We had the good fortune of connecting with Ayanna Scroggins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ayanna, how do you think about risk?
I believe in the concept of ‘ high risk, high reward.’ I have spent the majority of my life observing and researching the greats before me, concerning my career path as a musician; and they all have at least one thing in common, risk! When you take risks, at any level, you’re betting on yourself. Before you can expect anyone to invest in you or your vision, you have to be willing to make that same sacrifice. This has certainly played out in my life. Ever since I could remember, I’ve always been drawn to the riskiest situations. There’s intrigue and adventure attached to it, but also a great deal of uncertainity and straight up fear! However, whenever I stand in the midst of a situation where I feel like I can’t take another step towards the life I want, I remember the great Nelson Mandela quote, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” So, regardless of how I feel, or what’s in front of me, I press on. I press on knowing and believing that what I want out of my career, out of my life exists! And if I want it, I have to go after it. If it’s for me, it’s already mine. High risk, high reward.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a Singer-Songwriter, and I say that with pride. Being a creative of any sort isn’t an easy journey. It’s a career path built on intangibles. Taking ideas and visions that don’t exist… yet, and bringing them into fruition. Creatives are miracle workers, magicians, and I’m proud to say that I am one of them. Since I can remember, all I’ve ever wanted to do was sing and perform. The energy and adrenaline behind it is unmatched, and that same passion has followed me into the present day. Like any career in the arts, there are few legitimate spaces (that you don’t create yourself) that can support you fully financially as a singer. My parents reminded me of that often, but only did so out of love and concern. I got it, but I knew my dreams were valid, and I was convinced on making it happen. So, I met them in the middle. I went to college and studied music, from there, I discovered an entire world, outside of mainstream music, where you could gain footing and thrive. I was introduced to the world of ‘corporate’ music. A more formal approach to creating in the musical space. For the past several years, I’ve performed with a group of elite musicians for professional and private events (corporate parties, conventions, festivals, weddings, etc), touring the country and providing the best live entertainment that rivals the world’s greatest pop stars. The connections I made in the corporate band lent itself to more opportunities, like writing and vocal arranging jingles for fortune 500 companies, residencies at world class hotels, and ultimately providing the platform to step into my solo artistry as a mainstream musician. I like to say I took the ‘backdoor’ to becoming a recording artist. The corporate space in music was less saturated, but still viable. I thank God for my unconventional approach. It taught me about the business of music, performing, publishing, touring, all before I stepped on a stage as ‘Ayanna.’ It was artist development, character development. And now, I feel rooted in what I represent and who I am as a creative. What sets me apart is the fact that I am ME, with my background, my experiences, my skill set, my talent. Being yourself isn’t overrated. In fact, it’s pretty much all you need to pave the way towards the success you seek.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The first place I would take them in the metro area, would undoubtedly be Stone Mountain Park. We could climb to the top, and take in the city in all of its glory, truly SEE the city. Then, we’d head down and go straight to Papi’s Cuban and Caribbean restaurant. They literally have THE BEST jerk chicken, so much flavor. Of course we would have to hit all of the city staples, The World of Coca-Cola, CNN, National Center for Human and Civil Rights, and the College Football Hall of Fame. Depending on the time of year, we’re definitely supporting the hometeams (Go Braves, Hawks, Falcons, ATL UTD!) We would have to hit the scene at one of my favorite places to dance, Loca Luna or Eclipse di Luna; live music, Latin food, salsa, oh my! And then we’d have a picnic on the lawn at Piedmont Park, ride bikes on the ATL Beltline and grab gourmet cuisine at Ponce City Market. Literally, I could go on forever, so I’ll stop it here. Lol. Just know, if I’m hosting in my hometown, it’s a guaranteed great time!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shout-out my ‘Surround Sound Band’ family. In these crazy times, everything we’ve known about life and how we choose to live it has been compromised, and yet, we still persist, we still create, we still make art that matters. My band family has been key in allowing me to recognize what I’m worth as an artist and who I’m capable of being. Environment is crucial in recognizing your realities, and Zack and Christal Reynolds, along with my fellow bandmates, continue to pour that environment of love into me, and I into them.
Other: If you’re looking for the best live entertainment for your next event, you can’t miss with @surroundsoundband! For more info, visit https://www.surroundsoundband.com/.
Brittany Williams (Are You An ATLien), Aliyah Abur-Rahman (The Trillest Collective), Aric Thompson (Dream Multimedia Group), Brandon Robinson (Lethal Media Productions).