Ayra is Spotify Equal Africa and Global Artiste for May

Sunday June 02 2024

Ayra Starr during an interview with journalists at Junction Mall in Nairobi, Kenya on May 18,2023. PHOTO |NMG


Nigerian Afrobeats artiste Ayra Starr has been named the Spotify Equal Africa and Global Artist for the month of May 2024.

Spotify hosted 15 Equal activations and more than 14.8 million artiste discoveries stemmed from Equal playlists.

Equal artistes received 11,800 editorial playlist adds, all in 2023, demonstrating the programme’s impact and reach.

Ayra, whose February release Commas already has more than 35 million streams on Spotify, spoke on her expressive musical style that has helped her craft a niche in the music industry, and what it means to be Spotify’s Equal artiste.

“I am grateful to become a Spotify Equal ambassador. It means so much to me to represent women in Afrobeats and African women in general. There are so many women in music right now and the Equal programme is doing a great job in highlighting their hard work,” she said.

Read: African music rising on global charts, with help from TikTok


Spotify’s Equal programme supports female artistes, giving them a global platform through playlists, content hubs and partnerships.

Ayra, known for hits such as Rush, Sability and Rhythm and Blues, joins compatriot Tiwa Savage, who is the only other African artiste to be both the Spotify Equal Africa and Global artiste.

Monica Kemoli-Savanne, Spotify’s senior artist and label partnerships manager for Sub-Saharan Africa says seeing artistes like Ayra come from the continent to gain global recognition serves as a true testament that Africa is full of talent.

"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 artistes,” she said

According to Timothy Monger, mixing confident, empowering lyrics with Afro-pop and silky R&B, Starr rose to national success with her 2021 debut album, 19 & Dangerous, and its chart-topping hit Bloody Samaritan. Signed to Don Jazzy’s influential Mavin Records label, she spent much of the next year collaborating with artists like Ladipoe, Kelly Rowland, and Magixx while issuing solo singles like Stars and Rush.

Asked how the Spotify Equal programme is significant, from her perspective, Starr replied: “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.”

As to what this means to her as a person, being Spotify’s Equal artist for the month both from an African and global perspective, Starr, said: “It means everything to me because I am a girl and I have to support my gender and level the playing field.”

Asked how she would describe her sound, tone, and style to someone who has never heard her music, Starr responded: “I would describe my sound as highly vibrational, eccentric, unique, and beautiful.”

Read: African music tops revenue growth

Are we expecting any music from you anytime soon? “Yes. I have a new single with Seyi Vibes called ‘Bad Vibes’ and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it. It’s amazing and it’s one of those songs that makes you feel good. The best part about it is that it is not just a regular Afrobeat record, it’s like genres intertwined,” she replied.

Spotify is a Swedish audio streaming and media service provider founded in April 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. It is one of the largest music streaming service providers, with over 615 million monthly active users, including 239 million paying subscribers, as of March 2024.