Featured, Music

Meet Ayra Starr – The Rise Of Nigeria’s Sabi Girl

Nmesoma Okwudili


February 6, 2024

Let’s embark on Ayra Starr’s exhilarating journey to stardom, the pivotal chapter unfolded in 2021 with the release of her breakout single, “Away.” The song soared to impressive heights, claiming the 17th spot on the prestigious Billboard Top Triller Global Chart and enjoying a two-week reign at number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 charts.

Riding the waves of this success, Ayra unveiled her debut full-length mixtape, “19 and Dangerous,” later that year, a testament to the undeniable buzz surrounding her. Since then, her fame has only continued to blossom, leaving us eagerly anticipating the next  chapter in her meteoric career.

Explore the enthralling story of Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, the Beninese-born phenomenon commonly referred to as Arya Starr. This remarkable singer and songwriter from Nigeria began her musical journey at the age of eleven, inspired by a high school chorus that kindled the flame of her passion. Growing up in a family with a strong interest in music, Ayra’s roots were essential in cultivating her singing ambitions.

The symphony of creation echoed within her family, inspiring Ayra to collaborate with her brother on heartfelt songs, laying the groundwork for her ultimate musical adventure. She took her first steps into the spotlight at the age of sixteen, dipping her toes into the world of fashion design while working for Quove Management. Ayra Starr’s complex journey begins with a rich tapestry of early inspirations and artistic endeavours, foreshadowing the incredible chapters to come.

Ayra’s academic journey unfolded at Les Cours Sonou University, where she pursued her undergraduate studies in political science and international relations. However, her time in college was marked by challenges, as her age and appearance made her a target for frequent bullying by peers. Faced with adversity, Ayra found solace in music, using it as a powerful outlet to cope with the emotional toll of taunting.

When Ayra entered the modelling field, she demonstrated her versatility by appearing in campaigns for recognised brands such as Mazelle Studio, Complete Fashion Magazine, and Esperanza Woman, all directed by Quove Models. In 2019, she took a risk by posting covers of songs previously sung by singers such as 2baba Idibia and Andra Day on various web platforms. Her artistic presence was broadened even more when she appeared in Eri Ife’s music video for “Dear Future Wife”.

Sharing an original song titled ‘Damage’ on Ayra’s Instagram profile in December 2019 marked a turning point in her musical careerr. This post attracted a lot of attention and was noticed by prominent label boss Don Jazzy. Ayra’s first recording contract with Mavin Records resulted from this turning point, which catapulted her from a struggling college student to a promising musician on the verge of a successful career.

In a groundbreaking move, Ayra Starr unveiled her self-titled debut EP in January 2021, a mesmerizing fusion of Afro pop and R&B/neo-soul influences. The EP, featuring collaborative efforts with her brother in songwriting, swiftly ascended to the summit of the Apple Music and iTunes charts in Nigeria. By March 2021, it had amassed over 15 million plays across platforms like Audio Mack, YouTube, and Spotify, solidifying Ayra Starr’s position as a musical force to be reckoned with.

Ayra Starr released her debut studio album, “19 & Dangerous,” on August 6, 2021, marking a pivotal moment in her musical career. The record served as a compelling follow-up to the success of her EP. The album reached new heights on the charts, thanks to the breakthrough tune “Bloody Samaritan,” which made history by being the first solo song by a female artist to achieve the coveted number one place.

Ayra gained even more international recognition after her song “Rush” went viral. The song became popular and peaked at several different countries’ charts, including the UK, Switzerland, and Ireland. This confirmed Ayra Starr’s status as a global force in the music industry.

Beyond her solo projects, Ayra Starr shown her musical versatility by contributing her enchanting vocals to Johnny Drille’s “In the Light,” a memorable track from the album “Before We Fall Asleep.” Through this relationship, her artistic range was expanded and her versatility was demonstrated.

In recognition of her ascent in the industry, Ayra was appointed Pepsi Nigeria brand ambassador on September 4, 2021, adding to her impressive list of accomplishments. Her status as a versatile and significant musician was further solidified the very next day when she delivered a brilliant live performance during a Big Brother Naija eviction broadcast, showcasing her extraordinary talent on a grand scale.

Ayra has gone on to win various awards and nominations such as Best New Artist in African Entertainment Awards 2021, Best Newcomer in the African Muzik Magazine Awards 2021. In 2021 her song “Away” got nominated at the Mobo Awards for Best African Music Act and Most played R&B Song. She also got nominated on the 66th Annual Grammy Awards for the Best African Music Performance.


Ayra Starr Biography, Music Career, Awards and Achievement, Updates  

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