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Jun 1st 2004


Sade reborn? - Aya Aya - Strange Flower: LP (Naked Music)


I know 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.

A Singapore 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 indeed. 


Listen to Aya's - 'Uptown'

Listen to Aya's - '45 Parade Place'



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