Photo courtesy of Columbia Records
Calabasas High School

Ayo & Teo and their journey: Music, fashion and XXXTentacion’s death

The two brothers from Michigan, Ayo and Teo (born Ayleo and Mateo Bowles) started out by uploading videos of them dancing online and within the span of two years, they released a viral song, “Rolex” and moved to Atlanta to pursue their dancing and music career. Within the beginning of their career, they had danced in Usher’s “No Limit” music video, Polo Frost’s “Best Ever” video, performed at the 2016 BET Awards, the Hillary Clinton campaign and more. Now, they have been declared one out of 100 “creative voices we find riveting in fashion and culture” by Vogue.

screen shot 2018 08 12 at 12 29 16 am Ayo & Teo and their journey: Music, fashion and XXXTentacions death
Ayo + Teo on Vogue.com

“We did a lot in a year,” Ayo said. “In 2017, we just took off that year… Everything was pretty fast, but it was a lot of work… We were popping up everywhere we needed to be. We made sure that we’d dance and show everyone that we’re having fun.”

The inspiration for Ayo and Teo’s song, “Rolex” was quickly drawn by the duo’s desire to buy the watches after they were offered some replicas of the iconic brand. When they returned from the mall that day, Ayo and Teo began dabbling with lyrics expressing their feelings about the watches with use of the app, “I am T-Pain” for autotune, which was later added to a melody, taken to the studio and quickly began trending worldwide. Since the success of “Rolex,” the two have released many singles, been touring and have a collected following of over three million on Instagram.

“Coming from Michigan and living in a small environment, a lot of people don’t make it out unless it’s for sports, which still, people barely make it out,” Ayo said. “So where we’re from, people usually stay working regular jobs, but we did and now we’re helping our family out and everything, carrying the bag.”

Ayo and Teo have worked with many of today’s influential artists such as Lil Yachty, Childish Gambino, Chris Brown and more. The brothers also had plans to work with artist, XXXTentacion on their track, “Fallen Angels” before his passing, which has been released as a tribute song. Teo had formed a relationship with XXXTentacion through social media which led to the brothers decision to release a song on behalf of both their fans and XXXTentacion’s fans.

“We dance to his music,” said Ayo. “The emotions through his songs, we made out through our dancing and we heard his fans saying that they didn’t know what to do and that they might kill themselves, and we were like ‘nah, we can’t have that.’ So, we released the track for them to listen to.”

XXXTentacion had made an impact with use of his music, leaving many of his fans with intense feelings as described by Ayo. The boys aimed to allow those who are grieving the loss of a beloved artist with the song, “Fallen Angels.” This is a track many can resonate with. In fact, at the end of the official music video, a message reads, “Condolences to all those that who have lost a loved one. We’re all in this together.”

“He would just always DM me, ‘keep the vibes going’ and he’d just always have a good message no matter what,” said Teo. “It’s like bro stuff.”

Ayo and Teo’s influence with their talent has allowed closure for their listeners on behalf of the artist’s passing, as well as fashion. The two have been trending their masks around the world with what began as people making fun of their dancing-faces.

“When we dance, we make some weird facial expressions. We didn’t really like that,” said Ayo. “I went online and ordered some BAPE masks. Then, I ordered, like, 15 panda and shark masks.”

ayo and teo grammys after party 2017 billboard 1548 Ayo & Teo and their journey: Music, fashion and XXXTentacions death
(Source: Billboard)

Ayo says that fans can expect everything from movies and TV shows to their fashion line. They plan on dropping more singles from a collection of unreleased songs and eventually their first album and EP. By the way, they have since purchased the Rolexes. Ayo’s watch is red-faced, Teo’s is blue and both are dripping in diamonds “so they look better when they dance.” Still, they have stayed as humble as they were during those days when they were just fantasizing about the watches.

“Never give up. Keep on going,” said Ayo. “It’s not overnight. It’s not an overnight success. It’s going to be a lot of time. You’ve just got to keep going.”

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