“She touches the place that is the deepest and clearest in my heart”.
– Stevie Wonder
With the release of her debut CD, “Beautiful Flower”, Ayanna Gregory introduced herself to the world. For this singer, songwriter, and agent of change, music is more than entertainment; it is her mission. And with penetrating depth, Ayanna sings songs that make audiences feel and heal. In a time so needy of real music, Ayanna promises to bring to the world a most beautiful and meaningful brand of Soul Music.
Ayanna is no stranger to the entertainment world. While growing up as the daughter of celebrated Comedian and Human Rights Activist Dick Gregory, she was blessed with the opportunity to interact with such mega talents as Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. But the glamour of the entertainment world isn’t what resonated most with her. Raised with a deep awareness and concern for Human Rights, Ayanna’s musical roots are steeped in the struggle of the “Freedom Movement”. Ayanna knew early on that her gift of song would be her gift to the struggle.
In 1990, Ayanna became recognized as a powerful and progressive voice as a student activist at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Here she was called on to sing at marches, rallies and anti-war demonstrations. From there and for the next decade, Ayanna would become a major voice within the various cultural, political, and spiritual movements in the nation’s capitol. In 1992, Ayanna joined 2000 Black, a “message music” project and went on to record, perform and tour with this group for the next six years. By 1995, Ayanna was gaining recognition as a solo vocalist. As an emerging Soul artist, she began performing locally, nationally and internationally at clubs, theaters, music festivals and political events. In 1999, Ayanna teamed with up-and-coming producer James McKinney to bring forth her first solo project, “Beautiful Flower”, released in May 2003.
Over the past decade, Ayanna has had the privilege of sharing the stage with such icons as Isaac Hayes, Roy Ayers, Ahmad Jamal, Lou Donaldson, Jennifer Holiday, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Maya Angelou, the Last Poets, Donald Byrd, James Moody, Rachelle Ferrell, Bill Cosby, Stevie Wonder, Winnie and Nelson Mandela, and Dick Gregory.
Influenced by Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway and Lauryn Hill, but with a sound all her own, Ayanna embodies Soul music, literally and figuratively. In the traditional sense, her songs celebrate a mixture of Soul genres: R&B, Gospel, Blues, Hip Hop and Spiritual. But more importantly, these songs inspire the human spirit...to grow, to heal, and to live.
Ayanna’s mission continues to take her around the country and across the globe. In addition to her life as a soul singer, she spends much of her time as an educator and motivational speaker, teaching life skills and creative arts to school children and lecturing before diverse audiences. And while pursuing her sophmore album, she is also working on a children’s album as well as a one-woman show. Most recently, Ayanna is celebrating the release of her cd single, “Ballad For My Father: Tribute to Dick Gregory, a song she wrote to pay homage to her dad, a man who has meant so much to so many.
Songstress, writer, dramatist, educator and activist, Ayanna Gregory is etching out her place in the world, a place for a beautiful flower.