The Feminist Soul of Ayelle

It’s not everyday you get to exchange words with a Swedish/Iranian singer who was heavily influenced by the R&B and soul she came across growing up. It happens though and I was glad to come across the insanely talented Ayelle. Right now she’s got a new single out with Lylo, and next year she’ll have a music video out and a about, a new EP and a couple of other things. She says those other things aren’t set in stone but I’m sure they’ll come through. While we wait on all she has to give in 2017, let’s get to know more about Ayelle in the here and now as she talks about feminism, her heritage and more…

Kendra: You may be the first Swedish/Iranian singer I’ve gotten the chance to talk to. Do you put a lot of your heritage into your music?

Ayelle: I wouldn’t say that I incorporate it deliberately, I think it’s probably more a case of my heritage influencing my music rather than the other way around. I grew up listening to a mixture of R&B and Soul, Swedish pop and Iranian music, and that’s definitely had an impact on the type of music I write.

Kendra: You’re quite the feminist. Is that a spirit you’ve had since you were younger?

Ayelle: Yeah I’d say it definitely is. I read a book about feminism when I was about 12 and had a massive awakening, I haven’t been able to shut up about it ever since.

Kendra: R&B will always be one of the most sincere of the genres, but there was something so special about R&B that came out of the ’90s. Would you agree that was one of the best eras for the genre in terms of influence?

Ayelle: Without a doubt. There’s something magical about ’90s R&B music and I keep waiting for it to make a comeback. I always go back to those songs, so they’re a constant influence as well.

Kendra: Let’s talk about your music now. “Reclaim” is all about living in the shadow of a man and working to step out of it. Did that stem from a personal time in your life, or looking onto another’s experience?

Ayelle: As with most of my songs, ‘Reclaim’ stemmed from a personal experience, or rather several personal experiences. But I also know that it’s an experience I share with a lot of other women who’ve found themselves putting a man’s needs ahead of their own in relationships.

Kendra: When your Machine EP was all said and done, what three words came to mind?

Ayelle: If I had to pick three it’d probably be something like confrontation, honesty and relief.

Kendra: Will you be playing any shows to close out this year?

Ayelle: No unfortunately not, my last gig of the year was earlier this month at The Roundhouse. I’ve started writing a new EP and I’ve also got a few more projects happening before that, which I’m focusing on at the moment.

Kendra: Let’s get back to that feminism spirit. With that, if you had to make a mixtape featuring five of female empowerment anthems, what five songs would you put on there?

Banks – “Weaker Girl
Solange – “Don’t Touch My Hair
Lion Babe – “Treat Me Like Fire
Leon – “Tired of Talking
Lianne La Havas – “Unstoppable


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