Renowned for her versatility and embracing a multitude of cultures, Ayri, an extraordinary performer and singer, has won over listeners with her recent single, “Shake.” During our interview, the versatile artist unveils the intricate creative journey behind her new track, delving into the collaborative efforts with acclaimed producer Val Coleman, resulting in a harmonious marriage of music and lyrics.
During our conversation, Ayri also admitted to finding inspiration in diverse cultures, particularly African and Indian. The artist believes music resonates with our bodies’ rhythms and vibrations due to Africa’s historical significance as the birthplace of humanity. Additionally, she respects Indian culture’s positivity and empowerment of women, symbolized by goddesses like Lakshmi and Kali.
See the full interview below.
How did you approach the songwriting process for “Shake”? Did you start with a melody or a specific lyric?
Usually, what happens is that Valeriy (Val Coleman), creates the music and a specific rhythm. Then, we gather in the studio to come up with the lyrics. Initially, the words may be simple, and we experiment by humming and trying different things. We looked for shorter words because we were aiming for a rhythmic quality, and that’s when the word ‘Shake’ emerged, which we really liked. It has a resemblance to the word ‘Sheikh’. The music style is Afrobeat and it incorporates captivating motifs. Some mistakenly interpret it as an Eastern motif, but that’s not true. It’s purely Afrobeat.
“Shake” has a very danceable and upbeat rhythm. Do you see yourself incorporating more dance elements into your future music?
I enjoy various types of music, including soulful tunes and upbeat melodies from different genres. It’s important to me that music carries a positive vibe because I’m not fond of songs that bring tears. I prefer a sense of bittersweetness that is uplifting, but never something that brings about sadness. I strongly believe that the words we sing and the music we listen to have a significant impact on our lives. Certain music can even contribute to feelings of sadness or depression, while other music has the power to lift us out of those states. That’s why, in my opinion, any kind of bittersweet music should always conclude on a hopeful and optimistic note.
During previous interviews, you’ve talked about how different cultures inspire your music. Are there any particular cultures you’re interested in exploring in your upcoming releases, aside from Latin?
I have a deep admiration for African culture. It holds a wealth of historical significance, and the specific beat we’re referring to originated from there. Those beats were part of traditional religious dances that helped people thrive and uplift their spirits. Music has always had a way of bringing rhythm and meditation into our lives. It served as a means for people to find solace, relax, and overcome life’s challenges. This goes back to ancient times when such beats emerged. While I’m uncertain about the exact connection, whether it relates to the climate or other factors, it’s widely believed that Africa is the birthplace of humanity. The warm climate and favorable conditions there made it the ideal environment for life to flourish, and many theories propose that all music originated from Africa as a natural expression. It resonates with the rhythms of our bodies and harmonizes with our vibrations, ultimately helping us align ourselves towards positivity.
I have deep respect for all cultures and religions, as I believe that everything created by a higher power is intended for good. I hold great appreciation for traditions as well. When it comes to powerful destinations, I particularly love Indian culture. It exudes immense positivity. Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Delhi, and I truly fell in love with it. The people there radiate positivity. In this culture, women are highly esteemed, and there are powerful goddesses like Lakshmi and Kali who symbolize the strength of women. All of these aspects contribute to a positive atmosphere and enrich our lives.
Can you describe your favorite memory from the recording sessions for “Shake”?
Undoubtedly, one of the most cherished memories was the moment we created the words ‘Shake’ and ‘Sheikh’. It was truly a remarkable experience.
Your music is known for its positivity and joy. Do you have any personal rituals or practices to maintain a positive mindset when creating music?
I actively practice yoga, including headstands, and I engage in dedicated sessions with people from India who are serious about yoga. Yoga not only nurtures the spirit but also enhances physical strength. If I were forced to choose only one sport to keep and all others were to be abolished, I would undoubtedly choose yoga. Specifically, I would prefer to practice yoga solely with practitioners from India. In my view, those who have personally experienced it and received comprehensive training from various institutions are the most qualified to teach, as opposed to those who have only completed a retreat or a few courses.
Understanding the brain’s chemistry, which I’ve gained from scientific lectures, reveals that our consciousness shifts when we breathe and, for instance, hold our breath. It’s a signal that urges us to stay alive because if we don’t take the next breath, it could mean the end of our life. When faced with numerous problems, yoga offers specific breathing techniques that involve controlled breath-holding. This triggers a natural response in the body to take a breath, which is vital for survival and brings about the disappearance of your problems. Through a series of exercises using this breathing technique, you not only enhance your physical strength but also cultivate inner resilience. So, your problems fade away, and you attain a state of peace and positivity. These purposeful practices aim to keep you in a positive state, preserving your life and nurturing your well-being.
You’ve worked with Val Coleman on several projects now. What sets your collaborations with him apart from other producers you’ve worked with in the past?
Valery and I have been collaborating for a long time, and I truly admire his talent for composing music. He has the ability to create diverse styles of music, which is why our partnership thrives. If he only focused on one style, I doubt we would work together. Whenever I have a specific request or vision, he instantly grasps it. He’s a true professional who never resists but strives to achieve the desired result, showcasing his expertise and artistic flair. He’s not limited to any particular style; his versatility shines through. It becomes a collaborative effort where both of our strengths complement each other. While we each have our individual abilities, we always find common ground and, hopefully, produce outstanding outcomes. It’s important to emphasize that I have confidence in our work, but I also value the opinions and appreciation of others. This belief is deeply ingrained in me, and I hope it resonates with others as well.
Listen to “Shake” below:
Watch the music video here: