Canada’s Walk of Fame just got even brighter

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While the big news every year is who’s getting a coveted sidewalk star, the Canada Walk of Fame Awards are actually a whole lot bigger than that. The organization announced Thursday that Toronto-born singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez will be the 2018 recipient of the Allan Slaight Honour at the awards in December.

This prize is awarded to a young Canadian who uses their platform and music to make a positive impact in the entertainment industry. Reyez will be joining a long list of pretty outstanding names including Drake, Shawn Mendes, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Weeknd.

Reyez’s career took off in 2016 when her single “Figures” blew up and hit the Canada Hot 100. She won Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2018 Juno Awards and is rapidly gaining popularity both at home and internationally.

This isn’t all about the numbers though – it’s about heart. Allan Slaight’s son, Gary Slaight, said Jessie has the heart and hard work ethic that goes into being a great artist.

“Jessie epitomizes everything that my father Allan had in mind when this award was created in his honour,” he said in a press release. “Rising from humble beginnings here in Toronto, her determination, talent, ambition and bedrock family roots have been the compass that has led her to greater recognition and growing international success. We wish her the very best in the years to come.”

In her time making music, Reyez has used her platform to make progressive and often challenging social commentaries, most notably, about sexual assault and harassment in the music industry. In her short film Gatekeepers, released in 2017, she addressed allegations against a music producer who was accused of taking advantage of young female artists. She also brought a much-needed female voice to two songs on Eminem’s most recent album, Kamikaze.

The Walk of Fame is celebrating 20 years in 2018 so this year is set to be extra special. This year’s recipients, announced in the summer, included Superbad buds Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and retired astronaut Chris Hadfield.