Ayo Jay is that guy that’s been in the game for some time, but nobody seemed to have taken notice. However, when everybody finally did take notice, they did it at the same time! He’s like the Naija version of Jeremy Lin during Linsanity, Tim Tebow during his legendary 2011 season, or Fetty Wap when “Trap Queen” debuted. On the topic of Fetty Wap, he was Ayo Jay’s first international feature, appearing on his debut single, “Your Number.” Prior to the feature, the single picked up traction on youtube, soundcloud, and in the clubs, camouflaging as a reggae tune. The song became so popular that another remix was created featuring Chris Brown and Kid Ink.
What makes the RCA Records/One Nation signee’s story so unique is the irony of him being embraced by an American audience and not yet securing the African market, whereas popular Nigerian artists garner an African fanbase first and then dream to achieve acceptance from The States. He is only just getting started and it is highly likely that he is on the path to superstardom. Here are five reasons why Ayo Jay is the most important player in the Nigerian music scene right now.
CONSTANT RADIO PLAY IN MOST USA MARKETS:
Other African artists have not yet penetrated the US market. Ayo Jay’s leap to stardom can be credited to the large reception of his hit, “Your Number,” in the regions of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It has since spread out from that radius. Your Number is in regular rotation on radio, appears on top 10 countdowns, receives regular club spins, etc. Rolling Stone placed Boy Wonder in their category of “10 Artists You Need to Know.”
EARNED BILLBOARD CHARTS SPOT WITHOUT COSIGN:
Ayo Jay’s accolades are well deserved because he reached such heights with no industry endorsements, heavy backing from labels, but solely off of the demand of his song. Your Number strongly debuted at number 24 on the Billboard charts. Although Ayo Jay is Naija and of the afropop genre, American publications market him as a singer. This allows for him to be universal and not pigeonholed as a Nigerian, afropop artist.
DOING URBAN RADIO LIVE SHOWS OFF POPULARITY OF SINGLE:
It is utterly amazing that Ayo Jay is perpetually booked for performances on live urban radio shows because of his popular single. He has yet to release a full length project, but is being booked at the rate of an industry juggernaut. At the 105.1 Powerhouse 2016 Concert, Ayo Jay shared the stage with A-list artists like Desiigner, Young Jeezy, Young M.A, Remy Ma, Usher, Kehlani, Wiz Khalifa, and Bryson Tiller. He was the sole act representing afropop, and even Africa for that matter.
HAS OVER 17 MILLION SPOTIFY STREAMS:
Ayo Jay has not only received standout numbers on the Youtube and Soundcloud music platforms, but Spotify as well. He has amassed an astounding 17 million plus streams in his recent rise to stardom. These numbers are unprecedented for African acts. The only artist with comparable numbers is Wizkid, which was earned with an assist from Drake (One Dance).
SIGNED TO RCA RECORDS DIRECT WITHOUT SONY MUSIC GLOBAL INVOLVEMENT:
The year 2016 has proven to be a great time for young Nigerian talent and Sony Music. In the same year, Davido, Wizkid, and Ayo Jay have all been signed to Sony Music’s subsidiary, RCA Records. However, there is a misconception that all three signed the same deal. The distinction is that both Davido and Wizkid signed under Sony Music Global/RCA, whereas Ayo Jay’s deal is with Sony Music/RCA. Sony Music Global more or less signs international artists they would like to be consumed by an American demographic. Ayo Jay was signed directly by Sony Music, which alludes to their confidence in him being ready to be accepted by the US market.