Folk-soul chanteuse Ayo emerged as one of Europe's biggest new pop stars of 2006 with her breakthrough debut LP, Joyful. Born to a Nigerian father and gypsy mother in Cologne, West Germany, on September 14, 1980, as a child Ayo absorbed the musical traditions of her parentage as well as influences including American soul, reggae, and Afrobeat, all staples of her father's extensive record collection. Ayo first studied violin before moving to piano and guitar. At 21 she relocated to London, later dividing her time between Paris and New York City and earning attention while opening for neo-soul kindred spirits including Omar and Cody Chestnutt. After recording a five-song demo reel, Ayo briefly receded from the live circuit in late 2005 to give birth to her first child. Early the following year she signed to Polydor, and with producer Jay Newland completed Joyful (the English translation of her Yoruba name) in just five days. Buoyed by the lead single "Down on My Knees," the album fell just shy of the German Top Ten. ~ Jason AnkenyPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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