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Toronto, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Toronto, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo R&B Soul


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Album Review"

Witch Prophet’s Ayo Leilani is the co-founder and director of 88 Days of Fortune, an influential hip-hop collective in Toronto. The Golden Octave marks the singer/songwriter’s long-promised solo debut (she also plays in the group Above Top Secret), and it lives up to the anticipation that has circled around it.

Drawing from “lived experiences as an East African, queer mother living in the diaspora,” the album interweaves the personal and political with a Zen-like balance. Its mid-tempo tracks frequently have political heft: Weight Of The World and Manifest juxtapose dubby, glitchy beats with the weariness of being a woman of colour rising to her fullest potential despite living in a society that is often unsafe and damaging. Indigo and Mirror are bright, inclusive odes of love ambiguous enough to be addressing the self, community or a beloved.

Downtempo tracks delve into more intimate areas. The sparse, haunting choruses on Loop ask “What if I told you just who I was / Would you be more careful knowing what I’m capable of?” It sounds like a challenge to a lover, yet when the same question is asked again on the sax-led up-tempo Lido Pimienta-featuring Time Traveler, it comes across as a self-assured inquiry directed at the listener. Alt-R&B burner Love Me suggests longing and desire before abruptly turning to reveal romantic despair.

Leilani doesn’t sing with dramatic flourishes or acrobatic feats; hers is a nuanced and malleable voice, and most of TGO’s tracks aren’t easily categorized. There are hints of 90s UK soul/house on Reprogram, quirky lounge synth on Mirror, while Stars, with its tambourine intro, has a dash of 70s psychedelic rock vibes before catapulting into the future with Leilani’s spacey vocals.

The Golden Octave is fully realized, empowering and so gratifying.
4/5 - NOW Magazine

"Great Records You May Have Missed"

When the Toronto singer Witch Prophet, aka Ayo Leilani, released The Golden Octave in May, her pride for her Ethiopian/Eritrean lineage was clouded by the longtime conflict between the two East African nations. “Visualize, write it down, and I’ll find my way back home/Away from the war,” she sang soulfully on album highlight “Manifest.” But now, with a resolution called to that two-decade standoff, Witch Prophet’s full-length debut can be heard anew, with its rich complexities basking in fresh optimism. Pulling from jazz, house, trip-hop, and more, she sings about her experience as a queer artist and mother, contrasting her roots in Africa with her experience living authentically in the diaspora. Every track is a sleepy surprise, each beat gracefully narcotic and topped by effortless trills. Get to her before Drake does. - Pitchfork

"Bandcamp Daily - Essential Releases"

Toronto singer-songwriter Ayo Leilani has been making lustrous music at the intersection of folk and futuristic neo-soul for a good while now, but The Golden Octave is her first full-length, and it was definitely worth waiting for. It’s a really cohesive work, smooth and detailed (and beautifully sequenced!) that really brings her philosophy to the forefront—though she’s obviously a spiritual person (that “witch” in her name is no joke or fleeting trend), the music she makes is in the here and now, full of her own practical intention.

On the standout collaboration with fellow visionary Lido Pimienta, “Time Traveler,” the two infuse the titular line from the classic Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cut “I Put A Spell On You” with the kind of masterful balance Nina Simone achieved in her version—there is warmth, and mournfulness, and danger. (“If I told you who I was,” Leilani follows up, “would you be more careful? Would you be more fearful?”) “Weight of the World,” which immediately follows “Time Traveler,” is musical folk magic for strength in the face of life’s pressures, invoking Maya Angelou (“but still I rise”), a theme that returns a few tracks later on the lovely “Manifest,” where Leilani’s layered vocals interact with the horn track in a way that feels almost playful. “Reprogram” has a jazzy minimal house feel, as the album turns from charms for resistance to charms for joy; the back half is full of love, whether for the self (“Love Me”) or community (“Stars,” which features positively irresistible bass and guitar lines). This feels like a real gift from Leilani to us, this album; treasure accordingly. - Bandcamp

"Album Review"

To open The Golden Octave, Witch Prophet's highly anticipated debut, Ayo Leilani softly wonders, "What if I told you just who I was." It isn't so much a question as a preview of what follows: a summary of the cosmos in which Leilani floats. Within it, existence is questioned, love abounds, and though there is struggle, there is also so much hope.

Leilani sounds affable and confident throughout, her voice soft but mighty. She glides between existential musings on the standout "Time Traveler," on which Lido Pimienta's vocals dance blissfully in the background, to galactic exploration on another standout track, the funky "Stars." "Weight of the World" and "Listen," the latter featuring Lucas Silveira, are heavy with worry and pain, but by the end of both tracks, it feels like Witch Prophet has lightened these burdens. On "Indigo," a stuttering, bright beat illuminates Leilani words of love like sunlight hitting a hanging crystal, so an endless array of tiny rainbows drench the room.

The Golden Octave, a record that has been nearly ten years in the making, is Leilani's long-awaited formal greeting. As she drifts from chilled-out beats to danceable grooves without hesitation, never landing on one genre, Witch Prophet deft artistry has bottomless curiosity.
8/10 - EXCLAIM!

"Songs We Love"

Witch Prophet's Ayo Leilani clearly had healing intentions when she wrote "Listen." It's the official song of the #AnchorCampaign, which Canadian musician (and guest vocalist) Lucas Silveira started to spur conversation about mental health, self-harm and suicide.

Lyrics are perhaps the most obvious element of the tonic: The song begins, "Don't let the fear take over" and repeats the phrase like a mantra. But the actual sounds of the song, beyond the words it speaks, are a key component of the relief it provides. Witch Prophet's use of parallel thirds, that most classic of harmonic devices, lends the chords soothing balance. And the woozy R&B production by SunSun, though spare, is enormously satisfying: In my favorite moments of the song, a synthetic string section dances around the voices of Leilani and Silveira.

Witch Prophet goes to an uncertain place ("Tryna keep steady / Tryna keep on solid ground / Tryna keep level / Tryna keep from falling down"), and makes it a zone where you feel comfortable staying. Choose your own dosage, but in my opinion, it's meant to be put on repeat for an entire morning.

Hua Hsu recently wrote that in a time of distress, he looked for "music that seemed to arrive from an alternate universe." "Listen" is not obviously otherworldly, but it does, in its own way, present an alternate universe. It helps me imagine a world in which the only way we talk to ourselves, and to each other, is with the explicit intent to heal. - NPR


H.P.B  (EP Released October 2016) 
The Architect Of Heartbreak Remixes ( EP Released March 2017)
The Golden Octave (LP Released May 2018)



Witch Prophet is a queer, Ethiopian/Eritrean, singer/songwriter, the Co-Founder and Director of Toronto based collective/ label 88 Days Of Fortune, and member of feminist-based electro dub hop group 'Above Top Secret'.

She has shared the stage with and opened for acts like TheeSatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, Lido Pimienta, A Tribe Called Red, Diana King, Shad, Clairmont The Second, SAMMUS, The Cliks, Rae Spoon, Zaki Ibrahim, Kae Sun, LAL, and many more. 

Toured Europe independently twice; playing shows in Paris, Amsterdam, London and Berlin, as well as performed at music festivals like: Black Women Rock, Manifesto, Wavelength, Pride Toronto, Soul Of Brooklyn, Montreal Jazz Festival, New Skool Rules, Sappy Fest, Slut Island, Electric Eclectic, Summerworks, Ottawa Capital Pride, Allied Media Conference, AFROPUNK, CMW, NXNE, Inside Out, Under The Volcano, International Women’s Fest and so many more!

Her solo EPs “H.P.B”, and "Architect of Heartbreak Remixes"  were met with great praise when released fall of 2016 and spring of 2017. As was her highly anticipated album “The Golden Octave” released via 88 Days Of Fortune May 18th, 2018.

Band Members