Musician Ayanda Jiya chats to us about her musical influences and debut album, Ayandastand. By Kwanele Mathebula
Imgae: Ayanda Jiya IG
I grew up in a musical home. Every morning, my family and I would wake up and gather around for morning prayer. My mother would have us all sing a hymn before we read the morning devotion. This formed some of my fondest memories with music. Another treasured memory was the first time I heard Stairway to Heaven by the O’Jays. It changed my life, and led me on my path to music.
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Ayandastand is an introduction of who I am as an artist. It’s based on my own life experiences and the understanding of why the things I’ve been through were important for my growth. Also, I wanted to use my experiences to connect with other people and give them a sense of healing or comfort. The recording process was difficult because the music came from an honest place. And, because I’m a perfectionist, it took a while to put it together.
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Putting together my album was expensive. It was financially demanding to record the album. This was specially made tough by the fact that I’m an independent artist, so I paid for everything myself. I also wanted to present a great body of work, and ensuring that I achieved that meant pouring a lot of money into creating it. So, I sang back up for Dr Tumi and Yvonne Chaka and used that money to pay for everything. I also put the money from my royalties towards my album. Although it was tough, the positive reception to my album made the hard work worth it.
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My album debuting at number one on Apple Music and Google Play was encouraging. To achieve such a feat, as an independent artist, is amazing. I’ve also had other great career highlights such as being the opening act at the Women of Note concert in 2015, alongside Syleena Johnson. This inspired me to look into performing overseas, and that’s something I’m currently working towards.
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