this must sound like a cliche but every now and again a singer
comes along that just has it you know um the package - the voice,
the body, the look. That such a singer is newcomer Aya.
native who grew up in my hometown of London, England, Aya's
appetite for creating music can be led back to her teens when
she decided to leave London and move to New York. It was here
that she met and worked with soul rocker Lenny
Kravitz on his single 'Thinking
of You' (from his '5' album) and Pharcyde
on “Lab Cabin California”.
Both of which went gold respectively. That in turn led to her
putting her voice on underground house tunes like Sweeter
Love for Blue Six.
Her vocal presence was drawing
attention and another chance meeting with Sade's
band member and Sweetback
frontman Stuart Matthewman
proved to be another step in the right direction for her as they
would collaborate and feature her on 5 tracks from the bands new
album - Stage 2 (out later
this month). Her vocal presence can be placed with the best of
them and draws some distinctive comparisons to 'The Lady'
herself Sade for her breezy,
soft undertone pipes. With all this going for her it the majors
came calling and she refused to bend or cave into the system as
we wanted total freedom to create with no pressure.
Enter producer Jay
Denes of Blue Six,
who offered her his Naked Music label
to her but without the big money price tag attached (after all
it's an independant label), but he could offer her musical freedom
and that was music to her ears - and so Aya spent the better part
of a year holed up in the studio with Jay, perfecting her “baby”.
Strange Flower is a testiment
to the one thing she had a lot of around her as a child - music.
With early exposure to piano and keyboard prodigy Patrice
Rushen and Jimi Hendrix
to name a few, Strange Flower
offers a venturous outing into the musical mind. From the opening
track 'Lookin’ For The Sun'
you can tell that it pays armonage to the vibes master himself
Roy Ayers who I feel did him
proud on the track. 'You’re Not The Only
One' is also a delightful number as is the too short
interlude '45 Parade Place',
melodiac drums and rhythms caressed by Aya's sensual vocals.
A fantastic set from Aya, a terrific debut that is every bit as
worthy as the best of them out there right now. One for your CD
player or CD changer (where ever you listen to your music) so
do find yourself a copy it will be well worth it (really). A
true TY-D Pick
Listen to Aya's
Listen to Aya's