21 August 2010

Ayah & DJ Jazzy Jeff: This Way [Album Sampler]

Ayah is a 22-year-old multi-talented, self-taught R&B singer and composer from Toronto, by way of Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Seattle. As you might expect from someone so well-traveled, Ayah's music showcases her enchanting voice against a unique and diverse musical backdrop -- an eclectic infusion of classic soul and rock, R&B, hip hop and Arabic influences. She is currently finishing work on her second album, a collaboration with legendary hip-hop producer DJ Jazzy Jeff Spinner recently spoke to Ayah as she finished a rehearsal in preparation for her SXSW showcase at the Crucial Club.http://rapidshare.com/files/414313487/This_Way_Album_Sampler.zip.html

Describe your sound in your own words.

I think my sound is a subtle mixture of everything that I've been exposed to, throughout my travels and my life. They're not obvious sounds, per se -- it's not just Arabic music, it's soul from here, a beat from there, certain riffs that I may do in an Arabic style. Living in Toronto, there's a lot of hip-hop and a lot of multiculturalism. I think my sound is reminiscent of the past and hopeful for the future, and I just want it to stay true to whatever feels natural to me. I think it's soulful.

How did your band form?

Well, lately I've been using the same musicians, but it's not Ayah the band, it's Ayah the artist, you know? Also, I do play piano, but with all that goes on with my live show, I'm not comfortable enough to play live yet, I'd rather just sing. It's easier to focus. For SXSW, I'm debating, maybe an acoustic set, just to keep it intimate, or maybe using a full band, I'm not sure yet.

What are your musical influences?

My musical influences stem all the way from Marvin Gaye to Cheb Khaled, who's this great Algerian singer. I had my little time a while ago where I started a rock band. So I was really into Nirvana and Guns 'n' Roses and people like that. It's really just a mix of stuff from different eras and phases of my life, what I've seen and heard and learned.

How did you come up with your name? Or did your parents?

My real name is Myrna, and that's kind of an old-school name. That doesn't really fit for me. I was thinking I needed a name that is Arabic and means something. I remember meeting a couple of Ayahs in my life, and I really liked that name. I looked it up, and "Ayah" means "miracle" or "sign," and I thought that was really cool.

What's your biggest vice?

Cigarettes. No, actually, music. I'm still listening to a bunch of older stuff, lots of local artists like my friends here in Toronto, and also I'm also listening to Erykah Badu, 'Mama's Gun,' I always listen to that, it's one of my favorite albums. I'll always listen to Andre 3000. There's some people that come out, you know, you listen to them for a while, but after the hype is over, you go back to what you grew up on. At least I do.

Who was your first celebrity crush?

No one, never, no way. I don't do celebrity crushes!

What's your musical guilty pleasure?

Miley Cyrus? No, not really. Let's see... that country chick, the young one, what's her name. Taylor Swift! I like her stuff.

Beatles or Stones?

"Beatles. They're both obviously dope, classic bands, but since my dad grew up in England around that time, at University and such, from going through his record collection I mostly listened to the Beatles. Plus, I learned a lot of their stuff when I learned piano, and I really enjoyed their music on a songwriting level.

What's the craziest thing you've encountered while on tour?

People knowing the words to my songs, that's weird to me. I'm sure that's not the answer you're expecting. People probably say something about underwear or whatever, but no, people crying or knowing the words to my songs is it for me. 


DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - My World (Just A Girl) 03:16
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Catch Me 04:46
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Forgive Me Love 04:17
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - He Don't Want It 04:37
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Be Allright 03:30
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Back For More 01:30
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - You're Here (LAdam) 01:22
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Might Not Be 01:20
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Last Night 02:10
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - You Only 01:46
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Wonder 01:24
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Notorious 00:22

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