Tag Archives: Witch Prophet

Artist Reflections: Witch Prophet on the Toils and Triumphs of Being an Independent Artist in 2018

witchprophet 2018For our “Artist Reflections” series, we asked artists responsible for some of the year’s best records to discuss a topic that’s been close to their hearts over the last 12 months. In this piece, Canadian vocalist Ayo Leilani—aka Witch Prophet—to discuss the long journey leading up to this year’s emotional debut album, The Golden Octaveher upcoming anniversary plans for 88 Days of Fortune, the Toronto-based collective she co-founded in 2009; the importance of raising up women, queer, and non-binary-identifying artists in her hometown and beyond; and more. Continue reading

The Best Albums of 2018: #40 – 21

best of 2018 40-21Let’s be honest for a second: No one clicks on these lists for the introduction. I don’t blame them! This is usually just the place where some routine throat-clearing goes, before we get to the main event. It’s also the place where I confess to the amount of anxiety involved with putting together a list like this—last year, I said, “Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available.” Guess what? That’s still true in 2018. That said, the albums that made the cut, to us, represent the breadth and scope of the many worlds available to discover on Bandcamp, and feel like the best musical summation of the last 12 months. When we make this list, we’re not only trying to assess the year’s best music, we’re also trying to tell the story of 2018, album by album, song by song. As always, being a part of Bandcamp Daily in 2018 was a true joy; we took a look at Extratone, the world’s fastest musical genre, got familiar with the New Face of Death Metal, and spent time with artists like Yugen Blakrok, Suzanne Ciani, and Kamaal Williams. Once again, the world of music is bigger than any one list can possibly contain, so consider this a starting point on the neverending journey to discovering new sounds, new scenes, and new voices. Alright, that’s enough throat-clearing. Let’s get to the list.

—J. Edward Keyes, Editorial Director

Best of 2018 Schedule:
December 10: #100 – 81
December 11: #80 – 61
December 12: #60 – 41
December 13: #40 – 21
December 14: #20 – 1

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The Best Albums of Spring 2018

Best Of SpringThe last three months have given us an abundance of great records—arguably more than one roundup can possibly include. The 25 albums on this list contain a whole universe of sounds, from pummeling death metal to spaced-out dreampop, from forward-thinking cumbia to desert-blues-meets-dance-music. These are the Best Albums of Spring 2018.

Read last year’s edition of “Best Albums of Spring”
Read Bandcamp’s “Best Albums of Winter 2018

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The Best New Soul on Bandcamp, May 2018


Inset image – Cecily

This month’s soul standouts all tackle the battles we fight internally and externally. From Cecily’s thoughtful Songs of Love and Freedom, Witch Prophet’s insightful The Golden Octave, and Day’s “tell it like it is” stories of heartbreak in October, this small but mighty group are new soul voices that should be on any music fans must-hear list.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Afrofunk, Math Rock, Video Game Music & More

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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As Witch Prophet, Ayo Leilani Has Magical Healing Powers


Witch Prophet by Brianna Roye.

Habesha. Queer. Mother. Witch. Musician. These elements help define Witch Prophet, a singer-songwriter from Toronto, Canada, whose dreamy blend of R&B is equal parts KING and Control era Janet Jackson. Born Ayo Leilani, she says her stage name was gifted to her by a friend and fellow performer because of the spiritual advice she’d offer.

It’s more than just a nickname, though. In the literal sense, Witch Prophet believes herself to be an actual witch, not so much a prophet.

“I like that those two words usually don’t go together,” she says. “It’s like the good and bad, the angel and devil sort of idea. I am definitely a practicing witch in terms of using crystals, visualizing what I want and manifesting things through my desire and focus.”

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A Guide to Black Experimental Music

Signor Benedick the Moor, Ayo Leilani (Witch Prophet), and Otis Jones Music and Movement.

For whatever reason, the term “experimental” is largely reserved for white artists like John Cage, Bjork, Sunn O))) and Brian Eno. But take a broader view and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Afrika Bambaataa, Sun Ra, and Miles Davis were also, loosely speaking, “experimental,” each pushing the limits of their respective sounds. Their legacy is continued today by black musicians like Erykah Badu, Valerie June, Shabazz Palaces, and The Internet, with their unconventional and unexpected takes on soul, hip-hop, blues and gospel, each with their own individual artistic color palettes.

The artists who appear in this list fall under that latter definition of “experimental,” testing the boundaries of each of their chosen genres and then defiantly striding across them.


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