Photo: Domia Edwards & Caleb Griffin / Press

Ayoni — If You Leave

Los Angeles-based Barbadian singer Ayoni is back with her second single of the year, “If You Leave.” The 22-year-old artist dropped the new track on Friday, supplying fans with an ethereal melody elevated by her signature atmospheric sound. The song begins with a dulcifying choir arrangement and graceful harmonies before picking up a pulsating beat. Ayoni then begins to open up about the degradation of a relationship, singing, “Tell me you need me / Before you leave / Can’t you see / This kills me.”  

Despite the apparent heartache, Ayoni shows signs of realization, acceptance, and self-encouragement by the end of the track. “If you leave me / Don’t look back / Eat your words / And sleep like that,” she belts. “I don’t need you / But I just can’t see / That if you leave me I’ll be free.”

Ayoni, who wrote “If You Leave” at the end of 2018 before co-producing it with Cole Mitchell earlier this year, shared the inspiration behind the song in a press release. “On the surface level, the song reads as an exploration of a failing relationship taking its last breaths,” she said. “The intensity of the beat and the biting honesty in the lyrics reveal my desperation to salvage something I thought I needed.” She also revealed that since penning the track, she’s come to see it as a symbol of “my own rebirth as I take on a lifetime where fear of solitude or failure have no more power over me and my future is limitless.” She added: “‘If You Leave’ has transformed from a breakup song to a breakout record and is the first sound of a new era.”

“If You Leave” is the first of a slate of releases that will be featured on Ayoni’s five-track project, The Vision EP. The forthcoming collection of songs is the follow-up to the singer’s 2019 debut project, Iridescent, as well as her social justice-inspired tracks, “Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth)” and “The Patriots.” Ayoni has yet to reveal the official release date of The Vision EP, but we’ll be waiting for the announcement with bated breath.