Biography

Ayra Starr Biography, Achievements, Awards, Controversies, Songs & Net Worth

PublishedOctober 19, 2022 @ 9:39 AM

Ayra Starr Biography, Education, Relationship, Achievements, Awards, Controversies, Songs & Net Worth

Ayra Starr, (born, Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe on 14th June 2002), is a Nigerian singer-songwriter born in Cotonou, Benin Republic, Ayra Starr began a fashion career at age 16 with Quove Model Management before deciding to pursue a career in music. After covering several songs by popular artists on Instagram, she posted her first original song on her page in December 2019. This brought her to the attention of record executive and producer, Don Jazzy and led to her signing to Mavin Records.

In early 2021, Ayra Starr achieved mainstream recognition with her eponymous debut extended play and its hit track “Away” which spent two consecutive weeks at number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 and went to number 17 on US Billboard Top Triller Global, paving the way for the release of her first full-length mixtape “19 & Dangerous” project in August 2021. Categorized mainly as Afropop and RnB. The album has been met with favorable critical reception. It spawned two top forty hits in Nigeria. The lead single “Bloody Samaritan” peaked atop the Top 50 chart, becoming the first solo song by a female artist to reach the number-one position. Ayra Starr debuted on Pandora Predictions chart, and on August 28th 2021, she ranked number two on Billboard’s Next Big Sound.

Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe (a.k.a Ayra Starr) grew up both in Cotonou in Benin Republic and Lagos, Nigeria. She was born to Nigerian parents from Kwara State and has four siblings. Her family moved frequently during her high school years because of her father’s business, and as a result she had a hard time forming close friends.

Having been raised in a music-loving family, her interest in singing comes mostly from her family. At age 10, she sang in a high school choir and began writing songs with her brother. She attended Les Cours Sonou University and received a BA degree in international relations and political science. During her college years, she was often bullied by her classmates because of her age and appearance. To counter the feelings she experienced from being taunted, Ayra Starr turned to music. “I would listen to Nicki Minaj on my way to school, and I’d feel like the second Nicki Minaj.” However, Ayra Starr’s mother was very supportive of her musical ambitions and always encouraged her to pursue a singing career.

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Ayra Starr Musical Career, Life & Achievements

In August 2018, Starr was signed with Quove Models, a modelling agency based in Lagos. From there, she modelled for companies such as Mazelle Studio, Complete Fashion Magazine and Esperanza Woman.

By 2019, she began posting covers of songs by artists like Andra Day and 2Baba online. She chose her stage name because, in her words, “it means woke and eye-opening and that is what I stand for.” She appeared in the music video for Eri Ife’s song “Dear Future Wife.” In December 2019, she uploaded an original song called “Damage” on her Instagram page which was heard by thousands of people including label executive Don Jazzy and led to her first recording contract with Mavin Records.

In 2020, she started recording at Mavin Studios in Lagos with producers Louddaaa and Don Jazzy. Her self-titled debut extended play was released on 22nd January 2021 through Mavin Records. The album has been described as “a topsy-turvy chronicle of love or love-themed situations” and “merges elements of R&B/neo-soul with Afropop percussion.”

Ayra Starr said her intention with the record was to make music that would resonate with both young and old audience. The mixing and mastering of the EP was by Ikon, Louddaaa and Johnny Drille. Ms. Starr wrote one of the songs on the EP alone, and co-wrote the remaining four with her brother Dami. Shortly after its release, the EP became the number-one album on Nigeria iTunes and Apple Music. As of March 2021, it has reached the same position on Apple Music in 4 other countries, racking up over 15 million streams across Spotify, YouTube and Audiomack. The project spawned the hit track “Away” which peaked at number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 and number 17 on US Billboard Top Triller Global. Its accompanying music video also debuted on MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10. OkayAfrica included the song in their list of The 9 Best Nigerian Songs of January 2021. Ayra Starr released remix versions of “Ija” and “Away” featuring Tokimonsta and Lilo respectively between March and April. Around the same time, Crayon’s EP Twelve A.M was released with her vocals on the track “In Sync.” She performed at the UC Berkeley Nigerian Students Association virtual culture show titled “The Olori Awards”. On 28th April 2021, the official music video for her song “DITR” was released on YouTube via Mavin and in June 2021, the music video for another song titled “Sare” was released. Both music videos were directed by Afolabi Olalekan.

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By July of 2021, Ayra Starr performed for the season finale of Nigerian Idol and on 6th August of same year (2021), her debut studio album “19 & Dangerous” was released. For the album, she worked with her previous producers, Louddaaa and Don Jazzy, both of whom contributed production on her EP Ayra Starr, and new collaborators, London and Andre Vibez. The album marked her first time recording alongside guest artists such as Fousheé and CKay. It was met with favorable critical reception with most critics characterizing its sound as primarily Afropop and R&B.

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Ayra Starr was featured on “In The Light”, a track on Johnny Drille’s “Before We Fall Asleep” album and on the 4th of September 2021, she was named brand ambassador for Pepsi Nigeria. The following day, Starr performed during a live eviction episode of Big Brother Naija. She collaborated with Cheque on “Dangerous”, the second track on his album Bravo and was nominated on the 8th African Muzik Magazine Awards for Best Newcomer award.

Ayra Starr Artistry

Although musically different, Ayra Starr’s sound has primarily been categorized as Afropop and R&B. Her voice has been described in the media as “silky”, “cozy”, “delicate”, “sturdy”, “arresting” and “soulful”, with music critics noting the dynamic nature of her range and emotional delivery. Her lyrics are a mixture of English, Pidgin English and Yoruba, often exploring contemporary topics such as love, relationship, empowerment and freedom.

Ayra Starr Musical Influence

In her interviews for local and international media, she stated that throughout her childhood, she had a wide range of musical influences which includes: 2Face Idibia, Wande Coal, Angélique Kidjo, Lijadu Sisters and Tope Alabi, and in college, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Sia and Tiwa Savage. She went ahead to credit Shakira as her biggest influence vocally along with Beyoncé, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus: “It was just the power I would feel listening to their music. We didn’t get a lot of Nigerian female singers singing strongly about things like them, not as we do now.” Lyrically, she admires Aṣa and has said that she “wrote so beautifully (and) was one of one of those people (she) would listen to just to learn how to write properly.”

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