Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe (born 14 June 2002) popularly known as Ayra Starr is a Nigerian-born singer, songwriter and model. Born in Cotonou, Ayra Starr began a fashion career at the age of 16 with Quove Model Management before deciding to pursue music. After covering several songs by popular artists on Instagram, she posted her first original song on her page in December 2019. This brought her to the attention of record executive Don Jazzy, and led to her signing to Mavin Records.
In early 2021, Ayra Starr achieved mainstream recognition with her eponymous debut extended play and its hit track “Away” which peaked at number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 and at number 17 on US Billboard Top Triller Global, paving the way for the release of her first full-length studio album, 19 & Dangerous in August 2021. Preceded by the single “Bloody Samaritan”, the album has been met with favorable critical reception. Ayra Starr debuted on Pandora Predictions chart, and on 21 August 2021, she ranked number three on the Billboard Next Big Sound chart. She has sometimes been compared to follow Nigerian singer, Tems.
Early Life and Career
Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe was born on 14 June 2002 in Cotonou, Bénin and grew up there and in Lagos, Nigeria. She was born to Nigerian parents from Kwara and has one sibling, brother Dami Aderibigbe. Her family moved frequently during her high school years because of her father’s business, and as a result, she had a hard time forming close friends.
Having been raised in a music-loving family, her interest in singing comes mostly from her family. At the age of 10, she sang in a high school choir and began writing songs with her brother. She attended Les Cours Sonou University and received a BA degree in international relations and political science. During her college years, she was often bullied by her classmates because of her age and appearance. To counter the feelings she experienced from being taunted, Ayra Starr turned to music. “I would listen to Nicki Minaj on my way to school, and I’d feel like the second Nicki Minaj.” Ayra Starr’s mother was very supportive of her musical ambitions, and always encouraged her to pursue a singing career.
In August 2018, Starr was signed with Quove Models, a modeling agency based in Lagos. From there, she modeled for companies such as Mazelle Studio, Complete Fashion Magazine and Esperanza Woman. In 2019, she began posting covers of songs by artists like Andra Day and 2Face Idibia online. She chose her stage name because, in her words, “it means woke and eye-opening and that’s what I stand for.” She appeared in the music video for Eri Ife’s song “Dear Future Wife.” In December 2019, she uploaded an original song called “Damage” on her Instagram page. This was heard by thousands of people including label executive Don Jazzy and led to her first recording contract with Mavin Records.
In 2020, she started recording at Mavin Studios in Lagos with producers Louddaaa and Don Jazzy. Her self-titled debut extended play was released on 22 January 2021 through Mavin Records. The album has been described as “a topsy-turvy chronicle of love or love-themed situations” and “merges elements of R&B/neo-soul with Afropop percussion.” Ayra Starr said her intention with the record was to make music that would resonate with both young and old listeners. The mixing and mastering of the EP was by Ikon, Louddaaa and Johnny Drille. Starr wrote one of the songs on the EP alone, and co-wrote the remaining four with her brother Dami. Shortly after its release, the EP became the number-one album on Nigeria iTunes and Apple Music. As of March 2021, it has reached the same position on Apple Music in 4 other countries, racking up over 15 million streams across Spotify, YouTube and Audiomack. The project spawned the hit track “Away” which peaked at number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 and number 17 on US Billboard Top Triller Global. Its accompanying music video also debuted on MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10. OkayAfrica included the song in their list of The 9 Best Nigerian Songs of January 2021. Ayra Starr released remix versions of “Ija” and “Away” featuring Tokimonsta and Lilo respectively between March and April. Around the same time, Crayon’s EP Twelve A.M was released with her vocals on the track “In Sync.” She performed at the UC Berkeley Nigerian Students Association virtual culture show titled The Olori Awards. On 28 April 2021, the official music video for her song “DITR” was released on YouTube via Mavin. In June 2021, the music video for another song titled “Sare”, was released. Both music videos were directed by Afolabi Olalekan.
On 11 July 2021, Starr performed for the season finale of Nigerian Idol. During that week, she announced plans to release her debut studio album. On 19 July, she posted the teaser trailer for the new album on social media, revealing the title as 19 & Dangerous and its release date to be 6 August. “Bloody Samaritan” was announced as the first single for 19 & Dangerous. The song premiered on BBC Radio 1Xtra on 28 July 2021.
On the 6th day of August 2021, she finally released her first studio album 19 & Dangerous which housed about 11 tracks in all and featuring artists like Ckay and Fousheé.
About her first album
19 & Dangerous is the debut studio album by Nigerian singer-songwriter Ayra Starr. It was released on 6 August 2021, through Mavin Records and Platoon, less than seven months after the singer’s self-titled debut EP. 19 & Dangerous was a concept album following a Gen Z girl transitioning from adolescence into early adulthood with growing confidence, artistic zeal, sentimentality and empathy. Ayra Starr worked with producers London, Andre Vibez, Louddaaa and Don Jazzy, the latter two of whom also contributed production to her previous record. In addition to reuniting with her preexisting musical partners, she also collaborated with several new writers and artists including Fousheé and CKay.
19 & Dangerous is primarily an Afropop, R&B, trap and alté album that incorporates influences from genres like neo-soul, jazz, and EDM. Lyrically, it revolves around topics associated with love, such as unrequited love, romantic breakup distress, betrayal and heartbreak as well as more personal themes such as self-determination and self-esteem. The album received generally favorable response from both fans and music critics. Its lead single, “Bloody Samaritan”, debuted at number 18 on the TurnTable Top 50 for the week of 10 August, becoming Ayra Starr’s second entry on the chart.
The lead single from 19 & Dangerous, “Bloody Samaritan”, was officially released on 30 July 2021, two days after its premiere on BBC Radio 1Xtra. On 4 August 2021, Ayra Starr unveiled the album’s cover art and tracklist alongside its pre-order. On 6 August, shortly after the album’s release, the title of the sixth track was changed from “Underwater” to “In Between” on physical and digital stores worldwide. Ayra Starr told Vincent Desmond of OkayAfrica that the album is a “message”, adding “I want people to know that I am not scared, I’m prepared, I’m ready for this. I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. The Ayra Starr EP, my first project, was more like an introduction to Ayra, it was a prologue. This album is chapter one.”
19 & Dangerous received generally favorable reviews from music critics. In a review for New Musical Express, Sophie Williams characterized the album as “a collection of uber-confident, and sensational afropop gems”. A writer for Pulse Nigeria, described the album “In a way, ‘19 and Dangerous’ is like the love-child of Adele’s ‘19’ and Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad, underpinned by the fiery, alluringly vain, carefree, consequences-be-damned Gen Z tendencies of ‘Cast,’ the album opener – or manifesto. Interestingly, Rihanna was 19 when that album was released and Ayra Starr is a card-carrying member of Rihanna’s navy”. Rating the album 7.9/10.
Reviewing for Music in Africa, music journalist Oris Aigbokhaevbolo praised Ayra in her word “19 & Dangerous is an impressive collection of songs”, and despite it comparison with her breakthrough single Away, Oris say’s “At 33 minutes and 11 songs, 19 & Dangerous is a different beast from the 4-song EP. It is more expansive and provides Ayra Starr with an opportunity to do more”.
Due to her early career, Ayra Starr is currently single and focusing on her career more. She is not in any relationship currently and is single.
Ayra Starr as of 2021 is also not engage or married and is currently single.
Ayra Starr’s net worth has grown significantly, especially after signing with Marvin Records. She is one of the youngest musician in Nigeria currently. Ayra Starr’s net worth as of 2021 is estimated at around $700, 000 (net worth estimated in 2021).