If you’ll ever catch yourself in questioning The Great Dream, please don’t forget that everything – maybe except for travelling backwards in time – is possible. When German-Nigerian Joy Ogunmakin, or Ayo, was only six years old, her parents separated as her mother became addicted to heroin. Soon Ayo and her three siblings were put in different foster homes, until she ended up in an orphanage at the Dutch border for four years, where she learned to play both piano and guitar.
Obviously she must have had an at times horrendous childhood, but through the power of music Ayo was able to overcome the hopelessness that overshadowed her. Soon one thing led to another, as representatives from Polydor Records had the pleasure of witnessing Ayo heating the audience’s sweaters and hearts during a Cody Chesnutt concert in Paris.
Ever since the award-winning debut album Joyful (2006) the 33 year-old has released three full-lengths, the latest being last year’s Ticket ot the World. That record is – like the debut album – produced by Jay Newland, best known for his brilliant guidance on Norah Jones’ landmark record, Come Away with Me. That release is a decent point of reference in regards to Ayo, who also moves in a soul-coloured pop landscape with melancholic but hopeful songs. As Ayo probably knows way better than most of us: Life does indeed get better.
Tekst: Kim Klev