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Ayra Starr, the newest signing to Mavin Records,  Africa’s No.1 record label has released her self-titled debut EP. A spectacular and assured debut from an international star in the making, ready to hit the ground running. Through the magnetic and enthralling five-track project, Ayra effortlessly showcases her soulful vocals and diverse musical influences, sonically running the gamut of Afro-pop, R&B, trap and alté.

The EP’s lead single and opening track ‘Away’ is a mid-tempo and rhythmic number re-defining the standard break-up song. Channelling and reclaiming Ayra’s pain and experience as one of power and strength.

Speaking on the track, Ayra said: “I freestyled half of ‘Away’ at a time I was feeling down. It was like therapy. Singing the song out loud was like freeing myself from my burden. ‘Away’ is not just a heartbreak song, it’s a song that empowers you to stand up to that thing or person that is causing you sadness.”

Directed by Kewa Oni and Seun Opabisi, the accompanying visual brings to life the song’s resilient spirit. A vivid and surrealist landscape sets the scene where Ayra takes on the role of a virtuous heroine. Re-imagining the imagery of Joan of Arc and the Dahomey Amazons as she and her army of dancers perform a count of smooth, fluid and sharp choreography recalling R&B icons like Aaliyah and Ciara.

Born and raised between Lagos and Cotonou, music has always been the centre of this teen star’s universe. Raised on a musical diet of 2Face, Angelique Kidjo, Shakira, Tope Alabi, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Sia, Ayra grew up singing and writing songs with her younger brother. She had started working in the beauty industry by the age of 14, regularly modelling for several make-up brands in West Africa. It was here that her interest in fashion took shape and her personal style began to evolve, inspired by profiles she would find in Teen Vogue and The Native Mag.

After posting a series of covers on Instagram, Ayra was discovered by acclaimed record executive/producer Don Jazzy and was subsequently signed to Mavin Records. Having spearheaded the careers of luminaries Wande Coal, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage and Rema, Don Jazzy and Mavin Records are set to launch Ayra as West Africa’s first female global teen superstar.

Speaking on why 18-year old Ayra is tipped to continue their winning streak, Don Jazzy, Mavin Records President says – “I didn’t need to see more than one Instagram video to know that Ayra is a star. I’m super excited for the world to hear her! With my experience in the business, I am certain she is going to be a global superstar geared up for the long run.”

Tega Oghenejobo, Chief Operating Officer at Mavin Records echoed a similar sentiment saying – “Ayra Starr is a unique talent with cross-genre appeal and unlimited musical potential that will connect with listeners globally. She represents Mavin’s continuous commitment to giving young talents out of Africa the platform to develop their talents and unlock their potential.”

Ayra is a representative of the young Nigerian Gen Z generation on the ground and across the diaspora absorbing media and culture from an array of sources. A crop of youth who at once can enjoy the sounds of Burna Boy and Sarz but be enamoured with British television shows like Peaky Blinders and South Korean dramas like Crash Landing On You.

This kaleidoscope of influences continues to inform Ayra’s global approach as an entertainer, as she begins to carve out an international and multi-faceted career. Ayra is most excited to share her music and connect with people from all cultures, especially young girls finding themselves, united by angst and emojis.

  1. Away
  2. Ija
  3. DITR
  4. Sare
  5. Memories

Lastly, stay up to date with all you need to know about African music at SOA, right here.

LISTEN: ‘Ayra Starr’ EP