Dear Ayra Starr, do not be discouraged, international awards are not all that

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Dear Ayra Starr, your presence and performance at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans on Saturday have been greatly underreported.

Well, your fans know that Sabi Girl would deliver a superb performance regardless of the stage. Other fans of Nigerian music may not be as impressed because you’re not the first Nigerian musician to perform at the Essence Festival. However, the question that has inspired this letter to you is “How many international awards has she won?”

For some reason, the success of music stars like yourself is now graded by award gongs instead of the mere appreciation of talent and hard work. For someone posting covers of other people’s songs on social media 6 years ago, the award nominations and other recognition from the international scene should be an encouragement that you are doing something right.

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For the uninitiated reading this, they need to know that your rise to the top has been nothing short of meteoric. Since you got on our playlists, “Rush” has been nominated for Best African Music Performance at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in 2024.

“Rush” also charted in several territories, including Switzerland, Ireland and the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 24. Additionally, you became the youngest African female artist to surpass 100 million views on a single video on YouTube, and the first to do so within five months.

These achievements and statistics may pale in comparison to those of other legends in the Nigerian music scene. Great individuals who walked so that others like you may run, have set the standard so high that some music fans now think losing out on a Grammy Award is a poor reflection of the artist’s prowess. Perhaps it is because you are relatively new to the scene that haters critics often fail to pay attention and accolades as and when due.

For what it’s worth, the Nigerian music scene (read Afrobeats) had a relatively quiet start to the year. I dare say Ayra Starr’s “The Year I turned 21” was the most exciting project of the year at the time it was released. When you posted on X about your waist hurting from carrying Afrobeats throughout 2024, many people took it as a bad joke.

But we need to admit to ourselves that what we are seeing you do at the moment is greatness.

Dear Ayra Starr, do not be discouraged, international awards are not all that

Even if you only have the NET Honors Awards and the Headies Awards in your trophy cabinet. Many of us see are seeing the process of what is a legendary run before our very eyes. While you might still be some way off the levels that your idol, Rihanna, attained. The sky is the limit.

Keep your chin up, keep carrying Afrobeats

Ayra Starr’s remarkable year continues

2024 has been a significant year for Starr. It began on a high note when she was acknowledged by the Recording Academy, receiving a nomination for Best African Music Performance at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards.

She was announced as one of the opening acts for Chris Brown’s arena tour and became the first female Nigerian artist to reach a peak of 20 million monthly listeners on Spotify. All these before she dropped her sophomore album, “The Year I Turned 21,” which has since been topping the charts.

The album reflects her journey and maturity as a musician. With a successful blend of powerful lyrics and some of the best productions that money can buy, Ayra Starr shows her storytelling skills with rhythm. The album also features Asake, Giveon, Seyi Vibez, American singer Coco Jones, Aniita, and her brother Milar.

Ayra Starr got three nominations for Best New Artist, Best HER for her single ‘Commas’, and Best International Act at the 2024 BET Awards. Although she did not win any of them, she knows that the global stage is paying attention.

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