How Ayanda Jiya’s first studio album captured who she is
01 January 1970
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AJ: As the title is I Understand, it basically talks about me being a woman and understanding things that I have gone through. Understanding my trials and appreciating them in order for me to be, or rather appreciating them to, because they have brought me to being who I am now. So I Understand is basically going to be a truthful album about me and everything I have gone through. So it is basically me stripping naked literally and having people see, you know, everything that I have been. All the things that have elevated me, things that have turned me down and things that have broken me down rather. Things that have made me believe less of myself.
So I am bringing some of those things about me in order for another person to understand me and why I appreciate myself so much. So the reason for this album and the reason why I have done it that way is because I want people to understand that what we all go through as human beings, we need to. It is lessons that make us stronger. So I am basically taking lessons of me being an artist and putting them into an album. So it’s like a dear diary type of a moment and hopefully people will actually get to understand me and appreciate me as much as I have done thus far. So that is basically what I Understand is about.
AN: Alright, I am going to ask you Ayanda, to just move around a bit for me and I hear there is a baby or someone in the background?
AJ: Yes, I am babysitting my nephew, so he just woke up.
AN: Oh man.
AJ: Yeah I’m so sorry about that.
AN: No worries.
AJ: Okay let me try and move away from him because he is playing now.
AN: Okay just find a quiet little spot for me for about ten more minutes.
AJ: Okay cool. Can you hear me?
AN: Yes I can.
AJ: Okay wait let me just, okay he is coming to the living room, let me just let him come, let him stay this side.
AN: Okay. So you are an aunt as well.
AJ: I am an aunt as well so during the day I babysit when there is no sitter and then later on I get to do what I need to do for my life which is the music stuff you know. So that is basically what I do. Yeah.
AN: So any chances of you getting a little one any time soon and settling down. I mean you are young but every girl dreams of that.
Music is my solo focus right now
AJ: You know, God willingly, it will happen. I just feel that right now it is probably not one of the things I want to do because I really want to focus on my music and my career. Because I have just started, you know. So it is like a very challenging place to be at the moment. So settling down would not be the greatest of ideas. I do think about it, I really do think about it and I do want to do it. I do want to settle down at some point in my life, but at the moment I just really want to focus on the music and the career. Once that has settled in properly and then would probably consider the dating and the getting to know each other and all of that shebang, you know. So yes for now it is just me and my music and that is where my focus is.
AN: Good for you girl. Now you recently headlined an evening of love and song with Brian Themba who is well known in the South African Music Industry.
AN: I mean I heard him speak on the radio about you the other day and he described you as one of the most underrated artists of our time because if anyone has heard your music or has seen you perform live, they know that you are going places. Yet you have been nominated, you have gotten, you received a nod from the SAMA awards. You received a nod from the Metro FM awards, but still nothing. Does that deflate you in any way, especially when you know how much hard work you put into your craft?
The actual music is more important than awards
AJ: Oh no, not at all. I appreciate Brian Themba, he is so amazing. He, I actually am going to be working with him on my album I Understand, so that is something very exciting that I am looking into. Coming to him saying that I am very underrated and, you saying that does it, you know, discourage me in any way? It really doesn’t, I feel that for the fact that I have been nominated, you know, for these awards, it makes me feel that I am in the right track. I am doing something right because people do want to hear something new, people want to. I feel like people are longing for something new and more, you know, real. So for them to even nominate me, that was such an honour and I take that with me as an achievement, even though I have not won an award as yet. That really doesn’t make me give up, it doesn’t really, in fact it is inspiring me to actually do more.
So I’m not discouraged in any way. In fact, I am working harder and I do believe that at some point, I will then, you know, receive these awards. So I am looking forward to it, you know, the year is still long, there is so much to happen. I mean I am still going to drop I Understand and you know, we see what happens. But for me, all of this, this recognition that I have gotten thus far, it is inspiring. It really helps me that I am doing something right and people are listening and that people are really, you know, responding to my music and that for me is enough. Honestly it is more than enough.
AN: Let’s take a glimpse into a show with Ayanda Jiyan. A sultry R ‘n B singer, so it is, let’s just take a look at what a typical, not a typical, a special show with Ayanda Jiyan would have. So just wow us, just give us a little taste of what we could expect and I want you to run us through, like I want you to create it in your head that this is me. I bought my ticket, I am at the state theatre, Ayanda Jiyan is performing tonight. The opening acts are done and it is show time. Ayanda Jiyan walks out in a…
What goes down at a live show
AJ: She walks out in a jump suit, heels, big hair, makeup, you know, on sleek and she is basically probably sitting on a chair. She is not even facing the audience and she is about to begin. She starts singing and people just become very quiet because of the curiosity they have in wanting to hear what it is about her that is so different. Ayanda would probably, you know, give them you know, a moment you know, they would never forget. A moment where, you know, as soon as she starts singing, you know, it brings them to a certain place just the way she wants them to be in order for them to explore this moment together.
What I like doing as an artist, is that I really like feeding off people’s energy just so that I could, you know, return it back to them. That way we create a certain relationship, in that way we create a certain connection and in that we can get to understand each other and elevate each other in ways that we need to. Because I totally believe that as an artist, when you perform, you need to get people at a point where they can get to connect with you and actually connect with each other. Be at the same level as that particular moment and in that particular time.
So for me that is what I believe, I believe to, I believe that as an artist we need to do that in order for a person to actually feel that. I went to a performance and I felt that this person was speaking to me and that person was actually, you know, singing to me specifically. It has to be special and that is why I really prefer rather performing more than to actually have a, you know, a studio kind of recording. Because when you are in space with another person and another soul, you know, it becomes more important, it becomes more personal. So that is what I believe, and I think that is what people would actually look forward to when it comes to me performing.