|Birth name||Joy Olasunmibo Ogunmakin|
|Also known as||Ayọ, Ayo.|
|Born||14 September 1980|
|Genres||Folk, Soul, Reggae|
|Labels||Mercury France & Motown (Universal), MBM Records|
Her debut album Joyful, which was first released in 2006, reached Double-Platinum status in France, Platinum in Germany and Poland, Gold status in Switzerland and Italy and Greece. The album was released in the United States on 20 November 2007 by Interscope Records.
She has a son, Nile, who was born in late 2005 and a daughter, Billie-Eve, born July 2010, with the Afro-German reggae singer Patrice, from whom she is now separated. At the end of 2007, she moved with her family to the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan in New York City. At present she lives in Paris.
The French production company MK2 produced 2009 the film Ayo Joy a 90 minute documentary about the singer and her life. The film was directed by Raphaël Duroy and had its cinematic release in early 2010.
Ayọ was born near Cologne, Germany as the fourth child of a Nigerian father and a Romani mother from Romania but as a baby lived for a short time in Nigeria. She has one sister and two brothers. When she was about six years old her mother became addicted to heroin and spent some time in jail. After her parents divorced, she and two of her siblings spent periods of time in care and with foster families. When she was fourteen she was considered old enough by the authorities to live with her father again.
At the age of six, Ayọ played the violin for a short time, then turned to the piano and later taught herself to play the guitar. When she was about 15, she wrote her first song, which was about her mother, and which helped her to cope with her traumatic childhood. Her musical taste was influenced by her father's large selection of vinyl albums which included Pink Floyd, Fela Kuti, Donny Hathaway, Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley. When her father, who worked part-time as a DJ while studying engineering in Germany, discovered her singing talent he recorded a first demo tape with her in a studio and allowed her to drop out of school at the age of eighteen.
At twenty-one Ayọ moved to London and later lived in Paris and New York City. During her time in Paris her musical talent was noticed by a broader audience, and she gave her first solo concerts, opened 2002 for soul singers Omar and Cody Chesnutt, and signed a contract with Polydor Records.
Shortly after giving birth to her son Nile, she recorded her first album Joyful in January 2006 in the New York Sony studio. The whole disc was recorded in just five days under live conditions, with a group of musicians organized by her producer Jay Newland. The album was released in June 2006 in Europe and Korea and in November 2007 in the United States and Japan.
At the end of 2007, Ayọ started a concert tour through Germany and the United States. On her American tour she performed with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. On 10 January 2008 she appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, and on 26 January 2008 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, performing her song Down on My Knees. In June 2008 the singer started her second tour through the United States and Canada.
On 10 March 2008, Ayọ started recording on her second album Gravity At Last at the Compass Point Studios in Nassau on the Island of New Providence, The Bahamas. She is co-producing the album with Jay Newland. Her band includes Keith Christopherson (bass), Larry Campbell (guitars and other string instruments), Lucky Peterson (keyboards), Sherrod Barnes (guitar/vocals) and Jermaine Parrish (drums). The album with 13 tracks written and composed by the singer was recorded in only 5 days and was released at the end of September 2008 by Universal Music France. The album reached number 1 on the French album charts in October. On 21. November 2008 Ayọ started her promotion tour for the album in Berlin which includes around 30 concerts in five European countries.
In 2008, Ayo won an EBBA Award for her album Joyful. Every year the European Border Breakers Awards recognize the success of ten emerging artists or groups who reached audiences outside their own countries with their first internationally released album in the past year.
Ayọs third album Billie-Eve, named after her daughter, was recorded in New York with the cooperation of musicians like Craig Ross (guitarist of Lenny Kravitz), the rapper Saul Williams, Matthieu Chedid and Gail Ann Dorsey, bass player of David Bowie. The album is first released on 7 March 2011 in France and Ayọ starts a promotional tour through France and Poland on 21 March 2011. Ayọ signed with MBM Records in 2011 in the US. Billie-Eve was released in the United States on 20 March 2012. End of 2011 the singer moved within the Universal Group from the Polydor label to the labels Mercury France and Motown.
In 2013, Ayọ started to record her fourth album Ticket To The World, which was released on 7 October 2013, with the producer Jay Newland who produced also her first two albums. The first single from this album, Fire, has been released on 10 June 2013. A second version of the single featuring the French rapper Youssoupha was released in August 2013. After the album release Ayọ tours from end of October 2013 for several months through Europe. Most concerts will take place in France but she will also perform in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium and Poland.
Ayọ was asked by Arte to cover the classic song Sunny by Bobby Hebb as soundtrack for their 2013 Summer of Soul program. From 14 July to 18 August 2013 she presents every Sunday evening this program on the French TV broadcast. The soundtrack was released on 14 July 2013 in France on a special three CD edition by Fnac.
- Ayo Joy (2009 documentary)
- Summer of Soul (2013, French Arte TV)
- European Border Breakers Awards 2008
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ayọ.|
- Official website
- Official page on Facebook
- Ayọ on MySpace
- Ayọ on Allmusic
- Ayọ at the Internet Movie Database
- Wiki with detailed biography and discography
- "Ma rencontre avec le chanteur Patrice". Trucs de Nana. 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Thierry Coljon (2013-10-16). "La grande famille d’Ayo". Le Soir. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
- Chris Jordan (2007-12-07). "The future looks bright for Afro-German singer Ayo". Home News Tribune. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- "La chanteuse Ayo devient marraine de l’Unicef". UNICEF. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- MK2 Catalogue: Ayo Joy
- "Clairefontaine sponsorise un documentaire sur Ayo". Stratégies.fr. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- Jane Gordon (16 October 2007). "'I saw things a child should never see', says soul singer, Ayo". The Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 2009-04-21.
- AYO revient avec un nouvel album, Gravity At Last
- Border Breaker Winners 2008
- The Wall Street Journal
- Marolle, Emmanuel (4 November 2011). "Ayo change de label et s'invente un double". Le Parisian. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Ayo signed to Mercury & Motown
- Joe D'Ambrosio Management - Jay Newland
- Charts in France
- "Fire" Ayo feat. Youssoupha
- Arte TV
- Le Figaro (in French)
- Summer of Soul Arte - Edition spéciale
- European Border Breakers Awards