Ayra Starr
Ayra Starr (Picture: Ubetoo)

Apple Music today announces the latest artist in its Africa Rising artist development program as 18-year-old Nigerian singer, Ayra Starr (real name Onyinkansola Aderibigbe).

“I am excited to be an Apple Music Africa Rising artist! Thank you to everyone streaming and embracing my music, and thank you Apple Music for the opportunity and support!” the singer excitedly commented.

With a music career wholeheartedly encouraged and supported by her family, Ayra began building a fanbase by posting covers of songs on her social media platforms. But it was her original track “Damage” posted in December 2019, which attracted the attention of Don Jazzy, head of the iconic Nigerian record label, Mavin Records, who was quick to snap her up and bring her into his artist fold.

“Ayra Starr is a unique and versatile artist with a powerful vocal range that touches the soul. She is a global superstar in the making and the sound of the future. I’m excited to see her grow and how her sound is being accepted. Thank you, Apple Music, for giving her the opportunity to be on the cover for Africa Rising and for all your support!” – Don Jazzy, founder and CEO of Mavin Records. 

Mavin Record CEO Don Jazzy & 'Away' singer Ayra Starr (Picture: BBC News)
Mavin Record CEO Don Jazzy & ‘Away’ singer Ayra Starr (Picture: BBC News)

Ayra then spent a year meticulously recording music culminating in the release of her debut, self-titled EP Ayra Starr. With the success of its lead single “Away”, Ayra transforms heartache into strength.

Synthesizing multiple sounds by merging electric guitar riffs and subtle percussion, Starr showcases her ability as a vocal and songwriting force blending Afro-Pop, Afrobeats and R&B on her EP.

Ayra Starr's EP artwork
Ayra Starr’s EP artwork (Picture: Twitter)

At the forefront of Nigeria’s next wave of artists, Ayra Starr has become the poster girl for Gen Z artists who are a product of globalization, absorbing media and culture from multiple sources to create music that is wholly unique and speaks to an audience that are united by angst and emojis.

The latest music from Ayra Starr, along with the next generation of African superstars is available now on the Apple Music Africa Rising Playlist.

Apple Music’s Africa Rising, is an exclusive artist development programme and companion playlist geared towards identifying, showcasing and elevating rising talent and introducing the next generation of African superstars. Africa Rising cover star alumni to date have include: Omah Lay, Manu Worldstar, Tems and Amaarae. Africa Rising sees Apple Music select six artists every year who each receive a minimum of two months of editorial support across the Apple Music platform including a launch interview with Nadeska on Apple Music 1. Nadeska has also launched a new weekly Africa Rising feature on her show highlighting the hottest new artists on the continent

Africa Rising is the latest of many Apple Music initiatives aimed at taking African talent to the world. Now available in 33 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, Apple Music 1 is home to Africa Now Radio with host Cuppy which has featured interviews with some of the continent’s hottest artists such as Davido, Nasty C, Tiwa Savage, Black Coffee, Omah Lay, Mr Eazi, Yemi Alade, Wizkid, Fireboy DML, Joeboy, Olamide, Cassper Nyovest, Patoranking, Rayvanny, Mayorkun, Adekunle Gold and Master KG.

Apple Music also selected Nigerian Afropop star Rema as its Up Next artist in 2020, following the addition of Burna Boy to the roster in 2019 and Mr Eazi back in 2017. Up Next is Apple Music’s global emerging artist program.

For a limited time, new customers to Apple Music on iOS and Android can enjoy all of this great content with 6 months of free Apple Music through the Shazam app. Returning customers get 3 months of free Apple Music.

With Ayra Starr this year getting signed to Mavin Records ; a label founded by Nigerian music producer and recording artist, Don Jazzy on May 8, 2012, she joined the roaster of the many artists to which label is credited for their successful careers including  some of Nigeria’s biggest Afro Beats artists: Tiwa Savage, Reekado Banks, Rema, Korede Bello, DNA, Crayon, Johnny Drille, Ladipoe, DJ Big N, D’ija, D’Prince, Dr Sid and Iyanya. The18 year old Benin born star dropped a 5track EP this January named after herself.  Take a listen to ‘Away’ a fan favorite off the project.