Tonight on Beats 1, Julie Adenuga speaks to Jessie Reyez about working with Paul Epworth, the similarities between Toronto and London, Amy Winehouse, her debut P, her single Gatekeeper and the video and much more.
On working with Paul Epworth
He’s an absolute G
"I was amped when I got to work with Paul Epworth. It was a pleasure to work with him. I was honored the vibe he had in the studio. Omg I almost cried. Egg White was super dope. I really vibe with the culture here."
On London & Toronto
What are the similarities between Toronto and London?
"The fact that you have this melting pot of races is a beautiful thing that you also have in Toronto. The Caribbean influence is also in Toronto. The fact that you could get influences from so many different countries, Latinos, Asians, it’s mad sick that you have the same vibe here. It’s spreading to the suburbs more than it used to. It’s a beautiful thing to be spreading.”
On Amy Winehouse’s influence
"Amy Winehouse all day. ‘Back To Black' I love it. 'Stronger Than Me’ is really dope, her take on ‘Valerie.' There’s so many. She’s amazing. But you can’t identify with your faults, you can’t identify with your pain because you lose your self. I remember this guy named Bryan Espiritu, this OG in Toronto, he’s behind this massive thing called Legends League you can’t identify your shortcomings, even though it’s part of your art you can’t fully identify with it because you will lose yourself in that darkness.”
On working with Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris said I worked with the greatest artist of our generation on my album talking about you. How do you feel?
"That’s wild no? That’s a lot. I’m honored. When someone’s got such positive energy it’s like comfort and excitement and happiness. When we worked its as supposed to be a 1-day session and the vibe was dope it turned into a week. and then it turned into more days. He’s been so supportive, he’s offered guidance, I’m so grateful to everyone that’s ever helped me."
On her debut EP ‘Kiddo
As a whole, what does this EP mean to you?
"It’s a lot. It’s both sides of the spectrum. It’s a rainbow of emotions, it’s as honest as I could make it. It’s sporadic, a child of polarites, it’s Quentin Tarantino, it’s violent soul music."
On her single ‘Gatekeeper'
If you haven’t watched it yet it’s this almost uncomfortable video of you being the most honest I’ve ever seen a human being be in front of a camera. There were parts I couldn’t watch. You probably are one of the most brave people I’ve met to be able to go through and put something out in the world that people are going to ask you about now. How has the journey been at this stage?
"Thank you for saying that we didn’t approach it that way. I didn’t want to approach it as brave. Everyone goes through it, especially women. We all go through it. It just so happens that some of us, the situation is too tense too much and you can’t get out of it, and sometimes it’s not, but I didn’t ever want it to be this thing, like this flagship because it’s not always a bright side. Sometimes those stories have dark dark endings. It’s just an experience I wanted to talk about and it’s been beautiful that the ripple effects have been positive to other people. To talk about it there are two sides to the coin. It’s an honor that women come up to me and say ‘thank you for talking about this,’ something we don’t talk about often, but on the other side It’s wack that it’s even a conversation, it’s wack that so many women have the same story to tell. It’s wack that there are environments women have to walk into every day where they deal with this kind of thing. There’s two sides to it."
When you perform or played it to someone for the first time what were the reactions?
"It’s interesting because sometimes they’re polar opposites. There are people that are guilty of it. Sometimes there are women in the room and get emotional. If you’re getting emotional it’s probably because you’ve been on the not so great side of that. It’s interesting being in rooms and certain men will move a type of way. It’s so potent the way people react sometimes.”