Joy Olasunmibo Ogunmakin, 14 September 1980, Köln, Germany. Born to a Nigerian father and a Romanian mother, this German singer was proficient on violin, piano and guitar by her late teens. During this period she had endured a difficult upbringing, and when her mother spent time in jail she was forced to spend time in foster care. Reunited with her father at the age of 14, she began to immerse herself in his wide-ranging music collection, paying particular attention to the classic reggae and soul albums. Her father also worked in a recording studio, and was able to give his daughter the chance to record demo material.
Ayo spent time in London, Paris and New York in her late teens and early twenties, and performed live with singers such as Cody Chesnutt and Omar. It was while in Paris that she began to attract the attention of record labels, and after a couple of false starts she signed with Polydor Records. During this period she also...