From the second it starts to the second it ends Ayra Starr’s music is impossible to ignore. The Benin Republic born 19 year old grabs you by the hand as she pulls you into her multifaceted soundscape that explores the mix of cultures she experienced during her youth which has lead to her now globally influenced sound. She takes the raw emotion that comes from emo pop, the undeniable confidence that comes from Rihanna, the lyrical prowess of Lauryn Hill and the aesthetics of Aaliyah and melts them together to create liquid gold or, judging by her alté sound, liquid platinum.
Her self titled debut EP showcases how she’s an afro-pop queen in the making but it’s the spellbinding track Away that left me speechless and jaw dropped. The dulcet tones of her honey drizzled vocals offer a euphonious feeling with a soulful edge as the lusciously pulsating production takes what should be a break up song and flips it on its head entirely. Fuse all this with the vibrant music video filled with vivid colours as well as a compelling story and it feels like we’re witnessing the birth of a star, someone who could take the world by storm.
“I freestyled half of ‘Away’ at a time I was feeling down,” Ayra explains. “It was like therapy. Singing the song out loud was like freeing myself from my burden. ‘Away’ is not just a heartbreak song, it’s a song that empowers you to stand up to that thing or person that is causing you sadness.”