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Ayo - Gravity at last

Experience the gravity with Ayo

By Joffre Agnes

Ayo is a woman just like me. At least that is what she assured me… Well, I have my doubts. With ½ million of her first opus "Joyful"sold in France (double platinum), ¾ million worldwide, this incredible singer, song writer and guitarist comes back with a new album, “Gravity at Last” which has no reason to be envious of the first one. Released in the UK on 30th March, concert on 20th April at the ICA.

Does Ayo still need to be introduced? I don’t think so. With her sweet soul voice over reggae and Gypsy grooves and riffs, Ayo created her own atmosphere. And don’t you try to label her! She’ll have none of that. At the start of her career, some people tried to see in her the new black Britney Spears (no wonder she refused), others tried to call her the new reggae icon. Well, her style is simply a melting pot, just as she is.

What about her new album “Gravity at Last”? First and foremost, it presents the same great qualities shown by its predecessor: sensibility, originality and grace. Her 14 powerful ballads strike once again right to the core of your mind and heart. The only difference is that it has a little bit more rhythm. Love remains the main theme but most of the time, it isn’t about her husband, the reggae singer Patrice, or about their son, it’s about her dad. So many people could not be more wrong to think that it is about my husband or my son, she confesses, amused. Her dad, probably the most important figure in her life, is the one who “kidnapped” her from the foster family she was placed with when her mother became a heroin addict. He could not possibly leave her there once he realised the conditions she was living in. He was the first one who truly believed in her talent and offered her the chance to leave school at 18 to devote herself to music. Was he a man who could see true potential in his daughter or was he simply a father who loved her and wanted her to be happy by fulfilling her dreams? That’s why she dedicated her first album to him. To this day, he still remains a major source of inspiration. And yet, before the release of her album, they hadn’t spoken for a while! Not everything is perfect in life as she observed, wisely.


Wise is the perfect adjective to sum her up, she’s wise beyond her years (she’s still only 29) and it shows in her songs. Unlike many I would not refer to her last album as an album of maturity because that would be a meaningless ready-to-use expression. Ayo sees it more as an album of gravity. What does she mean by that? She explained that gravity was, the most important thing in her life. It deals with staying down to earth, true to one’s principles, values and personality. Her first single “Run run (slow slow)” talks about this quest:
“What have I become is that really me?
Look what I have done this is not who I wanna be
I gotta face myself gotta chase my Soul
Gotta free my mind get back my glow
I got to go
Yes I got to


Run run run run run run
Run for my Soul
I better go go go go go go
Making sure I go slow slow”

Can success make you lose a sense of gravity? Not for Ayo: it certainly didn’t go to her head! She’s still got both feet firmly on the ground. Far far away from the ‘stardom system’. She is perfectly conscious that all that could stop anytime. Life is made of ups and downs. And, Ayo knows a lot about downs! Ill at ease in the big Universal building where I met her (she would have been happier meeting in a small friendly cafe), she told me that, naturally, success had changed her life. She can now pay for her metro tickets and doesn't have to worry where her next meal is coming from! But, she has kept her gipsy soul alive. She is worried that our modern way of life puts too much emphasis on the eternal pursuit of material comfort . She refuses to live like a robot, she would rather live like a nomad. Still she is realistic and knows full well that this is not something she can do now that she has a young child!
Most of all, she hasn’t forgotten where she came from and feels a strong urge to help others as a result. She wants to help people come out of poverty. She has joined the Unicef forces by becoming one of its ambassadors.  For Ayo, helping women and children is an absolute priority. Her mission is to promote education all over the world. Sadly, she had to postpone her first official journey because she was sick after her tour.

Whilst she was telling me so much about her deep convictions, I enquired why she did not express them in her songs? She told me that her songs often contained a message but always from her point of view. Her music is very intimate; it’s her own way to cope with her world and her private issues. She refuses to publicly endorse any political parties because she remains suspicious of them. “Just a big theatre scene” as she pointed out.  She admitted however to being a big fan of Obama but with some reservations. Down to earth! as I said.

What about her plans? First of all a big tour with one date in London, where she used to live and play in small bars during her debuts. Then the launch of her album in the US. Any plans of duos with husband and reggae singer Patrice? Nope, of course, I should have guessed: too predictable for Ayo!



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