Na'Kia "Ayo Kia" Ricks
Ayo Kia is an American independent artist, born and raised in the music scene of Louisiana. From her early roots in New Orleans to her emergence as a dynamic force in the music industry, Ayo Kia's journey has been marked by a fusion of passion, talent, and unyielding determination.
Early Life and Musical Discovery
Ayo Kia's introduction to the performing arts took shape in her local church, where she showcased her talents in dance, poetry, and singing within the choir. The pivotal moment that would shape her musical destiny occurred when she stumbled upon an instrumental CD belonging to her now brother-in-law, unlocking a new world of possibilities.
Armed with nothing but floral notepads from the dollar store, Ayo Kia began crafting her own musical narratives using the downtime she had between school and church commitments. Despite academic excellence, earning distinctions such as Student of the Year and maintaining perfect attendance for nine consecutive years, her heart gravitated towards music.
High School Stardom and Rap Sensation
Entering high school, Ayo Kia had garnered attention from teachers, students, and principals to earn the moniker "The Next Bill Gates." Simultaneously, she made her mark as a rising female rapper in St. John the Baptist Parish, debuting with a video freestyle on Facebook, following up with the explosive "Big Dreams" in 2009.
Local Rap Scene and Collaborations
Ayo Kia's journey in the music scene continued as she joined local rap groups, leaving an imprint on mixtapes such as "Superbowl Team” with her high school rap group and "The Interruption." In 2012, she released her first published single, "Satisfy Me" ft. Lil One da Ryder, a contagious hit produced by La’Keith and DJ Raj Smoove.
University Triumphs and Brief Tech Detour
While pursuing her education at LSU, Ayo Kia showcased her musical prowess at university events, winning the Cotillion Ballroom Talent Show and earning an invitation to meet Maya Angelou. After graduating in 2015 with a degree in Computer Engineering & Information Systems and Decision Sciences, she briefly shifted her focus to a tech career, placing her music ambitions on temporary hold.
Re-entry into Music and Solo Ventures
Ayo Kia re-entered the music scene in 2017, collaborating with her brother Ric Sincere on the chart-topping project "Beyond Belief." This success inspired her to release her first solo project, "Before I Go," in 2021, featuring hit tracks like "Running," "Satisfy Me," and "Your Eyes."
Children's Book and Graduation Speaker
In December 2022, Ayo Kia expanded the use of her writing skills and self-published her first children's book, "Sparta's Adventure," inspired by her Dalmatian companion, Sparta. Demonstrating her commitment to community engagement, Ayo Kia took the book to local churches, daycares, and schools, reading to enraptured children.
Her community involvement extended to a significant role as a graduation speaker in May 2023. Ayo Kia had the honor of addressing the graduating class at John L. Ory Magnet Elementary alongside her brother, Ric Sincere, who served as the graduation speaker for their high school, East St. John High School. This dual role reflected Ayo Kia's multifaceted talents and her dedication to inspiring the next generation through both music and literature.
EP Release and Independent Pursuits
In 2023, Ayo Kia unveiled her first EP, "Gone," featuring tracks like "Promise" and "Did You Love Me?" The EP, crafted during her time with Frank Taylor's Artist Development Program in Atlanta, Georgia, marked a significant chapter in her artistic evolution. Frank Taylor, renowned as the main scout for America's Got Talent and X-Factor, maintains an illustrious career in the music industry, having collaborated with big names such as Ne-Yo, Tyler Perry, and Monica. Ayo Kia dedicated several months refining her craft under his mentorship.
Influences and Legacy
Drawing inspiration from icons like Beyoncé, Trina, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Kanye West, and DJ Khaled, Ayo Kia has solidified her place in the musical landscape. Her journey is not just a collection of melodies; it's a testament to resilience, ambition, and unbridled creativity, leaving a lasting impact on listeners eager to unravel the next chapter of her musical saga.