CreatiVity 01 V’s Pick of the Week: Ayoni

All eyes on the Barbadian songstress closing Week 1 for CreatiVity.

Ayoni is the one to watch and setting the tone for our newest installment, CreatiVity 01 in partnership with Quadio—a new social streaming platform dedicated to showcasing the best new college music—to unearth new talent with promising futures. At just 20 years of age, the Barbadian artist has developed a mature voice through the rich cultural experiences she’s had thus far. Having lived in America, Indonesia, and Singapore, her musical soundscape is a lyrical retreat. Mentee to the jazz musician, Patrice Rushen, Ayoni is destined to hit superstar levels. As she continues to redefine the genre of pop, was able to talk about Quadio, inspiration, future plans, and more with the up-and-coming artist. 

Read what Ayoni had to share with us, below. 

V MAGAZINE What’s your name, age and where do you go to school?

AYONI I’m Ayoni, I’m 20, and studying at USC’s Thornton School of Music in LA.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Barbados. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background in music? How did you first get started?

I grew up in the church, learning the power of worship and transcendent musicianship. I started singing and writing seriously when I was in middle school. I lived in NorCal at the time and entered talent competitions and school talent shows which helped me get into the act of performance. 

How did you hear about Quadio? Can you tell us about the relationship you have with the platform and your music?

I met Jack and some more of the audio team at Quadio in June/July when they were reaching out to different student creatives to learn how the app could better serve us. I really appreciated their vision to use the app to allow us to build a community across the nation in real-time through the platform. Since joining, I’m gaining visibility with people my age, and meeting more! 

I think the college demographic is such an important, beautiful community to be a part of. We’re all defining who we want to be in this world and what we want to speak about every day. It’s really exciting and is of infinite importance so Quadio was the obvious choice. 

Who are some artists that have inspired you throughout your life?

So many! Stevie Wonder, Bon Iver, Adele, Aretha Franklin, Lorde, Sara Bareilles, Frank Ocean, The Staves. Just so many beautiful creatives and I still feel like I have so so so much more ground to cover, but that’s exciting.

If you could work with anyone musically, who would that be?

Stevie Wonder, Anna Wise, Mereba, Missy Elliot, Chaka Khan, Tom Misch, Burna Boy, Bon Iver.

How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?

I want my music to be a cinematic, emotional, meditative experience.

What’s something you want your listeners to take away from your songs?

I want my listeners to be willing to take a leap of faith and lean into it with me. 

V What’s your creative process when producing new music?

A My creative process varies greatly in terms of how it begins but with songs of mine like “September” and “Me and My Lightlit Lover” (both off of my debut project, Iridescent) I wrote and produced the demos in the same sitting using these super emotional wavy organ sounds. They each took their own routes but the initial priority in those creative processes was to find accompaniments that complement and further the experiences I’m trying to relate. Authenticity and healing are always my priorities when creating. Even on more pop-y songs like Divine, there’s always a deeper meaning in my lyrics because I always want to relay a message of some sort whenever I can.  

How has adjusting to the current climate of COVID-19 impacted your schooling and your life?

The adjustment from physical closeness – which is especially priceless in the arts – to virtual learning has been a more emotional transition than I honestly anticipated. Being in LA and having proximity to my immediate Thornton community and the creative energy of the city is something I appreciate even more than I did before this. 

How have you been coping during this time? Is there anything that’s keeping you grounded?

I’ve just tried to be extremely patient with myself and the day to day emotions of this situation. Meditation and creation have definitely been my main outlet. I’m super fortunate to have a safe space where I can do that. And also reading! 

Given the current circumstances of this health crisis, how have you given back or tailored your music accordingly?

I was already planning to have the next project be a lot more of social commentary but given what we’re experiencing right now in this lifetime it’s become clear the universe is making space for deeper messages to be received. We’re collectively reflecting and softening and empathizing and I want to create music that encourages union. I’m just creating music that heals me on the daily especially with the day to day pain many of us are experiencing. Also giving back to my immediate community, and supporting local businesses is one small way I’ve been able to be present with those affected. 

Do you believe music is important especially during a time where the world is in crisis?

Yes! I personally believe the role of the artist is to reflect the times. The extent to which we each individually do that is a choice, but I personally find it a huge responsibility. I hope to change the world through music. I want to be THE unifying presence in music or at least one that lifts activism to the mainstream where it can’t be ignored and is consistently excellent and maybe even make conscious music cool again. I think of Nina Simone, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and the infinite more protesters of the times. I want to shake shit up too. Beyond this current crisis, there’s mass incarceration, homelessness, economic disparity, there’s so much to sing for. I want my platform to be world-changing and that’s a ton of pressure to put on myself, so I settle for just healing my pain through music, and creating this world for myself where I take up as much space as I feel like unapologetically. 

Where do you see yourself and your music career 5 years from now? 

At superstar levels.

What are some of your goals this year?

Live and create. Just to be. 

This could be you next! Head to our musician hub to find out how to enter for a chance to debut your music on! Don’t forget to follow Quadio and VMagazine on Instagram to keep up with more new music updates.

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