From: London, England. LA Opera: composer for the Digital Short Brown Sounds (2021).
Singer, songwriter, cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a rare exception to the rule that classical and alternative r&b music cannot successfully coexist.
Graduating with a first from both Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna was a participant in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and became an Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre. She was a featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors and became the only non-American to win Amateur Night Live at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem.
As a composer, she has been commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Güerzenich Orchester, Ligeti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, the Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company and as an arranger/orchestrator for the London Symphony Orchestra (Hugh Masekela, Belief!) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Urban Classic).
She has released three EPs (‘Truthfully’, ‘Black Panther’ & ‘Ella, Reuben & Ay’) and her debut album ‘Road Runner’ via her own record label (Hill and Gully Records) working with producers Marc Mac (4Hero), James Yarde (Terri Walker, Jamelia, Eric Benet) and featuring artists including pianist Robert Mitchell and rapper Akala. Ayanna has collaborated with several artists including Anoushka Shankar and Nitin Sawhney, extensively toured the UK and several countries in Europe, whilst gaining a MOBO nomination, receiving airplay on stations including BBC Radio 1, 1xtra, 2, 3, 4, 6, BBC London, BBC Manchester, Jazz FM and Scala Radio, TV features on BBC One London News and London Live and producing three commercial music videos via her YouTube channel.
A performer of extraordinary versatility her live shows are intimate journeys that chronicle her experience as a female artist in the 21st century. Because of her musical prowess, mesmerizing vocals, non-compromising lyrics and ability to deftly reinterpret songs on the cello, Ayanna is able to straddle both the classical and urban worlds effortlessly. She is the definition of eclectic soul.
Learn more at AyannaMusic.com.