Budding music star, Ayo Jay – real name, Ayoola Ogundeyi, is known for his debut single, Available.
He speaks to PREMIUM TIMES about his career and how he was inspired by Wande Coal and Wizkid.
PT: How did you start out as a musician?
Ayo Jay: Growing up, I used to sing in the bathroom. When I started paying attention to Nigerian music, listening to Wande Coal, I thought I could do something similar. I looked at the impact that Wizkid made, so I decided to give it a push.
PT: Are you trying to be a better version of Wizkid and Wande Coal?
Ayo: I intend to be Ayo Jay. I want to be myself. I’m trying to bring my own sound into the industry. I have a lot to offer in terms of my voice and a whole lot.
PT: Tell us about your debut single, Available.
Ayo: Available was produced by Maestro. It was a song I wrote and recorded in two days. It wasn’t inspired by anything in particular.
PT: On the song, you pronounced “Available” with an Ibadan accent, why did you do that?
Ayo: Yeah, that was intentional. My dad worked in Ibadan for 10 years so I used to go to Ibadan a lot and I was trying to imitate people from that part of the country. I think it worked on the song because people actually like it.
PT: Who or what inspired your latest single,Think About Me?
Ayo: Think about me is for everyone. If you listen to the lyrics it simply asks, when you are not with them, are they thinking about you, are you on their mind. I just tried to express that. That’s all.
PT: Tell us a bit about your background.
Ayo: I was born in the United Kingdom but I moved to Nigeria and grew up in Lagos till I was 16 after which I moved to New York for university. I studied Economics and I graduated in 2013.
PT: How are you finding your feet on the Nigerian music scene?
Ayo: So far so good. Available did very well, Think About Me is doing well. I have been doing a lot of collaboration with a lot of artistes and also recording a lot. With the support of my management and label, this year is looking to be a very good year. I’m putting in more effort to produce better sounds.
PT: How did you get signed on to OneNation, your label?
Ayo: Erm, it’s a long story o. The owner of the label heard my stuff on YouTube and on Notjustok and was looking for me. He thought I was in Nigeria not knowing I was actually in New York, the same city he was in. Somehow, through some people, we met. That period I had offers from major labels in Nigeria, like Star Boy, EME, but OneNation’s plan is best for me, so I went with them.
PT: Would you say the label is doing well for you?
Ayo: There is always a better way of doing things but like they told me from the beginning, it’s a new label and they are improving in terms of promotion, pushing my brand and all that.
PT: As an artiste, how are you improving yourself?
Ayo: I try to record a lot; that is one thing I didn’t do before. I practise dance steps and listen to lots of music to widen my scope. Ayo Jay is a young guy, singer, songwriter, boy wonder. I have a lot to offer the Nigerian music industry and Africa as a whole and I feel my music is growing every day. I think a lot of people know me by name. A lot of people are waiting for that jam that will just take them off their feet to finally accept me.
PT: If not music, what would you have been doing?
Ayo: I studied Economics. Before I got offers from record labels, I did an internship on Wall Street, and so I think I would have gone somewhere in that line.
PT: What should fans expect from you for the rest of the year?
Ayo: Expect the remix of Think About You, it comes with a video. Expect more singles. I think I will be releasing four or five singles. I will be very aggressive.