NIGERIAN singer and songwriter, Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe popularly known as Ayra Starr, has disclosed how she came about her stage name.
She made the revelation in an interview on an episode of The Afrobeats Intelligence Podcast, hosted by Joey Akan.
During the episode of the podcast titled ‘Ayra Starr – Nigeria’s Celestial Being’, the singer revealed that before being famous, she was known as Oyin.
“Everybody called me Oyin. Literally, until the day I released my EP, my name was Oyin,” she said.
The singer went further to say that it was very important for her to pick a name that meant something significant.
She said, “We are Africans, I’m a Nigerian and a Yoruba girl, every Yoruba name means a prayer. It was so important for my name to mean something that I want to stand for and that’s what I did.
“Oyin means honey, I love it and would have gone for it but my team, Don Jazzy, Rema and others all thought about it and we got something – Ira.”
The artist added that people might not get the correct pronunciation of how she wants to be called so she played about it.
“I don’t know how it happened, I decided to google it one time, I spelt AYRA and it means someone that is highly respected and open-minded in Arabic and it just made sense.”
Ayra Starr Before Fame
Born in Cotonou, Benin, Ayra Starr is originally from Kwara State, Nigeria and grew up in three different cities, Cotonou, Lagos and Abuja.
She has four siblings of which they all did music together with the support of their mum. She added that they’re all in the entertainment industry.
“My brother is a video director, my younger brother a song writer and my sister is a model.”
The artist also said before she came into limelight, the people around her said many positive things to her and told her she will be a star.
She added that her teachers in high school also inspired her and predicted she would be signed to Mavin records.
“I have a teacher that inspired me. He literally said ‘Mavin is going to sign you, start making videos.’ I was like 14 then and whenever I sang in school, he would tell me to go to church and sing in the choir.
“He was my mathematics teacher and even Muslim, also my Civic teacher. Mr Saheed and Mr Yinka God bless you guys,” she said.
She did a lot of covers for different songs and in December 2020, she posted her own song via a video post on her Instagram page which got Don Jazzy’s attention.
Ayra Starr as a Mavin Signee
After being discovered by Don Jazzy, Ayra Starr was signed on by Mavin Records on January 21, 2021.
This was made public by the company’s official Instagram handle through a video post with the caption ‘As a global music company, we are on a mission to develop global hitmakers. Tonight, we introduce the world to a one of a kind talent. Welcome @ayrastarr💎⭐️ #MavinActivated #ayrastarr’.
She achieved recognition after the release of her debut Extended Play and it’s hit track, AWAY which had over a million streams on audiomack few weeks upon release and topped charts.
Since then, she had successfully released other songs including Bloody Samaritan of which she later had a remix collaboration with US star, Kelly Rowland. She also released the hit track Rush, Sability, among others.
She has been nominated for various awards and won the Viewers Choice Award at the 15th Headies in 2022.