In her own words: Ayanda Jiya talks us through her debut release

Words by Mayuyuka Kaunda

Ayanda Jiya’s debut album is a sonic journey on the power of growing through our understanding of love. The R&B is soulful with hip hop, gospel, house and funk references owing to features with Stogie T, A-Reece, Naomi Parchment and Ziyon. We got a chance to get a track-by-track breakdown from the chanteuse herself to learn the inspiration behind each of Ayandastand’s songs.

Ayandastand”

“I’ve come to understand that the life experiences I share in this album are what made me a better person. I wanted to sit more on finding myself in all of it… the pain, loss, love found – just everything. As an artist, you go through a lot of phases of getting to know yourself and what you are meant to do. People will make it even harder for you to trust why you’re here. I wanted to understand what I was going through and use that to become a better artist and person overall.”

Night Away ft Ziyon”

“When it comes to collaborations; texture is everything to me. It’s even greater when the person understands the vision of the song. For this song specifically, Ziyon was my first choice. I know no one more versatile in terms of delivery – he’s very rhythmic and I genuinely enjoy his writing. I love experimenting – it’s how I grow and expand – so us collaborating on this record was a perfect fit. The outcome, for me, was incredible.”

Falling For You ft A-Reece”

“ ‘Falling For You’ was an interesting song to write! The song is about a woman getting out of her shell and telling this love of hers how she feels. It speaks on the one thing women are told to never do, something seen as unnatural – being the first to express how she feels about someone she’s in love with. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to express how I feel to someone and I never understood why this was wrong; that’s why it was a new thing even for me.”

Trade”

“At times we’re afraid because we dwell on the hurt. Sometimes we’re afraid to love again ’cause of our past experiences of love elsewhere. ‘Trade’ speaks about letting go of that fear and doing what you really want to – loving regardless of the distance or pain you once felt! I love this song ’cause it’s a reminder of just how beautiful love really is. It speaks about the power of that ‘throw caution to the wind’ kind of love and its purity – where love isn’t dented or bruised.

Worth It”

“I tell him I’m worth it because – despite his uncertainty with me – I know I deserve better than what he’s willing to give. The truth is always the best way to set ones heart at ease and it’s okay for him to leave if he can’t meet my needs. The older you get the more you realize just how important it is to know your worth and be loved with no reservations or complications of any kind. I’d like to think it’s what every woman longs for. I think anyone would want to be loved completely – either we’re in it for the long run or we’re not! I think women need to understand who we are and the power we possess and that’s why I keep affirming just how good of a woman I am. ”

Lover 4 Life ft Stogie T”

“I grew up on a lot of soul music. My mother has been a fan of that sound all my life and some of my earliest memories were the ones I shared in this song – a reference I put in here was to the O’Jays. My first encounter with ‘Stairway To Heaven’ changed my life! I wanted to write songs that would move another person’s heart how it did mine. Soul music is ministry and I say this because of how they wrote songs in those days. I fell in love with Soul because of the writing so the likes of Jill Scott, Dwele and many other artists are the reason I stuck to my calling.”

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

“My producer Zephbeats thought it would be a dope idea to fuse R&B and Hip Hop on this song to give it a bit of bounce. The crazy thing is; I wrote the lyrics before I even heard this beat.”

The Sun”

“This is a song of hope – it’s the perfect explanation of why you need to live and overcome this obstacle. It talks about the hardships and ups and downs of life as a reminder that things turn around. We’re thrown with so much challenges in life and some of us eventually give up. The song’s about how you need to believe that the light will always shine – it never stays dark forever, days will be bright again!”

Jesus ft Naomi Parchment”

“I don’t think I would be a musician or write the way I do had it not been for my understanding of my faith and my purpose. My relationship with God helped me understand why I do what I do. I’m a strong believer in the concept of love and why God is love. It’s hard to see love in the world these days and being a writer on this very topic has made me a messenger of love. I believe it’s important to spread that love once again.”

10 Interlude

“Having a support structure helps you find yourself and to be confident in what your purpose is. I’m really thankful that I have that from so many people, especially the ones on the intro and this interlude.”

11 Soldier Of Love

“Love is peaceful, that’s what it is to me. Its power unlocks even the hardest of hearts and requires you to be vulnerable to understand it’s miraculous power. That’s why it’s so hard for most to understand it. Being a soldier is to genuinely love like a fool and trust like you’ve never been betrayed before. And that; only real love can teach you.”