Introducing “AZ ONE
Sisters Ayanna and Niambi Rowland have been patiently waiting for their time to shine. For years they have sacrificed and given so much of themselves, since the two formed the singing duo Az One, eight years ago. They coined the name Az One because their voices blend and harmonize as one.
"We have done so much on our own," says Ayanna. "We have to encourage each other to keep pushing. We both work full time jobs, and I'm a mother. “It can be hard but we are ready to soar.”
Ayanna and Niambi are no amateurs to hard work. A principle instilled in them by their supportive parents. Both graduated with bachelors degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale; while running track, holding down jobs, and still receiving honors in their academics.
Singing for the sisters started early in church, in their hometown of Springfield, IL. Their parents made sure they were at choir practice every Saturday morning. What started out as something their parents made them do, turned into what Niambi and Ayanna wanted to do for life.
"Sometimes you don't know why your parents make you do certain things," says Niambi. "But when we were the only females selected by Billboard Magazine to perform at the Disc Makers Music World Series, in 2006, I truly appreciated what our mom and dad did for us!"
It did not stop there for the dynamic duo that year. Az One performed live on Black Entertainment Television's (BET) 106 & Park, Wild out Wednesday Contest. They took first place in the R&B competition. They were than invited back to compete for the All Star title. Az One received close to 300,000 votes, a record for the show.
"It was so exciting to win," says Ayanna. "It felt like a dream. This is what we have been waiting for. We won it for our family, friends and fans."
To keep the momentum going, in 2007, Az One released their freshman album, titled The Jump Off. Niambi and Ayanna wrote, arranged and were the executive producers of the album. They worked with a well rounded blend of talented music producers from Chicago, Springfield, St. Louis, and Europe. The Jump Off was a perfect name for the album because it was the single that landed them on BET. With the ladies on the grind, they sold a couple of thousands out the trunk. They received great reviews on the album, especially on the track, Got Me Thinkin'.
One fan wrote, "I really enjoyed your song Got Me Thinkin' because it hit home for me right now. Especially because I ask myself everyday, how I really feel about the man, who I think and feel is the love of my life."
"Comments like that just make you realize how special music is," says Niambi.
The Jump Off album can still be found online through ITUNES, Rhapsody, Amazon and E music.
After the release of their independent album, Az One has kept busy performing and promoting. They were selected as artist of the week on Clear Channel's NEW website. They opened up for Common, Twista, Cassidy, and Ginuwine. Az One was also honored to sing the National Anthem at NBA Star, Andre Igudola's, celebrity charity event.
With their consistent work ethic; Az One's 2008 single, Eyez On Me, was placed on the Apple Iphone game ThumStruck. The single produced by Lukky Lefty, and written by Niambi and Ayanna Rowland, is a catchy, fun and upbeat R&B track.
"Hot track, good sound, beautiful women... U can't lose,” a fan wrote.
So you ask what's next for Az One?
The sisters are in the studio recording a Christmas album to be released during the 2009 holiday season. The album, titled Christmas With Az One, will be a mixture of R&B, Gospel, Pop, and Rock.
Their schedules are so busy. How do they do it all? They do it because the passion they have for music. Az One is the breath of fresh air the music industry needs. With their humble beginnings, positive spirits, great writing skills, and don't forget those unforgettable voices; Az One is ahead of the pack. With all their hard work and consistency, they are destined to succeed.