“One of the most poignant voices currently floating about… Ayla Nereo is an otherworldly artist who shares the fruits of her soul.”
— The Huffington Post
“[Ayla’s] relationship with the earth is imprinted in her music… expansive and intriguing.” ~ Billboard
Like the enchanting California forests she calls home, Ayla Nereo’s music is defined by a personal intimacy, revealed in stirring sonic grandeur. Poetic meditations are woven into a fascinating tapestry of song and emotion, full of hypnotic natural rhythms, delicate folk musings, and ethereal, haunting harmonies. In the aftermath of 2020’s unprecedented hibernation, Ayla Nereo emerges an artist reborn with new single “Breath I Breathe”, a poignant ode to the body of nature.
A stunning follow up to 2019’s By the Light of the Dark Moon, “Breath I Breathe” finds Nereo singing of the valleys and movements of the land as the curves of our own bodies. Ayla unfurls an origin story that urges the listener to remember our interconnection, with each step we take. A soaring orchestral arrangement accompanies the sublime, familiar folk vibe, basking in her trademark evocative vocal layers.
As a youngster, Ayla spent endless hours immersed in the wilderness and in books. Galvanized by the wonders of nature and our own innate connection to it, she developed a profound fondness for words and their infinite, eternal possibilities. Homeschooled in the sprawling NorCal foothills, Ayla was painfully shy and avoided singing in front of people for many years. In spite of these fears, Nereo slowly started to share her songs with a small group of friends who lifted her up, and emboldened her craft. Inspired by classical music, ABBA, Enya, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles, she began writing music at a prolific pace, and eventually worked through her nascent stage fright.
Nereo’s performing career first blossomed amid the indie folk boom, taking flight at the dawn of a new century. With little more than an acoustic guitar and her expressive voice, Ayla steadily evolved into a storyteller of the highest order. Her earliest work leaned sparse and minimal; three albums of cherished folk later gave way to a flurry of experimentalism in her sound, both onstage and in the studio. Loop pedals became a key component of her composition process, facilitating the patterns in her mind springing to life.
Over the course of six studio albums, the Northeastern California resident has cultivated her style by bucking industry norms and confidently coloring beyond the lines.The self-produced, full-length album Hollow Bone ushered in a global audience, as Ayla dramatically expanded her sonic palate on a series of groundbreaking records with folktronica duo Wildlight. 2016’s sophomore solo The Code of the Flowers and later By the Light of the Dark Moon furthered her artistic and spiritual trajectories into new musical territory.
Incorporating elements of Celtic melodies, pristine acoustic instrumentation, electronic flourishes, and ancient prose within hip-hop cadences, Nereo possesses an uncanny ability to disarm and crack open the heart. She sings to the depth of our humanness, for the protection of precious wild lands and all living creatures. Her ornate songs splash color across a multi-hued canvas of sound.
Often supported by her live band, Ayla Nereo toured the U.S. extensively in recent years; highlighted by four performances at the hallowed Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, as well as international plays in Europe, Australia, Canada, and Envision Festival in Costa Rica. In 2014, Nereo made headlines on the 33-city, nationwide Permaculture Action Tour with The Polish Ambassador. She’s also shared the stage with a diverse array of artists including Mr. Lif, Rising Appalachia, Trevor Hall, Medicine for the People, Mike Love, and many others.
In addition to music, Ayla Nereo is a filmmaker, dancer, and environmentalist; she has committed herself to bettering the world through her art. She proves to be an activist artist across multiple fronts, partnering with non-profit TreeSisters, an organization that uses concert ticket proceeds to plant trees across the globe. Her song ‘Seeds’ was short-listed for an Oscar nomination (Best Original Song for a Documentary), while ‘Flicker’ was named 2020 Track of the Year in France’s Ziklibrenbib contest.
“Can love itself be expressed in sound? Because if so, this is surely that sound… lyrical mastery that strikes at the heart ”
— Collapse Board