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I’m dealing with a major case of wanderlust so news of this project was the perfect fuel for my escapism.

Ayo and Esperanza Spalding are a taking part in Banana Republic’s Spring “City Stories” Campaign, a collection of mini documentaries that combine elements of city life – the music, culture and fashion. Filmed against gorgeous New York City and Brooklyn backdrops, these pieces capture the artists talking about their love for the city and how it influences and inspires their art. They also perform while donned in pieces and accents from the casually chic Banana Republic spring collection


Ayo is a Nigerian-German singer-songwriter who has long been on my radar. I’m glad she’s apart of this campaign because it puts her music back in my mind and hopefully yours as well. She has quite an interesting background and calls both Paris and New York home, which she talks about in her documentary. Her entire first album, Joyful, was recorded live in New York in 2006 in just five days. Her sophomore effort, Gravity at Last, was released last year.


I have been taken with Esperanza Spalding since her live performance last summer at The Roots Picnic. Taking the stage on that on that unreasonably hot day , the super talented little lady with the soaring voice, big fro and even bigger bass was cool as a fan. I love the way she describes her love for New York in all it’s ” conscious fearlessness.” The irony is just today I was contemplating how to move there for a short time. I grew up minutes from the city and even though my grown teen-aged behind experienced more there than I should have, adult Viv needs more.

I’ll experience a taste in May during a weekend trip. Until then, I’ll have to live vicarously through Esperanza and Ayo. How simply beautiful are these two?

These pieces, along with stories from an eclectic group of other artists, will be shown as in flight entertainment on Virgin America. Not taking a flight anytime soon? Head on over to the City Stories website where you can also see the documentaries as well as unplugged performances, streaming audio, and free music downloads.

As always, support these artists and real music.

Ayo photo: Hermosodef