Ayo Solanke is one of the most dynamic and energetic jazz and soul saxophonists to ever appear in the entire African music scene. His unique soulful style together with his creativity and innovation as an artist clearly sets him apart from the rest.
He is a minister in songs, a songwriter and arranger with a background in event management and project coordination with almost two decades of experience under his belt, a man of excellence with an incredible profile and a great personality; undoubtedly one of the best in the continent. He picked up the saxophone for the first time in 1997 during his first year studying Mechanical Engineering at the University Of Lagos, Nigeria and has never stopped since then. He gradually developed into a virtuoso performer; a treasured sensation to music lovers everywhere.
He recently won the RIGA Awards for Best Gospel Instrumentalist of the Year - Johannesburg South Africa April 2016. He also appeared on a live DVD with the legendary Kirk Whalum (USA) on Gospel According to Jazz Chapter IV which was released in 2015. Ayo has recorded two albums with his band "Spectrum 4 Jazz Ensemble" and also released his Debut Album "THE JOURNEY STILL" in July 2015. He has become one of the most sought after performers both on stage and in the studios.
Ayo has recorded with the likes of Kirk Whalum, Hugh Masekela, Zahara, Judith Sephuma, Pastor Benjamin Dube, Afrotraction, Jimmy Dludlu, Ringo Madlingozi, Danny K, Ernie Smith, Pops Mohammed, Don Laka, Nathaniel Bassey, Cobhams, Kunle Ayo and Agboola Shadare just to mention a few. Others include, Mimi Mtetwa, Theo Kgosinkwe, Sabelo Mthembu, Asa (Nig) and Onyeka Onwenu (Nig) just to mention a few.
He has performed before notable personalities such as Oprah Winfrey, President Bill Clinton Of USA, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria. Ayo specializes in live entertainment for Concerts, Corporate and Private Functions.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS AWARDS
• Won the RIGA Awards for Best Gospel Instrumentalist of the Year
Johannesburg South Africa April 2016
• Tribute To Luther Vadross with Timothy Moloi at The Joburg Theatre 2016
• Tribute To Luther Vadross with Timothy Moloi at The Lyrics Theatre 2015
• UK Tour with Don Laka - 2015
• One Night in Africa Concert - Carnival City - 2011
• Fashion Meets Gospel 2014 & 2015
• AFROTRACTION sing ALONG EVENING at Soweto Theatre
• Commonwealth head of government meeting (CHOGM) Gala - Abuja, Nigeria
• UNITED TOUR with Nqubeko and Ntokozo Mbatha
• Lagbaja's Motherland - Lagos, Nigeria - 06
• Most beautiful Girl and Miss Commonwealth Beauty pageant - Lagos, Nigeria
• BMW-3-Series official Launching in South Africa - Protea Hotel Pretoria
• UK TOUR with Don Laka
• Horizon Launch in Dubai UAE
• South Africa Heritage Festival in Figi Island with Mimi Mthethwa
• Victor Kgomotswana Charity Dinner
WHERE PROFESSION AND PASSION INTEGRATE
Apart from his love for his professional music career, Ayo is also an entrepreneur and a visionary with a strong passion for helping and enabling people, especially youth and children, to discover and unlock the greatness within them. His idea is to use the platforms and opportunities created through his musical performances to embark on dynamic motivational public speaking. He is currently involved in a schools tour speaking to learners in Soweto, South Africa as a part of the Gauteng Department Of Education Central District FQE (Faith For Quality Education) project with the aim of bringing positive transformation to the mindset and mentality of the learners especially from the less-privileged communities.
He has recently collaborated with "Uplifted Life" which is a Faith Based Organisation in Johannesburg, South Africa and together, they have been working in collaboration with the Gauteng Department Of Education Central District in the recently implemented FQE project. The FQE program involves talks, seminars, teaching and the use of other similar mediums in the schools to provide support, guidance, counselling and motivation for the learners with the aim of addressing and solving the issues arising in the schools. This has been a dream come true for him; especially considering the fact that the paradigm-shift in the mindset's of our children will move our communities from a position of weakness, gloom and destruction into a position of power and strength, and also provide our nation and continent with the human and intellectual resources it needs to advance and compete in the global economy. It will hopefully produce motivated, competent and intelligent industry leaders in the areas of economic sustainability and commerce thereby fostering Africa's growth and advancement in the 21st century and beyond.
Ayo could be said to be one of the prominent rising stars in Africa, with an excellent track record dating back to his days in his home country, Nigeria. He was one of the Directors of Pure Magic Entertainment Foundation; a non-profit organization which supports and promotes Nigerian youth talented in the areas of music and fine art.
He also served as the Band leader for "Steve Rhodes Orchestra" and an award winning Band called "Spectrum 4 Jazz ensemble" Ayo, as he is affectionately called, is an inspiration to many young people home and abroad and has himself been influenced by some of the world's most renowned artists and performers such as; Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, Eddie Okonta, Osita Osadebe, King Sunny Ade, Kenny G, Fela Kuti, Charlie Parker, Bob Marley, Sonny Rollins, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Bob Mintzer and several others. However, Ayo is also an entrepreneur and a visionary with a strong passion for helping people; especially youth and children, to discover and unlock the greatness within them through public speaking.
He has been influenced by some of the world's greatest motivators, speakers and leaders such as Les Brown, Jim Rohn, John Maxwell, Earl Nightingale, Robert Kiyosaki, Richard Branson, Pastor Adeboye, Rev Sam Adeyemi, Dr Myles Munroe, TD Jakes, Pastor Poju Oyemade, and Pastor Paul Adefarasin amongst other. In a career spanning almost two decades, Ayo has a sound that is exceptional; it is a sound that touches the mind and reaches deeply into the soul, always leaving his listeners and followers yearning for more. Simply speaking, Ayo is the new sound and pride of the African contemporary artists.