As so much of the world seemed to stand still last year, the music industry was hit hard, as big acts and small were all forced to scrap plans and stay home.
With live music trying to make a comeback, Jessie Reyez made a surprise appearance at this year's Lollapalooza, the first major festival to relaunch after canceling last year's annual event in Chicago.
Of course, this is also one of Reyez's first live performances in months, so the excitement was mutual for the singer and fans. She showed up during the closing moments of grandson's set to debut the pair's standout single "Rain," which appears on the soundtrack for the new film The Suicide Squad, which is out now.
"When he called me up to bat to feature on 'Rain,' it was a no-brainer," says Reyez. "I’m also a fan of [director] James Gunn and his work, so to be able to contribute a small part of my creativity to the world of Suicide Squad is an honor.”
To be sure, the ongoing health crisis may have halted in-person shows, but Reyez is among those who have still been putting in the work. "For the first part of the [pandemic], I was in Canada," she recalls, speaking with Variance backstage at Lollapalooza. "And then for most of this last year, I’ve been in L.A. Gotta work, you know."
This has been a hard time for many people and many industries, and the music industry is no exception. But Reyez, who had been on the road with Billie Eilish when the tour was abruptly canceled because of the pandemic, says she's been determined to be optimistic, even when that hasn't always been easy.
"I've been making the most of it," she says of her outlook the past few months. "My cup is half full. That's how I look at it. I’m just choosing to look at the silver lining. That’s not easy but that's how it is."
Before her recent work with grandson, Reyez has written for the likes of Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, and she has collaborated multiple times with Eminem, but she admits she has to say no sometimes.
"Unfortunately, I have to say no," she explains. "I wish there was 10 of me, so I could do more. I love collaborating. But the nature of the beast is, you got to do just a little bit here and a little bit there. So I’m happy ['Rain'] was one we got to do."
She's continues: "I’m just lucky. I’m lucky that people even reach out and ask. Shit, there’s things I want to say yes to, but I can’t. It’s the music business at the end of the day, supply and demand. If I had a feature every month, no one’s really going to stop the world for it, you know?"
Luckily for fans, it doesn't seem as if they'll have to wait too long for more new music. Reyez has been in the studio busy working on her next project, and that's her focus currently.
"The album. Definitely. That's what's next," she reveals. But she cautions the album itself may not be out before the end of 2021. "We’ll see," she says with a pause. "Yeah, we’ll see. But there’s definitely going to be new music very soon. This year."