Jupiter Rising: A Journey of Resilience and Joy

Making it in the music industry can be tough, but for local R&B newcomer Jupiter Reign, opens a new window, it’s not just about chart-topping but experiencing the joy and happiness accompanying a journey where resilience and self-belief are crucial. Her music—a rich blend of personal experiences, soulful vocals, and vibrant melodies—is catching on quickly with listeners. However, she’s no overnight sensation—she’s the product of talent and determination.

Recently, the R&B sensation (known offstage as Thaydra Gray) graced Central Library’s Central Stage with her presence, delivering a captivating performance of her track “Don't Wanna,, opens a new window” chatting about the joy, resilience, and happiness that fuel her life and career, and filling us in about what’s next for her.

Born in the Stars

First of all, where did her artist name come from? 

Jupiter Reign is a name that echoes Thaydra’s love for the cosmos and a strong sense of inner royalty. 

"I'm a galaxy girl—I got the galaxies tattooed on my chest. I love the planets and astrology; Jupiter was the one that stuck out to me more,” she says. “Then, my sister was like, ‘well, add something with it... why not ‘Reign’? Because you reign supreme, you're a queen, and you're gonna take over.’”

Foundation for Resilience

Family and community have been the source of inspiration in shaping Jupiter Reign’s identity and resilience.

With a pastor father, roots deeply embedded in a musical family, and a love for 90s R&B and hip-hop, Jupiter Reign’s journey into a singing career seemed almost destined.

"I was just that kid that wanted to be in every choir…” says Jupiter Reign, who attended church in North Preston and Montreal—areas where she split her childhood. “My family is very musically inclined: Mom sings, Dad sings, and my sister sings. So it just came very naturally to me," she shares, reflecting on her origins, which also included studying Musical Theatre at the Montreal School of Performing Arts.

Alongside her love for music, her strong work ethic was also built at home—thanks, in part, to witnessing her father’s activism work.

“He's known as the ‘activist pastor’ in Montreal,” says Jupiter Reign of her dad, reverend Darryl Gray, originally from South Carolina, who has been outspoken about racial injustices throughout North America. “He's very much always been on the front lines."

Musical Milestones

The 27-year-old singer is now on the front lines of a music career, and she’s already seen the fruits of her labour with notable early achievements and collaborations that highlight her talents, including sharing the stage with icons like gospel superstar Donnie McClurkin and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

In 2023, Jupiter Reign released her debut EP, “Intergalactic,” drawing inspiration from a constellation of artists, including Keyshia Cole, Summer Walker, SZA and others, showcasing her ability to blend diverse and popular musical influences into her unique sound. The five-track EP (produced mainly by Montreal-based hip-hop producers) touches on everything from love, heartbreak, and spicier themes—all wrapped up in contemporary R&B stylings and even includes a collaboration with Halifax-based rapper MAJE. 

And the work is being received with open arms. From winning the African Nova Scotian Music Association (ANSMA) Rising Star award to her nominations for Music Nova Scotia African-Canadian Artist of the Year, her talent has been recognized and celebrated. 

"Halifax has come a long way with the music they're putting on the forefront... Organizations, like ANSMA and Music Nova Scotia, they're definitely pushing African Canadians and Black music in general—a lot more than I've seen in the past,” says Jupiter Reign. “There was a time when I felt like, in order to be successful, I had to leave Halifax. But it's definitely starting to change my opinions on that, and I’m very proud. Halifax is doing a very good thing.”

Joy in the Craft

While celebrating African Canadian musicians remains important throughout the year, Jupiter Reign is enjoying a full African Heritage Month where her talents are front and centre, including performances at Halifax Public Libraries events, like our 40th African Heritage Opening Night, opens a new window and Lift Every Voice, opens a new window.

With this year’s provincial African Heritage Month, opens a new window theme of "Our Joy, Our Smiles, Our Resilience,” Jupiter Reign notes she finds joy in creating music that touches people's hearts, a sentiment that perfectly aligns with this year's theme. 

“I always have a lot of joy in making music because I like to make music that resonates with other people, the way music has resonated with me,” says Jupiter Reign. “Whether it's happy or sad. I know that a lot of people need music in their lives.” 

And despite facing challenges in a region where R&B isn't the predominant genre, her resilience shines through—supported by her community of North Preston and fellow local Black collaborators, like Reeny Smith. "I've definitely felt a lot of resilience in the industry... we're very positive people. And we're very talented people," Thaydra asserts, reflecting the strength and positivity of her community in North Preston.

Outside of music, Jupiter Reign’s personal life, particularly her role as a parent, brings her immense joy and motivation. 

"I smile every day when I wake up and see my baby's face,” says Jupiter Reign. “He's not a baby. He's four, but he's my baby and my main motivator in my life. I'm just trying to work hard and push myself to be better for him, give him better. I never want him to want for anything, so a lot of my hard work, motivation, and push definitely comes from giving him a better life.”

Don’t Wanna

Continuing studies at Nova Scotia Community College for Music Business, which Jupiter Reign notes, has put her on a clear career path; the song “Don’t Wanna,, opens a new window” which she produced for an assignment last year, pushed her talents to new dimensions.

“And then, from that, came the EP, 'Intergalactic,’ which came into the new single 'In a Rush,’ which is now going into my debut album,” says Jupiter Reign. “So, I owe 'Don't Wanna’ a lot for the stepping stones I've had in my career thus far."

The Next Level

With each stepping stone, another chapter opens for Jupiter Reign—and yes, she said a debut album is on the way.

“I just released ‘In a Rush’ on Valentine's Day—the standalone single to [the album]. So, coming end of summer, you will have a Jupiter Reign album,” says Jupiter Reign. “It has been so much work, but, also, it's so much fun—I just love songwriting, I love creating music, so I want to make a bigger piece of art.” 

So what will it sound like?

“It's gonna be a good infusion of music, so you won't just hear the R&B—we have afrobeats, hip-hop, soul stuff—so it's a little bit of everything,” says Jupiter Reign, who notes the album will feature collaborations with local artists, such as aRENYE and Zamani. “It shows my love for music in all tastes. I love all genres of music."

Looking ahead, in addition to her debut album, Jupiter Reign has her sights set on ambitious goals, including expanding her reach to international stages, with plans for a performance in the Netherlands this summer at the New Skool Rules showcase festival.

“I want to be like the SZAs, the Summer Walkers—a big name in R&B music,” says Jupiter Reign. “That's my goal.” 

Meanwhile, grateful for how far Nova Scotia has come in terms of celebrating African heritage and uplifting its Black artists, Jupiter Reign, whose season is sure to extend year-round, encourages everyone to support and celebrate the joy, smiles, and resilience of the African Nova Scotian community beyond February.

“Go celebrate African Heritage—not just in February,” says Jupiter Reign. “We are resilient all year round, every single day of the year, 365 — keep celebrating and keep loving.”

Check out Jupiter Reign’s music and follow her journey on social media

Instagram, opens a new window

Spotify, opens a new window

YouTube, opens a new window

Learn more about performances, like Jupiter Reign's musical moment, at Halifax Public Libraries by checking out the blog, opens a new window.

About African Heritage Month at Halifax Public Libraries

More than a month.

Every year in February and the months that follow, Halifax Public Libraries, in partnership with the Black History Month Association and countless dedicated individuals and groups, offers high-quality programs that highlight and celebrate the rich diversity, culture, and heritage of our African Nova Scotian community and people of African Descent.

The TD Ready Commitment is the generous presenting sponsor of African Heritage Month 2024 at Halifax Public Libraries. Their ongoing sponsorship—2024 marks 9 years of support!—increases our capacity to host important programs and conversations, and expand our collection, year-round.

Discover more stories, events, resources, and videos on our website at ahm.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca, opens a new window