Jessie Reyez has a powerful voice—in more ways than one. The raw candor in the Canadian-Colombian singer's lyrics will instantly draw you in. If you press play on her debut album Before Love Came to Kill Us, she'll mesmerize you with every note she utters from start to finish. But, it's not just her artistry that deserves your attention. The Grammy-nominated R&B artist has also been using her platform to shed light on some of the most important global issues, speaking out on racism, sexism, and immigration. Her unwavering commitment to fighting against inequality is one reason why Secret Deodorant tapped Reyez to star in their national campaign and pen an accompanying song last year. Her resulting anthem, "No Sweat," speaks directly to women, encouraging them to pursue their dreams fearlessly.
Going into my interview with Reyez, I knew that we'd dive deep into the important work she's doing with Secret to empower women. But through our conversation, I was also able to understand firsthand how deeply she cares for others and how in tune she is with the world around her. Ahead, Reyez opens up about how meditation has helped her cope over the last year, how to harness inner strength, and what she's looking forward to in 2021.
The One Thing She Loves About Secret
One thing that I try to make sure is always present in my music is that I work to be strong. I work to heal. I work to be more grounded. I work to be a stronger woman. Secret is very much aligned with that. They're known for empowering women, so it just made sense. It was the right fit. I was fortunate when we started working together they gave me a basket full of everything. So I've been using all of their products.
The One Thing She'd Tell People Who Want to Harness Their Strength
I would tell them to fail faster. There are so many songs that I've written that are on the cutting room floor and never saw the light of day. And it just takes having to write and write and write until you get one that you're proud of. I think the same analogy applies to life.
Even if someone tells you "no" or even if one day completely tanks at something, it's fine as long as you can adjust your perspective and realize that it's just one "no" closer to the "yes" you're bound to get. By law and the statistics of life, it can't be "no" forever if you keep going. You just need to fail fast. Don't be scared of losing.
The One Thing She Always Does in Her Beauty Routine
I use Vaseline on my lips. I put a lot of conditioner in my hair. I hate gels on my hair because it makes it crunchy. So I use conditioner in the shower and after the shower. I'll apply mascara if I haven't slept. I like to call it "fake awake."
The One Thing That Helped Her Mental Health During The Pandemic
Meditation has saved me a lot. There's this thing called the Deepak Chopra Abundance Meditation. It's great. It helped center me, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. It came out of nowhere, and it kind of forced people to have to deal with demons because they went from a normal-paced world where many people were living a regular life filled up with things that aren't necessarily essential to their soul to four walls and themselves. So, then all you have is you.
When I found myself there, I found that meditation and doing gratitude work really helped me. They're things that I still carry through now, even though things are slowly trying to get back to normal. Those are things that I feel I'm going to carry with me my whole life.
The One Thing Picked Up During The Pandemic
I've always loved to read. So I think that the gift right now is having more time to read. I love getting lost in books, and it's just been cool to have the time to pick up a new one or blast an audiobook in the car and get through it.
I've also been working on my craft a lot too. I've been honing in on my voice through vocal lessons, doing vocal exercises, and listening to Jazmine Sullivan. I've been going on her YouTube and slowing down her videos to follow her runs because they're so intricate.
The One Thing That Inspires Her Songs
I've just always pulled from my stories and my truth about everything I've been through. That really hasn't changed. Even in 2019, there were still certain songs that I wrote about things that happened five years earlier. It's just that the wound still feels fresh enough to be able to provide a song.
The One Thing She's Looking Forward to in 2021
I'm looking forward to seeing people's happiness when they reunite with their families and seeing people that I haven't been able to hug in over a year. I can't wait to get back to work and do more stuff with Secret. They've pledged $1 million to help foster gender equality. They're also helping to pay for childcare, workforce development, and barrier reduction programs and services for 100,000 women.
I love the fact that I get to work with them, and they're doing this during a difficult time for the community. But doing the work in times like this does create ripples. It's going to have a residual effect down the line. To be a part of a team that's doing that right now and be able to see that as the world gets back to normal is going to be a gift as well.
During this time, a lot of women have also had to hold things together at home. A lot of moms have been working double to hold things together at home. So globally, I hope to see people take an exhale, feel a little bit of normalcy come back, and not feel so much heavy weight on their shoulders.
I'm excited to see everyone's stress go down a little bit. I want people to be able to hug a family member. It's about simple things like walking around outside without a mask. I'm excited to see the day where we can do that again. And everyone, by default, is going to have an added layer of appreciation that they never had before. Because before, you just thought that that was normal.