The New Year is not so far gone and already Don Jazzy already seems to be laying down the marker for the industry and its other leaders. In a dazzling media roll-out in the past week, Jazzy unveiled his latest female music act, Ayra Starr to the public.
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The unveiling was especially significant as it was done with an EP. I have to say it was brilliant but today, I want to attempt a review of the body of work as well as what it means for the image of the 20-year-old moving forward.
The EP is self-titled and by itself is the vehicle with which the label seems to want to sell this new act. And we may recall the same strategy was used to put Rema out there in 2019. It worked then and it just may this time. Not because the PR is good but because the music itself is actually good.
Away is the lead/promo single even though the whole project is geared towards promo. ‘Away’ catches attention and one can immediately see why it is the lead single of this EP. Ayra Starr shows all the qualities of an artiste that will be a fan favourite this year. She croons about unreciprocated love, only she is the one not reciprocating.
Her voice and lyrics demand attention and the personality smacks you write in the face. She proves she goes soft and hard all at the same time to powerful effect on this joint. The track is under three minutes long and that is clearly deliberate (A&R seem to have decided that is the sweet spot in capturing the short attention span of the present-day audience).
Ija is the second track. The melody is sexy and makes it very enjoyable. I am not on for nitpicking but this track is not necessarily the most lyrically tight joint on this EP. I do like and if I do it means a good few will too. To its credit, it fits well into the spirit of this body of work, however.
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DITR is a story by itself and by just that fact you can tell she raised the bar with this title lyrically. The theme of the song is peer pressure and she croons to a hurt parent for forgiveness. Sound-wise, it is a departure from the previously established vibe but thematically, it is in sync.
Sare is a pure joy by itself and I can almost hear this turning up weddings everywhere pretty soon. The Yoruba folk music, love laced lyrics and the bouncy vibe make this one the song I tip to be the runaway hit from this EP. It is that good.
Memories is another love-themed titled but this time the vibe is more toned down and while it is a bad track by itself. You can see why it is here; it makes for a good closing which I think Is a masterstroke in the music direction of this body of work.
The best thing about this extended play is that it has great A&R going for it more than anything else. The listening experience you get from it is wholesome. I like how it seems Mavin’s team has figured out to give fans a full experience of every new act they have to offer without following the regular sequence. This approach is not new but it seems the pandemic has forced execs everywhere to rethink their strategies and Mavin seems to be ahead of the curve.
That said, while Ayra seems to have lots of personalities, she is not the finest singer I ever heard even in the past year. Thankfully, being a great vocalist is not all there is to a great career in music. I can honestly say the girl is on her way officially and she did not fumble her time in the sun. On the whole, this is a solid body of work for a debut.
Album rating: 7/10
Featured Image Source: BBC
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