Five years ago, when singer Jessie Reyez was only 20 years old, she attended a party full of music industry executives and felt she had made a strong impression after giving an impromptu a cappella performance. So after a well-known producer told the Toronto native that he admired her talent and was interested in signing her, she agreed to ride with him in his car to discuss business. While one man drove the car, the producer got into the backseat alongside Reyez. What happened next, she said, was horrific.
Reyez said that the producer began trying to touch her, all the while telling her that he would make her a star if only she let him have his way. When she rejected him, she said, he grew enraged and began screaming at her.
“Does this bitch know who the **k I am? We’re the gatekeepers,” he yelled into Reyez’s face. “You’re not using your pussy, you’re not serious about your f**king dreams.”
That incident proved the inspiration for Reyez’s new R&B track “Gatekeeper,” one of the signature songs on her first major EP release, “Kiddo.” In a 12-minute short film that accompanies the song, Reyez said she strove to re-enact the entire scene as realistically as possible.
At the time, Reyez admits, she had considered giving into the producer because it would have benefited her career. But she said her Catholic faith helped give her the strength to refuse him, even if after the incident she was left questioning whether she wanted to be in the music business at all. Reyez has declined to name the producer, saying only that her alleged attacker is current struggling to stay afloat in the industry.
“I hope he knows ‘Gatekeeper’ is about him, but that’s wishful thinking,” Reyez told The New York Post. “I was probably one of many girls he tried that with.”
In an unrelated twist to the tale, the song’s release last month came only days before Epic Records CEO LA Reid was let go over claims of sexual harassment.
Watch the music video and the full film for “Gatekeeper” below.
Read the full story at The New York Post.