Ayak

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POP ART NOIR

Hi!

So as you may have noticed I haven’t posted in a few weeks. I just wanted to take some time to make some changes after my recent endometriosis diagnosis. I’ve really been on a path to connect to self & health & unexpectedly for me, I found a way through design & getting some of my other artistic ideas out outside of music.

I’ve always been able to draw since I was little, but recently I’ve been dabbling in digital art on my Wacom tablet. Digital art drawing on an tablet is a new feeling to adapt to at first, but I really do enjoy it & when I get better I’ll most definitely showcase some of my final art.

POP ART NOIR

With the help of a super talented experienced digital artist, I’ve been designing some merch for my range called POP ART NOIR.

POP ART NOIR is inspired by 1950’s British & later American pop art, which found a way to incorperate popular culture & challenge views on  fine art.  To me (who is by no means an expert), the most recognisable names probably being Roy Lichtenstein & Andy Warhol but my favourite are Japanese artist; being the female conceptual artist who some would say was one of the pioneers of pop art Yayoi Kusama & graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo. Whose Marilyn Monroe piece is so dope to me.

So in the spirit of challenging views, my own or otherwise…I wanted to create  images of a 1950’s style dark skinned pin up. Inspired by Yokoo & Warhols ode to Marilyn Monroe; I wanted to flip the script… hence ‘Melanin Monroe‘ being the first in the POP ART NOIR line.

CHALLENGING BEAUTY STANDARDS

In order to challenge standards, I feel you have to challenge your own, & that was definitely true for me in creating this piece. As a long time wig/weave wearer, taking my natural self & holding that up & calling it art was something I had a pang of doubt about at first. An all too common story in this world where our natural God given afro hair or features can be seen as intimidating or considered unprofessional. reflecting on these feelings, I had a few questions to ask.

Why can’t someone that looks like me been seen as pin up worthy? Why is that beauty real estate, exclusively reserved for skin & hair types that differ from my own? & more importantly, why can’t I, me, Ayak see myself as an example of a pin up?

After a lot of soul searching, armed with my photo I began sketching my idea’s to explain to my digital artist to refine… & POP ART NOIR was born.

Please let me know your feedback in the comments section, I absolutely welcome ideas & discussion. I’d love for this blog to be a safe space to dialogue, to grow & to heal.

HAPPY CONSTRUCTION

A x  💋

 

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We’re #1  with Nano’s ‘Hold on’

 

#1 Nano#1

Super happy to say Hold on by Swedish artist Nano is #1 on Swedish iTunes singles chart, #1 on the album chart (melodifestvalen compilation), is at 10 million + streams on spotify & is the 2nd most played record on swedish radio (Lets be real, there’s no catching this Ed Sheeran train) & makes this my first co-write to top the Swedish chart!

Melodifestvalen 2017

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Nano performing @ Melodifestvalen final 2017

It was a tense time watching my first Melodifestvalen tonight (Swedish Song competition to pick which song will represent Sweden at the Eurovision song contest) but Nano gave a steller delivery of Hold on, however was pipped to the post by 13 points awarded by the foreign jury (No Shade).

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Eurovision song contest

The Eurovision song contest started in 1956 after the second world war in an effort to create a more peaceful & unified Europe. Each country awards points to it’s favourite song & the winning country gets to host the following years contest. Last year saw Austrailia participate for the first time despite being the only non European country. Eurovision is also the most watched non sports event in the world.

THE PEOPLES CHAMP!

Despite not winning the actual final, Nano has proved to be the peoples champ. Voted first choice by telephone vote by the Swedish people. (I can’t lie, some of the tweets I’ve read have had me in stitches! Comparing the victory to the US electoral college vote vs the popular vote). It’s been a drama filled night but a fun one & either way Nano still wins. Not just being bias, but his personal story is amazing, he’s a talented artist/writer & it has truely been an honour to be part of his first chart success. He really does deserve it!

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Tweet by @Bdkswe

 

Hold On is out now on itunes & Spotify 🍾

HAPPY CONSTRUCTION

A x 💋

 

 

 

Why I keep a Blessing Jar!

Hi,

So I celebrated my birthday over the weekend & I started thinking about life, as we all tend to do this time of year. I really just had to give thanks. Even though I may not have achieved all my goals or ticked off everything from my vision board. I’m alive, healthy & moving towards it a day at a time.

A lot is happening at the moment, both in the world & personally & I just reached a place at the top of the year where I just refuse to let the external shake the internal. Sometimes it’s easier said then done, but Im really making a point to be mindful.

Counting my blessings with a blessing Jar!

This new years eve, I decided not to go the usual route of  seeing the old year out by going out & entering the new year drunk, nursing a hangover or just plane exhausted.

Instead I burnt some sage, meditated & rang in the year with starting a blessing jar. I told myself that each time I feel a blessing, I would acknowledge itwrite it down on a piece of paper, fold it up & put it into the blessing jar (I hung my crystal pendants around the mason jar for extra energy).

This way I can keep my vibes high through gratitude &  if i’m going through a challenging point (which we all do at times) I can just dip into my blessing jar & be reminded that good things happen & to stay encouraged!

I feel like when you’re grateful for the small things, the big things follow & that gratitude really is the gateway to abudance. However i’m human after all & the tendancy to overthink or dwell on the negative is all too easy,  I want  more balance & that’s why I keep a blessing jar!

I got mine off Amazon, & it was pretty cheap. I think it could be an amazing tool to use with children, to practice mindfulness & gratitude. You could turn it into an activity & get them to customise & decorate their own jars.

Let me know if you have any dope tips & tricks you’ve picked up along the way that keep the vibes high.

HAPPY CONSTRUCTION

A x 💋

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That being said, i’ll sign off with my favourite song from Biggie.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of his passing, Im grateful for his life! 🙏🏿 ….

Its all good baby bay-bay

 

Noisey Premiers ‘Lit’ by Banx N Ranx ft Me!

Ok so Noisey just premiered the music video of ‘Lit’ the new single by Banx N Ranx (aka Soké and KNY Factory) featuring vocals from yours truly😁! I’ve been waiting a little while for this one to drop so i’m super excited it’s finally here.

The song was recorded in London, where I’m from & the video was shot in Montreal where the boys are from, so it’s a real UK/Canada link up. Banx N Ranx have been crafting their ECM (electronic Caribbean music) sound  for a minute now & have produced & remixed for the likes of Sean Paul & Sizzla. You can definitley hear the caribbean influence all over this record too. Let me know what you think by dropping a comment  …Enjoy!

A x 💋

Lit is out through parlophone records

ITUNES 

SPOTIFY

APPLE MUSIC

 

 

Gang Signs And Prayer #1 for Stormzy

 

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So Stormzy has done it. His highly anticipated debut offering Gang signs & prayer or more affectionately known via the web as #GSAP has become the U.K’s number 1 album & I couldn’t be more happy about it!

It’s no secret that although my musical taste is eclectic, there’s something about hip-hop & grime that will forever scratch an itch that pop, R&B, dance, or Tchaikovsky can’t.

What makes the success of #GSAP all the more sweet is that 23 year old Stormzy is able to fuse Gospel,  R&B, with a splash of pop (in the form of vocals by Lily Allen), & grime into the kind of audio alchemy that is a more than worthy chart topper.

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Buy #GSAP on iTunes here

BODY OF WORK

I downloaded #GSAP 30mins after release, on Friday feb 24th & actually felt a sense of nostalgia…It felt like a moment reminicent of when ‘The miseducation of Lauryn Hill‘ dropped, or when ‘The college drop out‘ by Kanye landed or when  Kendrick gave us ‘ Good Kid M.A.A.D City‘. All records that marked the arrival of an artist that would effect the way we feel about the genre. About music, period.

What strikes me most about this 16 track body of work is the confidence in which Stormzy is able to deliver heart felt, cocky, aggressive, vulnerable, & pay homage to those that came before whilst doing something never done before. Stormzy released his debut on his own label #Merky records, distributed through ADA (Warner) which makes it the first UK grime album to hit #1 on the chart, & the first to do so independently.

I rate Stormzy & his team, the marketing & roll out for this record has been exceptional. His performance  with Ed shereen at the brit awards on the week before release was genius & releasing the remix to ‘shape of you’ Ft Stormzy straight after, sending it straight to #1 on the singles chart…..BACK OF THE NET.

They literally built it from the ground up.

STAND-OUT CUTS

It’s a testament to a record when it’s hard to pick your stand-out cut…

Honestly It’s been a while since I felt like crying, praying, moshing, & been ready to lift weights all over one record. ‘Blinded by your grace’ (Pt 1 + 2), ‘100 bags’ & ‘Lay me bare’ almost left me a wreck. From the  vulnerable moments of redemption in BBYG, to the straight emotional, as Stormzys mother prays for him via Voicemail. 🤤 🤤🤤🤤Im sure everyone will be wiping their eyes & noses cos I definitely was!

‘Mr Skeng’ & ‘Return of the racksack’ had me gassed beyond measure, & hearing Jenny Francis from choice FM (96.9 fm the now defunct but first UK black radio station) on an interlude  before ‘Velvet’ & ‘Cigarettes & Cush’ ft Kehlani had me missing the old days & thinking about calling a dude asap. We were also transported in time to the clash between Ghetts (Formerly MC Ghetto) & Bashy (actor Ashley Thomas) & given a goosebump inducing moment on a Crazy Titch interlude. These nods to early grime & british music culture for me, puts #GSAP in a league of its own category. Only time will tell if it’s a classic. It definietly seems to have captured the zeitgeist, with everyones mum, brother & dog talking & tweeting, about it, but it’s definitly on my repeat playlist list & will be for a while.

There have been a few album moments in UK Grime & rap, but  I imagine this is the closest to what it felt like when Dizzee dropped  ‘Boy in da corner’. I had just moved to Germany to sign my record deal at the time so I missed the moment. Either way, Gang signs & Prayers is an amazing body of work. Im super happy for Stormzy & extremely proud of my mate Fraser T Smith who co- executive produced this record. Fraser has such a knack for being able to make dope urban music & is equally dope at crafting grammy winning records for your Adele’s, or the sam smiths of the world.

#MERKY

Stormzy has managed to stay above the fray beautifully. Whether it be the police wrongly kicking off his door after wrongly suspecting him of burglarising his own property or LBC radio attributing knife crime to him/grime

“I was scrolling through my tweets/ had Adele up on repeat/And saw a madness on my timeline,
LBC’s tryna’ black ball me/And tryna’ blame your boy for knife crime.”- Stormzy (First things first. #GSAP)  

He really carries himself with respect & dignity. I wish this brother well &  long may his reign over the charts continue. It’s truly inspiring watching this young man from the ends work & get the gold. Stormzy proves he truly is #Merky & a #Problem!!

Gang signs & Prayer out now!!

Happy Construction

A x 💋