Ayra Starr: I want To Inspire Young Girls and Africans In General, To Know They Can Achieve Anything

Ayra Starr: I want To Inspire Young Girls and Africans In General, To Know They Can Achieve Anything

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Nigerian Afrobeats star and grammy nominee, Ayra Starr, has said that she aims to inspire Africans, especially young teenage girls, to be aware of the fact that they can achieve whatever it is that they put their mind to, both within and outside of the music industry.

Born Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, she spoke on a special Christmas Day edition of The Morning Show on ARISE NEWS, sharing her background and the push that led her to enter the music industry, and the inspiration that kept her in the industry despite mounting pressures.

Sharing her reactions on her massive recognition with her recent Grammy nomination, which made her the youngest Nigerian female to be nominated for a Grammy, Ayra said, “I was in Germany, I think, I was on tour. And I remember somebody posted like an hour before the nominations came out like, Grammy nominations is out. I was just like, God, just give me this one. If you just give me this one, my body will just come down, I will know I have done something this year. And I just left my phone.

 “Then I started seeing texts from people like, congratulations! My mum messaged me, my friends, people that were nominated also, they were like, Ayra, did you see you were nominated too? It was the most exciting thing, I was so happy.”

She then expressed how much she will love to win the award, saying, “It will mean everything to me. Like I said, there’s nobody that has ever done anything like that coming from my home. I’m the youngest, I’m a girl, you don’t see it. This is a new world now, People are going to, 13-year-old girls, 12-year-old girls are going to watch it. They’re going to see me win, they’re going to be inspired, they’re going to know that they can do anything. So, it means the most to me that I can inspire girls, I can inspire Africans in general to just get up and be like, if Ayra can do it, I can do it.”

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Reflecting on her journey into the world of music, which began at a young age, Ayra said, “I used to post covers online. Then, after university, I literally just finished university. I finished university very young, so I already knew that I had time to do a lot of things. So I was like, okay, I’m going to post covers online, I’m going to go into fashion. Then, I posted a cover online, I think like, ending of 2020. I was so unsure of that cover, I was like, I’m not going to post it, I don’t like my hair, I don’t like the way I look, I was overthinking., but my mum and my aunty were like, just post it. And three hours after I posted that video, I saw a message from Don Jazzy. He was like, come to the studio, I want to see you, I was like, okay. I went with my brother, we took our bags, we still used to carry our bag packs,” she laughingly said. 

“My mother gave us food inside plates, water bottles, everything. We went to Don Jazzy’s studio and he was like, I want to sign you, and I was like, yeah. So, I’m here now.”

She continued to share her background, saying, “When I was younger, there was nobody my age that was doing this, there was no teenage popstar. I had to watch Disney to see somebody my age, there was no black girl doing this, and I was like, I want to be this, I want to be a black popstar from Africa, I want younger girls to be so inspired by me, I’m going to be so undeniably proud of my culture and put it in my music. In ‘Sability’ music video, I had a scene where I was wearing a gele with my mini skirt, and it was just like, I’m just trying to show that even though I’m African, 

“I’m still Gen Z, but at the same time, we can mix it together, like why not, I’m proud of being African and I’m proud of being a Yoruba girl.”

Speaking on her diversity in musical genres in her songs, Ayra noted, “Definitely I make Afrobeats music. Proudly 100%, I make Afrobeats music. I also do different types of genres, I also do R&B. People do say Afro R&B because I’m an Afrobeats artiste and I accept it, but, I’m an Afrobeats artiste, I make Afrobeats music. Sometimes I do R&B, sometimes I do Pop here and there, but Afrobeats all the way.”

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She then shared her inspiration behind the now household name ‘Ayra Starr,’ as she explained “There’s this Yoruba name called Ira, but I wanted people to pronounce it as Ayra, and the only way they can pronounce it is if I spell it A-Y-R-A. So, I was thinking about it and something just told me to google A-Y-R-A, and when I googled it, everything just came together. The meaning of the name, it was just, it felt like God was speaking to me. I was like, this is perfect. And Starr was Don Jazzy’s idea.”

The Afrobeats star then revealed how she dealt with pressures in the industry as she said, “I got here being authentically myself. I got here so far being myself. So, anytime I start to feel some type of pressure, or feel like imposter, or just any type of pressure, I’m just like no, I got here being myself, I’m going to continue being myself, and wherever that takes me, that’s where it takes me. And that gives me peace in everything I do, just being myself.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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