Jessie Reyez on writing Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss”

Listen to episode 5 of FADER Explains.

August 02, 2018

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Calvin Harris is a legend. For the past couple of summers, he's supplied the world with a dreamy hit song that is always a major contender — and sometimes champion — for the Song of the Summer title. On the latest episode of FADER Explains, our podcast zeroing in on what makes a Song of the Summer, we dissected Harris's career and what makes his songs so addicting for the season. Luckily, the incredible Jessie Reyez joined in to talk about working with him. She's a writer on "One Kiss," Harris and Dua Lipa's 2018 smash hit, and she told us all about the chill working environment he creates. Be sure to check out her new song "Apple Juice," too — it's a banger.

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So let's talk about "One Kiss." Congrats on having a huge summer song that you wrote.

Thank you it's surreal, which is a word I've been using a lot lately.

When did you originally write this, did you have it in your back pocket. How did it work?

Me and him have known each other for a minute now. He reached out to me when I first dropped my own song "Figures." He reached out to me on Twitter like, "Hey people are excited about you and the song's dope, thought you should know." I was like ah thanks man and we started talking. He told me to come out to L.A., he was working on his project at that time. It was in the beginning stages. I went out and it was supposed to be a one day session and it turned into a week. It's chemistry, it's dope. I'm really fortunate that I get to learn from him. We've stayed working and vibes. That was one of the ideas that we came up with.

Was this when you were working on Funk Wave Bounces?

No it was after, but that's how the relationship started. It's just dope. It's almost like a jam out session. Getting together with the homie and vibe out. That's what it is, it's natural.

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So you worked on his last album too. You have a song that you sing on that album and one that you wrote, for Kehlani and Lil Yachty. What is the difference when you're signing or writing for someone else?

The creation process is the same to be honest with you. It's just a natural thing. I don't know how other people have a topic or have a goal when making a song, like let's write about this or let's write about that. It's kind of difficult for me. Personally, I like vibing out and freestyling. Whatever comes, especially the songs on the first one. One of them felt like home for me. The other one I love and Kehlani smashed it, she killed that. I'm just really happy he included me on that album because my ass is a rookie. Especially at that time. For him to be keep me on the project, I was like "Oh!!"

His last project was really summery. When he's making something like that, does he tell you, I'm making a summer album, we're trying to get a summer vibe going or is it like, we're making music.

Vibes man, he's just vibes. He's just good vibes. Natural shit. Nothing synthetic.

We're talking about Songs of the Summer on this podcast. What do you think makes a perfect Song of the Summer?

Something that makes you feel like your problems aren't as heavy as you think they are. Like anti-gravity.

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Jessie Reyez on writing Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss”