Serving as both a follow up to her 2018 project Direction and a reintroduction, R&B’s hottest come-up Ayanis bares it all in her brand new EP Yani. The 11-track project features a mix of upbeat tracks with an underlying message self discovery. “A lot of the songs on there are basically me coming into my womanhood,” Ayanis said in an interview with Bombshell. “It’s feminine energy. It’s fun. It’s also vulnerable. It’s very relatable to any woman, any girl – and that’s really what I wanted to capture.”
Having just signed to Island Prolific/Atlantic Records in 2017, her quick and steady ascend has been astonishing. Though Yani is only her second project to date, heavy hitters like Jack Harlow, A Boogie, Wiz Khalifa and Queen Naija are the listed features. Jack Harlow jumps on the “Lil Boi (Big Talk)” remix, the original song features Queen Naija. “I’ve always wanted to do a female collaboration, you know? Two females coming together in R&B. I always think that’s dope,” Ayanis said of the track. “Me and Jack share the same engineer and we also record at the same studio. I always wanted to do something with him and I also wanted a male perspective on the remix.”
Wiz joins her on the track “One Night,” which like the aforementioned track was released ahead of Yani. The two dropped a video for the song back in September of last year and it has since reached over 3 million views on YouTube. “I met Wiz at the Atlantic Christmas party,” Ayanis retold. “I sent him [the song] and he sent it right back, so that was amazing,” she laughed, adding, “He’s so cool, he’s so humble.”
Ayanis took her time with Yani and the production quality truly reflects that. Within the two year gap of the artist dropping Direction, she has learned more and grown as an artist. To keep the consistency, she dropped her singles “Ecstasy,” “One Night,” and “Lil Boi (Big Talk)” and saw huge success. “All of the songs I put out so far are so special to me as well as all of the songs that are on the project,” said Ayanis. “On my first project, Direction, I have no features. [On] this project I have collaborations and I was excited to do that in my singles.”
The name “Yani” stems from a nickname but has come to embody Ayanis’s alter ego. “[She] is the most confident, most bold, most vibrant version of myself,” she explained. “It’s just this thing that when I get into the studio or I step on stage, it turns on. Or if I’m at a video shoot, I could be being silly and laughing, and then it’s time to start and I get so serious. I’m focused but I’m fun and I’m happy to be here and I’m grateful – that’s Yani. She’s all of that. She’s every girl. Every woman.”
Ayanis has always known that she wanted to be a performer. “I was a very extra child. I was very outgoing, I would never sit down, and I loved music. I loved to sing and I loved to dance,” she retold. At the age of 14, she joined a singing group with a mutual friend. While it didn’t kick start her fame, it solidified her passion and she soon began taking vocal lessons and going to the studio. “Everything from that point on, everything in my life was to get to the goal of being a superstar, to make music, to change lives, to impact people in a great way and that’s basically how I got here.” She soon met her A&R representatives Chris Jones and Prince Charles, which led to her meeting with Atlantic Records. “Ever since then, it’s been amazing,” Ayanis added.
Currently, Ayanis has been working on some new music and recently dropped a Christmas track on Atlantic’s first ever holiday album, Still Home For The Holidays. Her track “Santa Baby” is a twist on a classic and sits on a tracklist next to songs from Pink Sweats$, Ty Dolla $ign, Tayla Parx, Raiche, and more.