African Music Culture

Ayra Starr, the Nigerian Musical Genius Making Waves Internationally

ayra starr first song
Avatar of Teresa Mwangi
Written by Teresa Mwangi

Nigerian crooner Ayra Starr first song ‘Away’ came with a special blessing many artists in and out of Nigeria never got.

Rarely will an artist’s first song put them on the map. For Ayra though, she defied all the odds and got a seat in Naija’s music industry. Born Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, she hails from Cotonou, Benin in Nigeria but she grew up in Lagos.

Together with her four siblings, they moved about a lot due to the nature of her father’s job. This denied her friends and would calm her loneliness with music while she was in high school. Her interest in singing stems primarily from her family.

The 21-year-old started writing songs with her brother when she was only 10 years old and joined her school choir. Her music never died down even after enrolling at Les Cours Sonou University for a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations.

Ayra Starr first song

Ayra Starr first song. Photo/The Guardian News Nigeria

Young and intelligent, she became an easy target for bullying. Ayra Starr kept to herself whenever she wasn’t in the lecture room and she turned to music as a platform to express herself.  She always listened to Nicki Minaj and her dream was to become as successful as the American rapper.

She is glad her parents supported her ambition and it paid off in leaps and bounds.

Which Song Is Ayra Starr First Song?

‘Away’ is Ayra’s first song which she released in 2021 under Mavin Records owned by Nigerian musical powerhouse Don Jazzy. However her music drive started way back and in 2018, she signed up with Quove Models as a star model in Lagos. She modelled for Esperanza Woman, Mazelle Studio and Complete Fashion Magazine which made her popular.

In 2019, she decided to do cover songs for Instagram followers and she touched a little bit of 2baba and Andra Day.  She then appeared in the music video for Eri Ife’s song “Dear Future Wife” and it inspired her to release her first amateur song ‘Damages’ on her Instagram page.

The love and support she got birthed her stage name ‘Ayra Starr’ which she says that it represents her life as a woman who stands by her dreams. Two years later, Ayra Starr first song ‘Away’ hit the airwaves.

When Did Ayra Starr Sing Her First Song?

While it was her 2022 viral hit ‘Rush’ that thrust her name on an international scale, she recorded and released her debut single ‘Away’ in 2021. She also released her debut EP ‘Ayra Starr’ in 2021 just to introduce herself to the scene.

Who Discovered Ayra Starr?

Mavin Records – formerly MoHits Records – boss Don Jazzy discovered the ‘Bloody Samaritan’ Hitmaker when she was just a teenager. Here is how it happened. She posted an original song called “Damage” after a series of cover songs on her Instagram page in December 2019. Don Jazzy was impressed by her creativity and signed her for a recording deal with his label.

ayra star nigeria singer

Ayra Starr. Photo/notjusok

He worked with her as a producer in 2020 and produced Ayra Starr first song and her debut EP which she named after her stage name. The success she got from this EP kept her through the year and in 2022, she reintroduced herself to the world with ‘Rush’. This song garnered 138 million views and counting on YouTube; it was her most successful yet after ‘Bloody Samaritan’.

How Did Ayra Starr Get Famous?

Mavin Records made her famous in just a year after signing with the label. Ayra Starr first song changed her fortunes and when she released her second most successful song ‘Bloody Samaritan’ she became ‘Celestial Being’ as she often refers to herself. She did a remix of the song with American RnB star Kelly Rowland.

Ideally, she does afro soul music blended with pop where she rides on the good, the bad and the ugly about love and romance. Her song’s beats always have a percussion of some sort which connects beautifully with both old and young music fans.

Gifted with a unique voice, she also has a creative mind which she employs in her songwriting. Her brother Dami is also crucial in her songwriting process as he always jumps in when needed like in her debut EP dubbed ‘Ayra Starr’.

“Away” off Arya Starr first album peaked at number 17 on the US Billboard Top Triller Global. Its music video made its premiere on MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10. Her silk, sturdy and arresting voice defines her 19 & Dangerous discography that represents her evolution in music.

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About the author

Avatar of Teresa Mwangi

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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