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When Tayo Sound was a kid his parents would take him to church. Part of a big Scottish-Nigerian family, the other kids would mess around, let off steam, but Tayo would be transfixed by the musicians who played as part of the service. Infatuated by music, this need for connection, and a thirst for pure emotion has never really left him – in fact, it’s multiplied.

“Well, my Dad was a pastor,” he reflects. “So there was definitely pressure to behave well! Church taught me a lot about music and it definitely introduced me to playing instruments. It’s a huge influence on my songwriting, for sure.”

Moving towards secular songwriting, he spent his teens in Reading town centre, busking to passers by. His older brother would download songs on his Nokia, leaving Tayo to master them in his room, gradually finding his voice in the process. “I left school after my GCSEs and decided to busk for a living,” he says. “I wanted to try my best to break into music. I used the money I made busking to buy recording equipment, and recorded my first couple of demos.”

“I was always listening to different music, and trying out new sounds. I used to make folk music, but then there was a switch. I realised I didn’t want to make folkie stuff any more, I wanted to make something different. It just kept on evolving.”

Matching soulful vocals to an effervescent pop touch, Tayo Sound lets his indie-folk roots hang out on a series of viral cuts. Drawing from his own experiences, songs like ‘Cold Feet’ have enraptured listeners, with his pure, honest, and unaffected approach marking him out from his peers. “Songs are either emotion-driven in the writing, or they bring out an emotion in you. I think all the best writers are able to do that. It’s definitely something I’m always looking to do.”

With the wind in his wings right now, Tayo is doing his best to keep his feet on the ground, and chasing after what comes naturally to him. “For me, if it was the biggest song in the world, and I hated it… I would regret it!”

In spite of his burgeoning success, Tayo Sound remains that kid at Sunday service, staring in awe at the instruments onstage. “I’ve got to stay true to where I’m at, and go with what feels more natural or genuine. I want to explore things and see where my sound naturally lands as I keep writing.”

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WHAT: Emotionally constructed pop with an independent mindset
WHERE: Reading 3
Songs: ‘Cold Feet’, ‘Someone New’, ‘Gone’

FACT: Tayo Sound’s grandfather was the King of Lagos. “I’m actually a Lagos prince!”

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Words: Robin Murray
Photography: Sophie Mayanne

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