“We are the gatekeepers/spread your legs, open up/you could be famous…”
From Toronto, Ontario, Jessie Reyez is the newest artist to emerge from the seemingly unending pool of Canadian musical talent. Since signing to Republic Records, her unique sound, vocal style and unapologetic candor has been creating considerable buzz in the international music scene; one look at the harrowing music video for her track ‘Gatekeepers’, and it's clear why she’s got folks excited.
Featured on her recently released debut EP, Kiddo, ‘Gatekeepers’ is a hauntingly raw lament on the misogyny and double standards faced by women in the music industry. Reyez’s powerful and expertly executed vocals carry the song’s harrowing lyrics including, “20 million dollars in a car. Girl, tie your hair up if you wanna be a star.”
The visuals of the accompanying video are a sobering look at what women face in an industry still largely controlled by men and is a condensed version of a longer-length film co-written by Reyez. Inspired by an experience she had at a party with major male industry player who tried to pressure her into having sex with him to help her career, the visuals of the film create a cinematic depiction of playful partying that quickly descends into a situation that leaves her questioning her self-worth.
“It was so dangerous to my ambitions and so dangerous to my goals,” Reyez said of the experience. “I remember getting home that night being like, man, fuck, if this is what it is, I don’t think I’m cut out for it.”
Combined, the track and music video create a heartbreaking narrative, one that is sadly not unfamiliar to women. Forming part of a fuller length short film of the same name co-written by Reyez, ‘Gatekeeper’ sees the artist reclaiming power and forging a path of musical liberation.
Watch the video for 'Gatekeeper' above and stream Reyez’s EP, Kiddo, here.