Earlier this week, Jessie Reyez went on Instagram to get us hyped for her first-ever Spanish-language song. “I hope you like it, and since you say I don’t speak enough Spanish, here it is, carajo,” she joked in the short video clip. Today, the song — titled “Sola”— has finally dropped, and it finds the Canadian-Colombian singer flexing her achy-breaky vocals en español.
Reyez posted a heartfelt message about the process of writing in Spanish on Instagram. “Some people don’t know but Spanish is my first language. Since my schooling was in Canada, my brain has always been kinda mixed up when I write because of it (among other reasons lol). I’ve always felt like I have two hearts and two voices…triple the amount of anxiety. I’m nervous as hell.”
The track creaks open with an acoustic melody. Similar to Reyez’s soulful hit “Figures,” it highlights the shocking, raw power of her voice, which is constantly drenched with searing emotion. At first listen, “Sola” is a straightforward break-up ballad in which Reyez is using that heartrending falsetto to deliver lyrics about leaving a lover behind.
However, a closer inspection reveals that the track is actually a rumination on the role women are expected to play in society. “Ellas son fieles/Ellas son santas/Ellas son buenas, perdonan calladas/No hacen escenas/No piden nada/Yo no te podría complacer/No soy ese tipo de mujer,” she sings as she grapples with the archetypes that society often wants women to fall into when they’re in relationships. She rejects those categorizations and instead makes it clear that she’d rather be herself, alone: “Prefiero que te alejes, Prefiero que me dejas sola.”
It’s not the first time Reyez has elegantly navigated complex conversations about gender through her music. In her song “Gatekeeper,” Reyez exposed the challenges women face in the music industry, later revealing the song was about the sexual misconduct of famed “Drunk in Love” producer Detail. Seeing her bring some of that context and dialogue into the Spanish-speaking world is refreshing and a welcome addition, and it makes us eager to see what else she has to say.
Stream the track below.