During a recent appearance on Hot 97's Ebro In The Morning, buzzing Toronto singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez was asked about her song "Gatekeeper," a track from her Kiddo EP that serves as a sharp rebuke of record industry executives who demand sexual favors from female artists in exchange for entrance into the business.
"Oh I'm the gatekeeper, spread your legs, open up, you could be famous, if you come up anywhere else, I'll erase you," she sings on the opening verse.
In both a chilling short film and an emotional Instagram post, Reyez previously addressed the song and the story behind it, but while speaking with co-hosts Ebro Darden and Laura Stylez, she bravely admitted that she actually considered sexual advances in order to gain entry into the predominantly male industry she had been pursuing for years.
"It fucked me up because I thought about it," Reyez explained. "I thought about doing it. It's not like it was a solid no. I thought about doing it. I got in the car, I was like, 'Shit, am I fucking up right now? How bad do I really want this dream? Why am I not down if all of these girls are supposed to do it and this girl's telling me that this is what girls do to get into the industry? Am I really that ambitious? Is that really what I want? Am I made up for this? Should I quit? Should I switch professions?"
Since penning the record, Reyez, 27, signed a very favorable record deal with Island Records in 2016, but that doesn't mean she isn't interested in continuing to talk about her experiences leading up to that moment.
"I talk about it because it was an experience," continued Reyez. "The same way if I broke my finger today, I'd sing about breaking my finger tomorrow. It's just crazy, crazy the response. I didn't know what kind of response I was going to get. It was just crazy to have that.... and people responded, like, 'I've been through that.' Dudes who were like, 'I've been around that.'...It's 2017, how is this shit still happening? How are men that have daughters, and men that have sisters, and men that have mothers move that way?"
In an industry that has long placed entertainment value over ethics, and willingly ignores the sexual deviancy of artists, managers and label executives in the name of the almighty dollar, Reyez' decision to confront sexism in the music business in such a brutally transparent manner deserves high praise. Now, if only some of her male counterparts would follow her lead.