Ayo Awosika
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Ayo Awosika

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Brooklyn, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Jazz Soul




"Ayo Awosika - "A Brand New Thing" Concert Review - Denver Examiner"

Last Thursday night at Denver’s Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, jazz lovers got to experience “A Brand New Thing,” the latest project by vocal artist Ayo Awosika.

Over the past few years, Ayo has become a familiar face in the Denver scene, not only doing solo work, but also in singing/playing for other artists, and more recently forming one half of the duo Travel | By | Skylark. But during her two sets Thursday night at Dazzle, Ayo demonstrated what she’s truly capable of as an artist, commanding the stage with near-flawless vocals and captivating performances. Couple that with the group of remarkable other musicians with whom Ayo surrounded herself for this project, and you have the musical equivalent of several sticks of dynamite.

The evening was infused with a variety of songs, including fresh arrangements of jazz standards, original songs, and even a slow-jazz cover of Feist’s “Intuition.” Although this was Ayo’s night, she made plenty of room for the talent around her, as the instrumentalists frequently took off on extended passages of improv, generating well-deserved applause from the crowd. One talented musician is inspiring enough; this stage was filled with talent. One didn’t shine above the rest—they all shone, and Ayo along with them.

Ayo’s vocals, the centerpiece of the evening, were not excessively showy or flamboyant, although it’s apparent she has the range to show off if she wanted to. Ayo’s strength as a vocalist comes from pure tone and control; she gives each song just what it needs to make it shine. Simply put—Ayo sings, and you believe her. And we believed her on Thursday night.

Perhaps the best news of the evening was that Ayo Awosika's “Brand New Thing” wasn’t a one-night deal. Ayo announced from the stage that plans in the works for a new record, tentatively scheduled for a fall release. If Thursday’s performance is any indication, this will be a record you will want to get your hands on.

- Jeff McQuilkin

"Berklee Press '05"

"Responsibilities of Songcraft"

Piano great Ellis Marsalis urges student vocalists to study the songs they sing.

"...a group of about 70 Berklee students inside the BPC were treated to the second of two workshops by well-known New Orleans jazz educator and recording artist, pianist Ellis Marsalis. Marsalis appeared as part of the New Orleans Visiting Artist Series, a Berklee initiative to support musicians whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Katrina and enable students to work with some of New Orleans's greatest musicians.

As several students and Marsalis took the stage, he introduced the event as "an impromptu session with vocalists." Student vocalists Lucas Madrazo, Ayo Awosika, Jen Hirsh, and Laura Brunner each performed a pair of songs, including such standards as "Honeysuckle Rose," "Round Midnight," "You Go to My Head," and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "No More Blues." Their rhythm section consisted of associate professor of voice Maggie Scott on piano, recent graduate and faculty bassist Esperanza Spalding, and student drummer Lyndon Rochelle.

Following the students' performances, Marsalis took over.
After announcing, "We're going to try some experimentation here," Marsalis asked Awosika to rework her performance of "Honeysuckle Rose." After she sang with only a bass accompaniment, Marsalis asked Awosika, "Let's say this is your trio and you had to arrange that tune—what would you tell your bass player?" Awosika suggested that the bassist "walk," which Marsalis followed by asking, "What would you tell the drummer to do?" Awosika told the drummer to "use brushes and drum embellishments."

Awosika admitted her instructions for the drummer could have been clearer and said, "I guess I don't know how to say it." This was just fine with Marsalis who, after all, was there to educate. "What I'm trying to do is more based on being provocative than expecting you to know the answers," he said and then proceeded to give his own direction. "When they get to the bridge," Marsalis told Awosika, "you come in." Turning to the bassist and drummer, he continued, "When she comes in to sing, keep it in 2." He then explained to the audience, "What I asked them to do is fairly simple but produces a certain organization that can play very well in situations where you're playing with people you haven't rehearsed with. You need to find ways to communicate with your musicians and make it as simple as possible."

Bill McDonough writes about jazz and media from his home in Beverly, Massachusetts.

- Bill McDonough- Berklee.edu Correspondent

"On Tap Magazine - Music Reviews"

Ayo Awosika | Hearts, Words, and Other Forgotten Things
Sweet vocal stylings from a jazz/blues singer-songwriter. This former Fairfax resident has a new album out, and it’s her voice that stands out. Highlights include the upbeat opening track "Something to Fight For," and the heartfelt "As Far As I’ll Go." At press time, she was putting together some local shows. Check her Web site for more info.
- Robert Fulton

"Ayo Awosika : Hearts, Words and Other Forgotten Things : Self-released"

While vocalist Ayo Awosika might have steeped herself in the music of jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae, she delves into more of a soul/folk amalgam on her new EP. As the title suggests, the disc is filled with songs coming from the singer's heart, especially on "As Far As I'll Go" and "Last to Love You." The 24-year-old Awosika, who was classically trained, clearly has a strong vocal command, and a vibrant, pure clarity comes through on each of the six cuts. Awosika's vocals pop even more with the sparse instrumentation of guitar (and sometimes slide guitar), piano, bass and drums, which leaves a lot of room for her vocals to breathe. - The Westword (Denver) by Jon Solomon


Full length album coming in fall of 2013

Hearts, Words, and Other Forgotten Things (EP) - Independent Release March 2009



Striking and statuesque, she is often mistaken for a model; her regal presence exudes a natural sense of style. But Ayo Awosika isn't selling clothes for a designer. Nor is she selling a songbook. Ayo is the designer and the face of We Best Not Wait -- an advocate for self-reliance, assertiveness and strong emotional boundaries. As the title suggests, the songs reflect Ayo’s gentle but restless spirit to reveal an earthy, majestic voice and rich, supple grooves that support her meditations on faith in the unseen, the unknown and perhaps the unknowable.

Born to a Nigerian father and American mother, she was fortunate to grow up in a colorful household always filled with music, from the likes of Fela Kuti and Michael Jackson to Billie Holiday and Madonna. This breadth of influence continues to be important in Ayo’s musical evolution, as she weaves all of the sounds that she loves into her own artistry; and you see and hear those threads in her highly addictive, soul-infused sound.


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