Out Of Africa: Spotify Selects Nigeria’s Ayra Starr As Its EQUAL Africa And Global Artist Of The Month

Nigerian pop superstar Ayra Starr has been confirmed as music streaming service provider Spotify’s EQUAL Africa and EQUAL Global artist for the month of May.

This marks the second time the singer is joining the artist development initiative aimed at promoting gender equity in music after her first inclusion in the EQUAL Africa programme in November 2021. She now joins fellow Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage as the only other African artist to be named both EQUAL Africa and EQUAL Global artist by Spotify.

As the latest EQUAL act, Ayra Starr, signed to Nigerian music record label Mavin Records (led by media entrepreneur Don Jazzy), will benefit from Spotify’s global platform through playlists, content hubs and partnerships.

Confirming the announcement, the singer noted: “I am grateful to become a Spotify EQUAL ambassador. It means so much to me to be able to represent women in Afrobeats and African women in general. There are so many women in music today, behind the scenes, in front of the camera, musicians, sound engineers, all these women working hard, and Spotify EQUAL is doing a great job in highlighting all their hard work.”

Ayra Starr

“Our commitment at Spotify is to support and empower women in the music industry, helping to create a more level playing field,” Spotify’s senior artist and label partnerships manager, sub-Saharan Africa, Monica Kemoli-Savanne, stated. “Seeing artists like Ayra Starr come from the continent to gain global recognition serves as a true testament that Africa is full of talent, all that is needed is a platform. It has been a great journey to witness the growth of female artists who are also inspiring generations to come, which also speaks to our commitment to equally support female artists.”

Monica Kemoli-Savanne

At only 21 years old, Ayra Starr has quickly blossomed into one of Africa’s biggest pop stars in the space of three years. She was discovered in 2019 via Instagram by Don Jazzy, who had been impressed by the cover performances and an original song she published on her page. Upon signing for Mavin, she released her self-titled debut EP in January 2021, and later that year, she released her well-received debut album 19 and Dangerous, which spawned the smash hit “Bloody Samaritan.”

In 2022, Ayra Starr gained mainstream international recognition with the release of “Rush”, which charted in several territories, including Switzerland, Ireland and the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 24. The song earned her a nomination for Best African Music Performance at the 2024 Grammy Awards, where she lost out to Tyla’s “Water.” Her sophomore album, The Year I Turned 21, is set to be released on Friday 31 May.


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