing, the end of the day was coming, and I thought to myself, "I can't let this opportunity go to waste," so I said fuck it. I took out my guitar and said, "Want to create?" to Louie. He goes "Right here?" and I said "Yeah." We ended up on the balcony and "Living In The Sky" was made. I love Louie. He's taught me a lot and been supportive of my shit since he first heard it. If it wasn't for him a lot of things, like the link with Chance the Rapper, wouldn't have happened. Now I've got this love affair with Chicago and it's thanks to him.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Can we look forward to new music?
Yes. It's coming. I promise. I'm making sure everything is just right. I can't wait to perform the whole project live. I can't wait to have my folks at a big show. I'm so thankful that people have reacted to "Figures." I'm so thankful for the help from my immediate team and the community around me.
I saw some covers on your YouTube and Facebook—do you have a favorite song to cover?
Yes. It's a tie between "Too Much" by Spice Girls (dead ass!) and "THat Part" by ScHoolBoy Q.