If there’s one thing about Africans, it’s that we live up to their names. This applies to birth names as well as stage names, as is clearly the case with Nigeria’s next rising talent: Ayra Starr. From grabbing headlines across the globe, to working with some of the most established names in African music, it’s already safe to say that she’s on her way to Starrdom!
The teenage talent first caught the attention of the world on social media where she frequently used to post videos of herself covering some of the popular songs at the time. While many do this as a hobby, little did she know that these videos were about to pave the way for an exciting career for her in Nigeria and beyond.
We caught up with the young singer-songwriter to find out how she has taken to her new-found fame and how she plans on conquering the globe over the coming years, one hit single at a time.
You are one of the hottest properties coming out of Nigeria right now and you’re just 18-years-old! How does that feel?
I still feel like myself! I still feel like my normal self. However, I do feel more confident because of my fans who truly believe in me and my growing brand so that has given me even more self-belief. But otherwise, I like to believe I’m still me!
Where did your love for music come from?
There was no specific event or time in my life. Music has always been in my life from the beginning. I came from a very musical home and music was a way of having fun in our home. In 2019 however my professional journey began in 2019. I used to upload covers of myself singing songs on Instagram and that’s actually how Don Jazzy, my current label boss, discovered me.
I’ve seen a lot of artists doing covers on YouTube, but I didn’t know it could lead to career opportunities!
Yeah we didn’t realise just how far this could go, but one day we noticed something. It was the day when we uploaded an original song instead of a cover (after weeks of uploading covers) and Jazzy saw it two hours later. To this day I have no idea how he saw it but immediately after that he messaged me and wanted to talk and get to know me better.
Don Jazzy has worked with some of the biggest artists in the world! How did it feel to be on his radar at such an early stage in your career?
It was so humbling! I have been preparing for this kind of opportunity my whole life. I’ve been training and honing my skills it was truly a dream come true as soon the opportunity was here I was ready to grab it with both hands.
What’s the difference between being a young, up and coming star (no pun intended!) and then being signed to a label?
There’s a lot more support, that’s the biggest difference. When you are an independent musician just trying to make it, you don’t really get the same support. But when you’re signed you have a label, you have a team, who are all working towards your vision, they are all collaborating to make what you want a reality. When you’re independent, you have to do your best to execute the vision.
You released your debut EP this year, under Mavin Records, how has it been received?
This was my first project since being signed. And the inspiration behind it was really just myself – hence its self titled. The EP is really about coming of age, from teenagehood to slowly becoming an adult. From heartbreak, to friendship, to finding your femininity and your sexuality, it’s all about me and me coming of age. This is an introduction to the world to say this is Ayra Starr.
What’s the advice that you have gained from this entire process that has stuck with you as a potential life lesson?
It’s just patience! Jazzy has always been urging me to be patient because I am still so young and fresh in this industry. You know, I worked on my EP for an entire year and not everyone gets that amount of time to polish up a project. He always urges me to be patient and know that everything will happen in due time.
Can we expect you to tour Africa once Covid is a thing of the past?
I can’t wait! I can’t wait to visit South Africa, I can’t wait to see you in Ghana. I can’t wait for the music festivals, the concerts, everything. It’s going to be great!
Do you have any closing words for all your existing and new fans?
Thank you so much to my fans for streaming the music, I love you so much, watch the music video, keep streaming keep doing everything and I will keep delivering the music!