Witch Prophet Seeks Deep Connection on 'The Golden Octave'

Witch Prophet Seeks Deep Connection on 'The Golden Octave'
Photo: Brianna Roye
Witch Prophet, aka Ayo Leilani, says the title of her debut The Golden Octave refers to "a level of sound that penetrates deep into your soul." It's a fitting description for the Toronto-based singer-songwriter's album; Leilani shares bright, multi-faceted songs directly from her soul and into yours.
The Golden Octave took nearly ten years to come together, during which time Leilani struggled to find the confidence to perform and release her music. She eventually overcame her fears through self-work and the support of her partner, DJ and producer Francesca Nocera (Sun Sun).
"It is really a process of digging deep and connecting with myself,  connecting with the songs, and feeling really ready and mature in my thought process of not needing everybody to like my music or to like me — because my music is me," Leilani says.
Featuring collaborations with 2017 Polaris Music Prize winner Lido Pimienta, LAL's Rosina Kazi and the Cliks' Lucas Silveira, The Golden Octave is a summary of Leilani's life and focuses on love and spirituality.
"I'm a very layered person, so there's a lot going on and I feel like there's a lot to talk about," Leilani offers. "If you listen and you even know a little bit about me, you hear the stories in the lyrics."
Leilani lays out her world with ease on the record, using glitchy electronic and house beats, soulful pop, and funkadelic grooves with transfixing results. Often pigeonholed into R&B and hip-hop genre boxes, Leilani hopes that the versatile sounds of The Golden Octave prove how flexible she is as an artist.
"With [The Golden Octave], I chose a bunch of beats that maybe people wouldn't expect me to," says Leilani. "I want to be able to change people's mind and perception of what a black girl can sing about or be about on stage."