Jessie Reyez has been a whiskey girl since her pre-fame life as a bartender. Now, the “Figures” singer is fittingly partnering with Jameson Irish Whiskey to host a fun, St. Patrick’s Day virtual performance on Wednesday (Mar. 17).
“Honestly, it just seemed natural because whiskey’s just been my drink of choice for a long time, since my bartending days and I also innately miss performing,” Reyez told Billboard of her upcoming gig. “So, given the opportunity to do it in a different way, even if its long-distance with a virtual audience, I’m still down for it.”
The immersive show will see the Toronto native perform a “solid mix” of songs from her 2020 debut album Before Love Came to Kill Us, her 2018 EP Being Human in Public and her 2017 EP Kiddo. Joining Reyez to rep the Six are Junia-T and Savannah Ré, her longtime pals. “I think Savannah’s dope, I think Juns is dope and I’m really happy to include them,” Reyez said. “I’m happy Jameson gave me the opportunity to actual bring up friends.”
To celebrate Toronto, the event will bring fans through the city’s streets and taken inside The Great Hall – a local venue that has been empty since its doors shut at the beginning of the pandemic. That’s where the trio will perform.
The virtual performance will also celebrate emerging talent over in Dublin, Ireland (obviously, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day). Kojaque and Denise Chaila will both perform from there.
While this year’s St. Paddy’s celebrations look a lot different than in years past, Reyez shared some tips for having fun at home. “I feel like drinking alone during the pandemic isn’t the best way to do it,” she said with a laugh. “If you can link up with a homie and put them on FaceTime or put them on Zoom, and you guys can reminisce and have a bottle and put some music on, put some Bob Marley on and vibe, put a green t-shirt on and green beads and do what you can.”
“You can look at the cup half full, even in situations like this, and it’s an opportunity to go outside of your comfort zone,” she added.
And since the show is in partnership with Jameson, and the “Imported” singer is a whiskey fan, we at Billboard needed to know how she drinks her whiskey. “I love it neat or with an ice cube,” she shared. “I love how it gets it done, I love that it’s smooth, I love that it don’t give me no hangovers. It’s the one drink where I was like, this is great, I have a good time and a nice, mellow vibe. You don’t get a hangover. I’m lit, I’m good.”
Tickets to the show are free, but participants have the opportunity to donate to Al Otro Lado, an organization that provides holistic legal and humanitarian support to refugees, deportees and other immigrants in the United States and Tijuana.
The cause is close to Reyez’s heart, as she’s a child of immigrants herself. “I was born in Canada, my family is from Colombia but my parents originally moved to Canada because it was easier to get papers and they were trying to offer me a bit of life,” she explained. “My dad originally had the plan of going to the States, but he decided to apply for the papers for Canada. We were waiting in Canada to get approved. We waited 16 years to get legally approved, and then we moved to the States.”
“The reason why that hits me is because there’s a lot of talk about immigration, illegal immigration — people have the stereotypical attributions toward Latinos and just this negative air about it,” she continued. “I think that it’s crazy because if you would stop for a second and think, ‘Listen, if you’re in a messed up situation or running away from persecution or you’re looking for refugee status, or you’re looking to give your kid a better life because your current situation is not that, are you going to have the patience to wait 16 years?’ A lot can happen in 16 years, and it’s so easy for people of privilege to say, ‘You could just do the right way.’ The ‘right way’ isn’t set out to help the regular man, so I think if people could empathize more and be easier – I could have easily been born into a different life, and I could have been born into that situation and know that I’d be appreciative if other Latinos were reaching out and helping me.”
Sign-up for the event, which will air globally on Wednesday (Mar. 17) at 8 p.m. ET/PT/GMT/MYT and 9 p.m. CET, is available here. To cheers Reyez with a glass of whiskey, order some Jameson with one-hour delivery via Drizly here.
If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.