Royal: adjective, latin regalis, regis : "One who reaches a high level of superiority among their kind; May refer to animal or plant species that stand out through their size or beauty." (…) And it's undoubtedly for its beauty that Royal does stand out, with a melodic and emotional quality that is difficult to resist. And what Ayo had to offer comes through loud and clear on Royal. Simple melodies that go straight to the heart, a confident tone, a sense of throbbing rhythm. "I sent some new songs and it all came together quite naturally as soon as we started in the studio; it was all very natural and warm." On the production side, we find guitarist Freddy Koella, who you may have seen playing with none other than Bob Dylan, or Willy Deville. And behind the microphone, now fully focused on her voice, is Ayo. And it's a voice she has found, in every sense of the word. Firstly, because at age 39, Ayo has matured. She has lived, she has experienced, stages and studios, happy times as well as sad. The birth of her children brought affirmation of her place in the world, a desire to devote herself entirely to music, as she has understood it since she first began. Royal is both a new beginning and a homecoming, guided by Ayo's instinctive faith. Somewhere between pure folk and soul, Royal is an album that reconnects Ayo, now stronger than ever before, with her audience. It's the one she's been waiting to make for a long time. Us too.