Ayra Starr: Music’s Rising Star

Early Life

Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe was born on 14 June 2002 in Cotonou, and was raised in both Cotonou and Lagos, Nigeria. She belongs to the Yoruba ethnicity and holds Nigerian nationality. Her family relocated frequently during her high school years due to her father’s business, which posed challenges in forming friendships.

Coming from a music-loving family, Ayra Starr’s passion for singing stemmed largely from her upbringing. By the age of 10, she actively participated in music activities. This included singing in a high school choir and collaborating on songwriting with her brother. She found inspiration in artists like Nicki Minaj, whose music empowered her during challenging times. Throughout her journey, Starr’s mother consistently supported her musical aspirations, urging her to pursue a career in singing.

Career Beginnings: Modeling to Music

In August 2018, Ayra Starr signed a contract with Quove Models, a modeling agency based in Lagos. Transitioning to music, she began sharing covers of songs by artists like Andra Day and 2Face Idibia online in 2019. Her original song “Damage,” uploaded on her Instagram page in December 2019, caught the attention of label executive Don Jazzy. This ultimately led to her signing with Mavin Records.

Debut Releases: Introduction to the Music Scene

Moving into 2020, Ayra Starr commenced recording at Mavin Studios in Lagos alongside producers Louddaaa and Don Jazzy. She released her self-titled debut extended play (EP) on 22 January 2021. The EP’s standout track, “Away,” achieved significant success, reaching number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50. “AWAY” also reached number 17 on the US Billboard Top Triller Global chart. Following this, Ayra Starr released remix versions of “Ija” and “Away,” featuring Tokimonsta and Lilo respectively. In June 2021, she dropped the music video for the song “Sare,” directed by Afolabi Olalekan.

19 & Dangerous Era: Establishing a Musical Identity

Launching her debut studio album, “19 & Dangerous”, Ayra Starr collaborated with producers Louddaaa, Don Jazzy, London, and Andre Vibez. This album showcased her versatility in Afropop and R&B genres. The lead single, “Bloody Samaritan,” soared to the top of the TurnTable Top 50, marking her first solo number-one single on the chart. Alongside her music career milestones, Ayra Starr expanded her presence by performing for the season finale of Nigerian Idol and securing a brand ambassadorship with Pepsi Nigeria. Additionally, she collaborated with Cheque on “Dangerous,” featured on Wizkid’s track “2 Sugar,” and had her music featured in the movie “Creed III.”

Ayra Starr A Rising Star

Exploring Ayra Starr’s Artistry

Crafting a Unique Sound

Ayra Starr crafts a unique musical style that traverses the realms of Afropop and R&B, characterized by her silky yet sturdy voice. Critics have lauded her vocal delivery as soulful and arresting, with a dynamic range that captivates listeners. Her lyrics, often a fusion of English, Nigerian Pidgin English, and Yoruba, delve into contemporary themes like love, relationships, empowerment, and freedom.

Comparisons and Compliments

Upon the release of her debut EP, some critics drew comparisons between Ayra Starr and fellow musician Tems, particularly in vocal technique. However, Starr embraces these comparisons, viewing them as compliments to her burgeoning career. While acknowledging similarities, she asserts her unique identity as an artist. Critics note distinctions between the two, with Tems leaning more towards alternative sounds while Starr embodies a more Nigerian, Afropop essence with a soulful flair.

Evolution and Exploration

Ayra Starr continues to evolve artistically with her debut studio album, “19 & Dangerous.” Critics commend her ability to seamlessly traverse genres, incorporating influences from neo-soul, jazz, and EDM while maintaining her Afropop-R&B roots. This evolution solidifies her position as a standout vocalist and showcases her artistic versatility, setting her apart in the music industry.

Ayra Starr: The Next Big Thing

Ayra Starr’s Influences

Family Roots and Early Beginnings

Ayra Starr’s musical journey took shape under the influence of her musically inclined family. Inspired by her mother, a former singer, and her brother Dami, a guitarist and songwriter, Starr discovered her passion for music at a young age. Guided by her family, she and her brother began writing songs, laying the foundation for her future career. Despite her early aspirations, Starr’s father emphasized the importance of education before pursuing music professionally.

Cultural and Musical Diversity

Growing up between Bénin and Nigeria exposed Starr to diverse cultures that shaped her perspective on life and her artistic identity. Throughout her childhood, she drew inspiration from a wide range of musical influences, including 2Face Idibia, Wande Coal, Angélique Kidjo, Lijadu Sisters, and Tope Alabi. Her college years introduced her to international artists like Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Sia, and Tiwa Savage, enriching her musical palette.

Vocal Icons and Inspirations

Starr credits vocal powerhouses like Shakira, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus as her biggest influences, admiring their ability to convey emotion and power through their music. She also finds lyrical inspiration in artists like Aṣa, appreciating their ability to craft meaningful and poignant songs. Their influence serves as a guiding light in Starr’s artistic journey, shaping her vocal style and lyrical prowess.

Other Ventures

Apart from her music career, Ayra Starr has ventured into various endeavors. In September 2021, she secured a brand ambassadorship with Pepsi Nigeria, further expanding her presence in the entertainment industry. Additionally, she has been featured in publications such as Accelerate TV’s The Cover, ODDA magazine’s Fall/Winter 2021 issue, and a Notion editorial in 2021.

Ayra Starr: A Star

Ayra Starr’s Awards and Nominations

Ayra Starr has earned recognition for her talent and contributions to the music industry. Let’s delve into her achievements:

2021

  • African Entertainment Awards USA nominated her for Best New Artist.
  • She received a nomination for Best Newcomer at the African Muzik Magazine Awards.
  • The Mobo Awards recognized her with a nomination for Best African Music Act.
  • Net Honours acknowledged her song “Away” with a nomination for Most Played R&B Song.

2022

  • She clinched the Breakout Artist of the Year (Female) title at the Net Honours.
  • Additionally, she was nominated for Most Searched Musician (Female).
  • The Headies nominated her for Next Rated, and her collaboration “Beggie Beggie” ft. CKay received a nod for Best R&B Single.
  • Moreover, her work on “Toxic” earned her nominations for Best Collaboration and Best Vocal Performance (Female).
  • Her single “Bloody Samaritan” garnered nominations for Best Afrobeats Single of the Year and Headies’ Viewer’s Choice.
  • Furthermore, her album “19 & Dangerous” received nominations for Best Afrobeats Album and Album of the Year.

2022

  • She secured a nomination for Best New International Act at the BET Awards.

2023

  • At the BET Awards, she was nominated for Best International Act.

Pending

  • The Future Awards Africa awaits her Prize for Music.

2024

  • Her song “Rush” earned her a nomination for Best African Music Performance at the Grammy Awards.

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