Why I Don’t Sample Fela In My Music – Ayra Starr


Nigerian music icon, Fela Anikulapko is the founder of the Afrobeat genre that would later evolve into the Afrobeats we vibe to today.

While many Nigerian singers draw their inspiration from Fela who’s considered the grandfather of Afrobeats, songstress, Ayra Starr has said that she does not fancy the works of the legend.

Instead, she’s opted for female music icons who were reigning at the time and her pursuit birthed one of her hit tracks ‘Sare’. The track enlisted in her latest EP was inspired by a song by the Lijadu Sisters called “Orere Elejigbo”

When asked what about their music resonates with her so much, Ayra Starr said:

Yeah, you know like Fela — everybody loves Fela. So a lot of male musicians always just sing about Fela or try to dress like him, or just sample his music and all that. It’s a lot. Fela is really a legend. So I thought to myself, “Who were the female artists doing big things back then that nobody talks about?” So I went to do my research and I found them, and I was just so amazed. I was like, no one knows them and these people are so amazing. They were doing big things back then and it’s just a wonder how people don’t know them.

The way men carry Fela, that’s the same way I want women to carry these women that have worked so hard and people have forgotten their name. So I wanted to bring them back to the conversation, you know. These are powerful women that did amazing things. Let’s look up to them. That’s what I wanted to do.

When I make music, I just really like to empower people however I can. People that need empowering. If you’ve been bullied before, you’d love “Away.” If you’ve been heartbroken, you’d love “Away.” If you’re a feminist, you’d love “Away.” I just really like to empower people. The people that are not added to the equation. I just like to make everybody feel like they are one. The Lijadu Sister — what they did was so powerful, and I want to be able to do that too, not only in terms of feminism but in different aspects of life. I want people to feel like they are listening to somebody that is speaking their mind.

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