In January, rising star Ayra Starr kicked off the year with the release of her debut self-titled EP. The five-track project has instantly connected with listeners and continues to introduce itself to new audiences. Starr’s debut single “Away” is racking up the numbers on YouTube and has made an impact on TikTok. The 18-year-old songstress grew up listening to the likes of Rihanna and Shakira and aspires to be a global name just like those megastars. Signed to Mavin Records, Starr is incredibly focused and is ready to make 2021 her year.
EUPHORIA. got the chance to speak to the singer via Zoom where she expressed why she believes fans are relating to her material, what it was like shooting her first music video, and what she has planned next.
Congratulations on your debut self-titled EP, which was released last month. How long before had you been making this body of work? Thank you so much for congratulating me. I started working on the EP in January 2020. I had been recording a lot of songs so I picked the first five ones that would keep people interested for now.
Were you confident with the five tracks that made the cut or were there others you nearly put on there? I loved the five, I loved every one of them. I was so excited because I got to choose the music that I like. I got creative freedom so I was able to show people how versatile I am.
You’ve recently dropped the music video for “Away” – how was the experiencing making it and was it your first ever video shoot? That was my first music video ever! I was a wreck because I was so nervous. I was excited but at the same time nervous. I had my whole family on set with me so it made it fun and it made it nice. It was an experience.
The song is doing huge numbers on TikTok and YouTube and overall gaining a lot of instant attention. Has this come by surprise? Definitely. I still feel like I’ve not absorbed everything that is happening. It’s just so unbelievable, the love and the people that are so excited to watch and are expecting new music and just want to hear more. I’m really surprised, I’m really excited, and I’m so grateful.
What is it about the song that you feel others identity with it? Growing up as an African girl, you’re told to keep your feelings to yourself. Even as a Black girl, you’re told to keep your feelings to yourself, don’t be too emotional. Even as a woman, once a woman cries, she’s too emotional. I took my emotions and put in the music and it was powerful. I feel like when people listen to that, they could hear themselves in the music. Owning myself and being self-aware, you can hear that all through the EP. I feel like women and guys don’t know how to tap into that level of self-awareness, they can tap into that when they listen to this.
Has there been anyone that has reached out to you about the song that took you by surprise? A lot of people that I wouldn’t even imagine, really nice people and celebrities and all that.
Is the plan to create more videos for this EP? Definitely. We have more videos coming out, just subscribe to the YouTube channel and expect more videos.
Is there a song you are most proud of? I love all the songs equally, I’m not going to lie, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Every single song I made was an experience. From “Away” to “Memories.” I usually write with my brother, but I wrote “Memories” all by myself and it was just such a perfect ending to the EP. It started with “Away,” which is a strong song, to then “Memories.” I’m so proud of every song on the EP. I get so excited when I get to listen to it every time. I am proud of myself.
How has the ongoing pandemic helped/changed your creative process? With the pandemic, there was no distraction at all. Music was the only thing that mattered then because I was staying safe and making music. So I would be at my house, writing every single day. There was no distraction or anything. I could learn more about myself and more about the music. I took the time to record, perfect the recording, and write better music.
Have you already been planning and saving songs for an album or are you just taking one step at a time? Yeah, definitely. It’s been a year so I’ve been recording a lot of songs and also there have been songs that I think would be dope for an album.
Have you set yourself any goals for 2021? In the back of my mind, I do have goals but I don’t want to jinx them. I just want to keep them to myself for now. I am going to work as hard as I can to become as successful as I possibly can this year and I pray to God that it happens.