Ayana Soyini is an internationally known Hip Hop, Reggae & Soul Artist, DJ & Producer committed to community and self empowerment through the creative arts.
Growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s in New York City, Ayana was influenced by positive Black American, Caribbean and African music and culture. Ayana began to develop her artistic expression by studying artists such as Aretha Franklin and Bob Marley while attending Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City & Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Being inspired by the lives and teachings of Malcolm X & Marcus Garvey, Ayana began to focus on learning to DJ and produce music. Deciding to pursue music full time she left Boston and moved back to New York in the early 1990’s where she found work in a recording studio as an engineer and session producer.
After linking with Bronx based producer Charlemagne from the Hip Hop crew Natural Elements, Ayana was featured as a rapper on the b-side of the vinyl 12 inch single “Lyrical Tactics” from artist Mr. Voodoo. The group track called “Shine” included Ayana (then known as Essence) and Natural Elements members Mr. Voodoo, L-Swift and A-Butta. Released by indie record label Fortress Records in 1995, the single was an underground success and garnered Ayana her first professional recording credits and press clippings from The Source magazine and other Hip Hop publications.
While collaborating with Charlemagne and Fortress records, Ayana landed an industry job as an A&R for indie label Robbins Entertainment founded by Cory Robbins (previous owner of Profile Records). In 1996 Ayana followed up her recording debut by spearheading the all female rapper collaboration produced by DJ Spinna called “Estragen” featuring Ayana, Apani B. Fly, Jean Grae, Pri Da Honeydark, Yejide the Night Queen, Lyric & Helixx C from The Anomalies. Ayana then collaborated with Kool Kim & Haas G from the UMC’s on the recording “Ya Gotta Know” in 1997.
After being featured along with Eminem, Kool Keith, M.O.P. and others in a film documentary about New York City underground Hip Hop called “Word” in 1997, Ayana’s growing business savvy led her to start Goldeneyes Entertainment and build a home recording studio and production company called Khamouflage Productions. In 2000 she pressed up her first release from her label, a limited edition vinyl 12 inch of her songs “Nighttime” and “Rock Steady”. In 2001, she released the first CD from Khamouflage Productions, a self produced EP called “The Khamouflage Project EP”. After releasing a mixtape called “Double Duty” in 2003, in 2005 Ayana released her second self produced CD called “Remix Sessions”. In 2008, Ayana made an appearance on “The World Famous Wake Up Show with Sway & Tech” in Los Angeles, CA after competing as a finalist in their “100K Battle” competition. She also produced a remix for Erykah Badu called “Real Thing (Jump Bad Remix)” and released digital album versions of “Remix Sessions” and “The Khamouflage Project EP” in 2009.
Having a love for Reggae music and strong ties within the DJ and Sound System culture, in 2011 and 2012 Ayana organized and promoted an international all female Reggae DJ competition called Queen Battle Royal featuring women competing from the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago and Japan. In 2014, she released a self produced Dancehall Reggae single called "A Dancing Mood" and toured as DJ Ayana Soyini with the highlight of the year being some shows in Spain at Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival.
Forwarding on her journey of uplifting and inspiring through the creative arts, Ayana’s latest mixtape “Soul Sister Soyini” showcases Ayana’s ability to melodically articulate thought provoking lyrics as well as her talent for producing unique, funky and progressive grooves.
With a serious yet engaging personality, Ayana confidently continues to put her best foot forward creatively to share with the world the positivity she has to offer.
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