Benin-born Nigeria singer Ayra Starr graced the people of Birmingham with an unmissable and mesmorising performance in November. Packing out the main room at the O2 Institute, the energy was felt throughout, even before Ayra took to the stage.
As soon as the lights went down, cheers and applauses began to erupt and the moment that everyone was waiting for had finally arrived. With a huge smile on the faces of her fans and Ayra herself, it was already an electrifying moment. It was evident that she was ready to give Birmingham an evening to remember. She exuded confidence and charisma, and she immediately captured the audience’s attention.
Ayra commanded the stage with her presence and vocals, projecting to every corner of the room. She regularly interacted with the audience and for her fans, that did not go unnoticed. It was moments like this that bridged the gap from fan and artist.
Singing every song, her voice felt effortless and strong. Carrying every note perfectly with emotion and strength, Ayra had the ability to power through her setlist. She proved that she can go from delivering catchy afro beat infused tracks to soulful ballads. It was also the relationship that she had with her band and dancers on stage that brought everything together perfectly.
Another aspect that drew the audience in was Ayra’s stage presence. It was energetic, engaging and magnetic. She used all the space on the stage, making sure to make eye contact with her fans on either sides of the room, and not neglecting the people up on the balcony.
Throughout the show, she expressed gratitude to her fans for their continued support. This then created an intimate atmosphere, even in a room of that size. An extensive setlist meant that Ayra was able to show off her vocal range with a seamless blend. This kept the energy high from start to finish.
Notable moments include a rendition of Whitney Houston’s, “I Will Always Love You” and the first track off her debut album, “Cast”. The crowd were with Ayra every step of the way, singing back every word and going along with the call and response portion of her set.
As her set reached the final few tracks, the energy that was evident from the very start of her set was consistent. The vibes were shared by every single person in the room. Ayra Starr put on a memorable show and portrayed every aspect of the signs of being a true pop star.
There was a sense of having been part of something special and this lingered as the evening came to an end. She was able to bring everyone together and create an authentic atmosphere throughout her time on stage, as well as bringing a sense of authenticity.
This performance was a testament to her strength as an artist and the fact she was able to command the stage from the very second she walked out. It felt like more than just a concert, it was a show. Ayra’s talent shown through effortlessly and this show was one that showcased Ayra Starr as a captivating and dynamic artist in this ever changing industry.
Words + photography by Sarah Akomanyi