09-08-07-ayah-118_phixr2Music has always been there to calm people down or hype them up; depending on what type of mood they’re aiming for.

With that said, the people who use music as their drug of choice usually seek solace from the same dealers (artists) who continually fill their souls up with melodic morphine.

Plenty of new artists come into the industry every year, and try to obtain customers who are always vying for another hit. In that time, a few have succeeded, and many more have failed—and that’s where 23-year-old songstress Ayah comes into the equation.

The singer/songwriter who’s originally from Palestine, but now makes Toronto her home first got underway by interacting with Will Smith’s longtime ace DJ Jazzy Jeff through Myspace, which lead to an appearance on Elzhi’s The Preface album.

With the release of her Problem Woman Mixtape last year, she’s now poised for her debut album simply titled 4:15.

So is this Ayah going to be the next drug that gets you hooked? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to take a dose…

iHipHop.com: Where are you originally from?

Ayah: Well I’m Palestinian and I was born in Jordan, and from there I moved around a whole lot… As of right now I’m living in Toronto…

iHipHop.com: How’s the music scene out there?

Ayah: The music scene out here is definitely big, because culturally there’s a lot going on… So you pretty much have everything out here, and especially Hip-Hop. Because Hip-Hop is really strong out here…

iHipHop.com: When did you first realize that you had a signing voice?

Ayah: I always knew I wanted to sing longer than I actually did sing, but I want to say that I started in church and all that stuff… But I wasn’t really that good until I was probably 15-years-old…

I was just a school singer at first, and I think we all have those… Just the people that parade around the halls singing… Then after a while people were like, “Can you sing this by Mariah Carey?” “Or can you sing that?” So after that I realized that I had something…

iHipHop.com: Is that also around the same time that you started to take your singing seriously?

Ayah: Well before I moved here, I was in Seattle for a year, and I was in a big artistic stage… Then when I came to Toronto, I was 16-years-old, and that’s when I really started to be like, “Who can I meet?” “What can I do?” “Where can I find producers?” “Where can I find a studio?”

So from there it got a little bit serious… Then I decided to leave college during my second year, and that’s when it became full time…

iHipHop.com: Your parents must have been really excited about that move… [Laughs]

Ayah: No they were not, obviously… [Laughs] Since I was in grades eight and nine, I was looking at university books, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do… It was a hard decision, and they weren’t happy, but sometimes music calls… [Laughs]

ayah_63iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… When did people start noticing you?

Ayah: I started by doing open mics, and I was getting love from the audience… Then I was like, “Okay, maybe I do have something here.”

But I still had to work on a lot of stuff, and most recently working with [DJ] Jazzy Jeff feels like my big break… That’s awesome to be doing that…

iHipHop.com: How did you and [DJ] Jazzy Jeff first cross paths?

Ayah: This seems to be the way a lot of people are meeting these days, but I was on Myspace, and I just hit him up and I was like, “What would it take for us to work together?” Then he wrote me back in a half hour and he was like, “Just ask…” [Laughing]…

Then he sent me an email with a track, and he was like, “Listen to this.” I held on to that beat for a like a month before I wrote to it, but when I finally did write to it, it proved to be a good relationship…

iHipHop.com: How would you describe yourself musically to someone?

Ayah: I would just say that I make music that you can feel… From there people like to get specific and compare people to other artists, but at the end of the day it’s just music that you can feel… It can be R&B Soul, Hip-Hop Soul, or just soulful in general…

iHipHop.com: What do you think about the R&B talent pool now? Do you think it’s very deep?

Ayah: I feel like there are some gems… Like when Amy Winehouse came out, and regardless what people had to say about her, I loved that album… I was like, “Thank you, finally!” Then I felt the same way about Jazmine Sullivan

Now whole bunches of people are coming out, and they’re sounding like that, so now I’m like, “ARGH!” [Laughs]… But there are gems and a lot of individuality, but at the same time, there are a lot of people who like to follow…

iHipHop.com: What can people expect to hear from your album, 4.15?

Ayah: 4.15 is compilation of songs that I think will represent me properly… I put out the Problem Woman Mixtape last year, and that was my take on some modern day classics and some Hip-Hop classics… This time around, the production is original, and all the songs are original…

I don’t want to sound cliché, but I really want to take people on a journey… I’m 23-years-old, and I’ve spent the last couple of years “quote-un-quote” trying to find myself… So it will be emotional in a good way, and it will paint a picture…

iHipHop.com: Plus I realized that you were featured on ‘The Leak’ from Elzhi’s The Preface album not too long ago. Did he reach out to you for the project?

Ayah: Can you guess?

iHipHop.com: Hmmm… I’m thinking Myspace had something to do with it…

Ayah: Exactly… It was the same thing… I think I was spamming people with my video at the time, and I was spending lots of time just throwing it out there… Then Elzhi just wrote me back randomly, and he was like, “Yo, I dig it.” Then I was like, “Oh sh*t, cool!” [Laughs]…

Then he said that he had something, and he sent it over… The whole transaction was done in like ten minutes it was funny….

l_c54cd14c22e545f1c796c7e351a69746iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… So as a singer/songwriter, do you also write for other artists as well?

Ayah: If I write a song that I think is meant for me, then I tend to be a little selfish… But if I set out writing for another artist, then that’s what it is… I’ve written with artists for themselves, and I’d like to do more, because it’s really fun…

iHipHop.com: Are you also open to the idea of people writing for you as well?

Ayah: Well I definitely feel like there’s a certain connection when you write your own stuff, but I’m not against having other people write for me; it just happens that nobody has yet… But some people do co-write with me at times, so I’m not closed to it…

iHipHop.com: Do you ever worry about getting lost in the shuffle due to the fact that so many new artists are trying to achieve the same thing?

Ayah: Of course… I would be lying if I said no… To be even more straightforward about it, I worry a lot and I question a lot, and that is one of the things that will come up in my head…

But at the same time, you can’t watch other people, and all I can do is my own thing and put it out there… So hopefully people like it, but at the end of the day I’m good doing my thing…