Barbadian-born and LA-based Ayoni has a natural talent for songwriting. In 2019, the singer, 20, released her debut album, Iridescent, which was nearly 30 minutes of what should be grand music standards. Ayoni’s unbeatable voice carries critical songs like “Santa Monica” and “September,” her sweeping vocals amplifying the depth and breadth of her lyrics. Each song on Iridescent blossoms into the next, with Ayoni pursuing peace through the lens of a heavy heartbreak.
Back in October, I wrote: “The emphatic and hyper-specific ‘September’ is proof Ayoni dips her pen in a rich ink.” With the release of her newest single, “Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth),” out today, Ayoni continues her now well-established tradition of unraveling herself and the music industry with sharp lyricism. The gentle strumming of “Unmoved” acts as a perfect bed for the truths Ayoni tucks behind the stacks of her sinewy voice.
“‘Unmoved’ is the most vulnerable I’ve ever been about my experience existing as a Black woman in this world,” Ayoni wrote in a statement released with her new single. Her vulnerability—just look at the line “I’m 20 years of breakdowns and mantras”—both invites us into her world and makes us interrogate the systems driving her to create the song in the first place.
More than an amazing musician, Ayoni also puts her politics at the center of her work. All proceeds from “Unmoved” will be donated to Black and Pink, a US prison abolitionist organization supporting LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive prisoners. In an era where direct action is critical to progress, Ayoni stands above the empty statements permeating the music industry. She is one-of-one.
My conversation with Ayoni, lightly edited for content and clarity, is available on Audiomack World. Click here to read the full piece. No account or login necessary.