Interview

Ayra Starr Is Ready For This

We spend an afternoon with the Nigerian teen star in Lagos and find out everything about her debut album, 19 & Dangerous.

It's late on a Sunday afternoon in July when my Uber drives onto the street where Mavin Records headquarters are located on Lagos Island. I check my phone once again to confirm the address, but when I pull up to the studio, there is no way this could be mistaken for anything other than the home of one of Nigeria's biggest music labels.

I also check my messages to confirm that we don't have to move my interview with Ayra Starr again. We have already done that several times, however, it's neither Ayra nor her management's fault — that's just life when you're a rising superstar. In the last few days, she has hopped on several flights, had multiple recording sessions and, when she and I had last checked in, had been wrapped up in the immigration office where she'd been trying to get her international passport renewed.

When Ayra Starr and I finally meet, she is wearing a Billie Eilish beanie, sweatshirt, cargo pants and white kicks as she props back on a chair. She doesn't have any makeup on. Ayra tells me excitedly that she's a fan of the singer and the conversation turns to Billie Eilish, then to zodiac symbols as the young Nigerian star tells me she's a Gemini.

We're seated in the sitting area of Mavin's studio and Ayra is getting ready to record more, even though her album is ready. She's here often, she tells me, always recording and fixing already recorded material. Even when she isn't here, she's writing and thinking of new music.

"Sometimes, I'm on a bus, or at least when I used to still enter buses, and I'll just have inspiration and start writing or singing." Ayra Starr tells OkayAfrica. "I still do that today."

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We talk to the rising Nigerian star about growing up between Cotonou & Lagos, meeting Don Jazzy and how she made her explosive debut EP.