The wood surfaces and high ceilings of Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul reverberated with the echo of cheering fans as Jessie Reyez strutted on stage Nov. 9.
The fiery Canadian-Colombian R&B hip-hop singer has been on tour since Oct. 11 promoting her sophomore EP Being Human in Public. However, the stresses of being on tour never showed as Reyez removed her hoodie, revealing a lush mass of dark wavy hair, and her omniscient stage presence grew.
Razor-edged light beams carried Reyez’s strong and poignant choruses off-stage as the setlist moved into “Dear Yessie”, her testament of being a minority woman in the competitive music industry. The artist opened the song with the lyrics “this is the realest I’ve ever been” and “b*tch, a minority, they wouldn’t let me in” as fans bobbed their heads in mutual recognition.
It wasn’t until Reyez pulled up a stool to the microphone that fans quieted and listened more attentively. With the Colombian flag draped around her, Reyez began “Sola”, an acoustic-filled melody written and sang in Spanish, her first language.
Through Reyez’s searing melody and emotion, it appeared to be a straightforward break-up ballad. However, on closer inspection, “Sola” grapples with the roles women are expected to play in society; a creatively-placed rendition and a subject she’s explored in her music before.
The performance picked up its raw-energetic pace as Reyez donned a custom-made straight jacket and ushered fans into her own asylum with “Shutter Island.” Reyez drifted throughout the stage, obscured by an eerie pupil-dilating blue fog.
Reyez further explored the music industry with “Gatekeeper”, chronicling her experiences of sexism in the music industry. Her lyrics “30 million people want a shot, how much would it take for you to spread those legs apart” sparked mutual anger with fans and a sense of camaraderie fell upon the crowd.
Reyez also played her popular single “Figures” and the recent hit “Body Count”, a playful and jazzy sex-positive piece that serves as her anthem for independent women in a fast society.
Jessie Reyez’s performance left fans pouring into the snow-dusted streets of St. Paul carrying her raw energy and fiery personality with them. In all, it’s a show that’ll leave maintenance workers repairing bass-split floorboards and fans with something to warm them on cold nights.
Photos by Gage Cureton | MSU Reporter.