Oyinkansola Aderibigbe, famously known as Ayra Starr, is a global rising star in the music scene. Born in Cotonou, Benin and raised between there and Abuja, Nigeria, Ayra moved frequently due to her father’s work as a traveling businessman. This led to her being bullied in school, but she found solace in listening to Nicki Minaj, which helped her gain confidence and improve her songwriting skills.
Ayra Starr grew up in a musically inclined family. She considers her mother, a former singer and her brother Dami, a guitarist and songwriter as her earliest inspirations for her interest in a music career. Growing up between Bénin and Nigeria, she was exposed to different cultures that influenced her perspective on life and her personality. Ayra Starr and Dami began writing songs from a very young age under the tutelage of their mother and aunt.
She had wanted to make a real career out of singing since age 10 but her father encouraged her to complete her education first. In her interviews for local and international media, she stated that throughout her childhood, she had a wide range of musical influences, including 2Face Idibia, Wande Coal, Angélique Kidjo, Lijadu Sisters and Tope Alabi, and in college, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Sia and Tiwa Savage. She credited 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 those people she would listen to just to learn how to write properly.
After university, Ayra began her career as a model and started posting song covers on Instagram, leading to the release of her original song “Damaged.” Within three hours of the song being uploaded, she was offered a contract at Mavin Records’s Don Jazzy.
“Damaged” was later remastered as “Toxic” for Ayra’s debut EP, which was released in January 2021. The EP’s lead single, “Away,” became a hit in Nigeria and helped Ayra surpass the popularity of major artists like Davido, Wizkid, and Burna Boy on domestic charts.
In July 2021, Ayra released the lead single for her debut album, “19 & Dangerous,” called “Bloody Samaritan.” The song became the first solo song by a female artist to top the TurnTable charts and earned Ayra a nomination as Spotify’s EQUAL Africa Artist of the Month.
In 2022, Ayra collaborated with various artists, including Magixx, Skip Marley, Tiana Major9, and Stalk Ashley, and has toured with Koffee. She also released a deluxe version of “19 & Dangerous” in October, featuring new tracks such as “Rush.” Ayra’s talent and success at such a young age have solidified her as one of the world’s next superstars.
Ayra Starr’s music has been well received by both critics and fans. Her debut EP received praise for its catchy beats, relatable lyrics, and strong vocals. The EP’s lead single, “Away,” was described as a “blend of Afrobeat and R&B” with a “catchy hook” and “emotional lyrics.” In her debut album, “19 & Dangerous,” Ayra expands on her unique sound, blending Afrobeat with elements of pop, R&B, and alternative music.
The album’s lead single, “Bloody Samaritan,” was described as a “dark and edgy” track that showcases Ayra’s vocal range and songwriting skills. In addition to her music, Ayra is also known for her fashion sense and creative visuals. She often collaborates with up-and-coming designers and directs her own music videos.
Ayra has also been recognized for her advocacy for mental health awareness. In an interview, she mentioned that she struggled with depression and anxiety and used music as a way to cope with her struggles. She has encouraged her fans to speak out about their mental health issues and to seek help when needed. Ayra has also used her platform to speak out about social issues, such as gender equality and the importance of education.
Aside from her work in music and film, Ayra is also known for her philanthropic efforts. She has participated in various charitable events and campaigns, including supporting the fight against malaria and raising awareness about the importance of education. In an interview, Ayra mentioned that she is passionate about using her platform to make a positive impact in the world and to inspire others to do the same.
Ayra Starr is a talented and multifaceted artist who has made a big impact in the entertainment industry in a short period of time. With her unique sound, relatable lyrics, and powerful performances, she has solidified herself as one of the rising stars of the African music scene.