Often compared to Sade or Corinne Bailey Rae, Nigerian-German singer and songwriter Ayo is bringing her soulful songs to Monaco this June.
Even though her nickname comes from the Yoruban word for joy and that she has sold more than one and a half million records in her short career, things have not always been easy for the 33 year old artist.
Born in Cologne in Germany, she is the daughter of a Nigerian father and a Romanian gypsy mother who divorced when she was still very young. Soon afterwards, her mother became addicted to heroin, even spent some time in jail, and the family fell into poverty.
As a consequence, Ayo and two of her siblings spent time in various foster homes before being kidnapped back by their dad. But Ayo is a fighter and, as such, she has managed to channel the events of her chaotic childhood into a source of strength. A self-taught guitarist, pianist and singer, the young performer draws her inspiration from artists such as Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Bob Marley, while her music is influenced as much by soul and reggae as by folk and African beats.
And if some pop singers can separate their private lives from their music, it is impossible for Ayo to make such a distinction. Inspired by passion, she writes lyrics and plays the guitar all the time, and this is why her music breathes so much sincerity and is charged with such powerful emotions.
For her latest offering, ‘Ticket to the World‘, which was released last October, Ayo went back to the producer of her first successes, Jay Newland, the man behind Norah Jones’ ‘Come Away With Me’. Recorded live, it offers sixteen songs and strikes a nice balance between soul, country-folk music and even rap.
Espace Léo Ferré (Salle du Canton)
Les Terrasses de Fontvieille
25-29 avenue Albert II
MC 98000 Monaco
Tel: +377 93 10 12 10
Lead image by Bartek Kucharczyk on Wikimedia Commons, licenced under CC BY 2.0 license.