Singer/Songwriter Ayaba recently released her new single 'These Things'. Louder Than The Music spoke to her about the single and what 2020 has in store for her.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
Growing up, as a tradition on Saturday mornings, music filled the house, that was the signal for me to wake up and get out of bed. We had a sweet mix of Kirk Franklin, the Clark Sisters, Mary Mary, Ron Kenoly and more blasting from the TV. The music I grew up listening to greatly influenced how I expressed myself and coped with life experiences. I found music and art were a way to escape from reality. I think it is beautiful that experiences can be shared in an emotive way with complete strangers. When I was younger I had the ability to burst into song, composing songs on the spot, however over the past 4 years I have taken the time to develop my skill as a songwriter. It has grown as a platform which I would like to use to encourage people, challenge views and raise awareness.
Tell us about your recent single 'These Things' and what the inspiration behind it was?
These Things was written for a close friend’s birthday. She mentioned that one of her favourite bible verses was Philippians 4:8. This happens to be one of my favourite verses too. I thought it would be really special to write a song about this verse for her as a birthday gift. I think the lyrics of this song highlight the things we need to do to have a positive mindset and break from the negative thought cycles which we can get trapped in. Listening to this song is also a great way of memorising the bible verse.
Do you have any plans to release further music in the near future?
Yes, of course! This is only the beginning for me. I plan to release and perform more music over the next few years. I am learning a lot through the creative process from writing, to production, to marketing. At the moment, I am enjoying working with different people who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience about music and the industry. A few projects I am working on are at different stages at the moment, so I am looking forward to completing them over the next few months. They are a little different from my releases so far, however, they will build upon the message which I hope to share through my music.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
I would love for people to listen to my music and feel encouraged that despite the day to day challenges they are loved and their emotions, experiences and dreams are valid. As people, we can easily suppress our emotions and experiences because of guilt, culture and pressure. However, I think not acknowledging them does more harm than good for us as individuals and society as a whole.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would describe my style as regal, old school, soulful and experimental. I think I am a fusion of the wonderful heritage and exposures I have had growing up. My musical influences include the gospel, soulful and African greats such as Jill Scott, Kirk Franklin and Asa.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
This is a hard question. Oh my! I have many favourites. I would love to work with Solange or PJ Morton. I think it would be cool to get songwriting lessons from Ed Sheeran, he is such a great songwriter who is also versatile.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Success for me as an artist is to continually push the boundaries of expression through music and art. I would love to be in a position where I had the resources to have an idea and bring it to life through, audio, visuals and performance.
What is your favourite album of all time?
William McDowell’s album 'Withholding Nothing', just because I do not know how many times I have listened to it. I have definitely listened to this album the most over the years, ultimately because I love to worship God.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
Haha, I would listen to my song ‘Stranger’s Land’, after all, I would be in a strange place. The end of the track I sing “ We will stand, we will fight, we take our possessions…”, I think this would motivate me to get into survival mode on the island.
What does 2020 hold for you?
This year 2020 is a huge year for me! I have so many things lined up, I have been working super hard over the past few months. There will be many opportunities to develop, grow and engage with new things as an artist. I keep challenging myself to give more of myself to the art of expression. I cannot wait to release more projects and create more experiences which will hopefully be impactful.