Ayra Starr

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Mixing confident, empowering lyrics with Afro-pop and silky R&B, Nigerian singer/songwriter Ayra Starr rose to national success with her 2021 debut album, 19 & Dangerous, and its chart-topping hit “Bloody Samaritan.” Signed to Don Jazzy’s influential Mavin Records label, she spent much of the next year collaborating with artists like Ladipoe, Kelly Rowland, and Magixx while issuing solo singles like “Stars” and “Rush.”
A native of the Beninese city of Cotonou, Starr grew up in a musical family and began singing in a local church choir at age ten. Early influences ranged from 2Face Idibia and Angélique Kidjo to Shakira and Nicki Minaj. In 2018, she began modeling for the Quove agency in Lagos, Nigeria, and simultaneously releasing cover songs online. After posting an original song called “Damage,” she was approached by label mogul Don Jazzy, who signed her to his Mavin imprint. A self-titled debut EP appeared in early 2021, introducing fans to Starr’s R&B- and neo-soul-inspired Afro-pop sound and topping digital sales and streaming charts in Nigeria. Like many of her songs, its hit single “Away” was co-written with her brother Dami. In August of that year, Mavin released Starr’s debut full-length, 19 & Dangerous. A loose concept album about a Gen-Z girl coming of age, it combined Afro-pop, R&B, trap, jazz, and alté and yielded the massive hit “Bloody Samaritan,” which hit number one on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 chart, making her the first female solo artist to do so. Along with her own solo tracks “Rush” and “Stars,” Starr spent much of 2022 collaborating with others on songs like ElGrandeToto’s “Comforter,” Skip Marley’s “Jane,” and a “Bloody Samaritan” remix featuring Kelly Rowland. ~ Timothy Monger