Nigerian singer Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe aka Ayra Starr has shared the story behind her stage name on the Afrobeats intelligence podcast.
She revealed that her original name was Oyin but she wanted a name that meant something significant and stood for what she represents as an African and Yoruba girl.
“It was just Oyin. Everybody called me Oyinkan. Literally, until the day I released my EP, my name was Oyin.
"When people be like Ayra Starr, I’ll be looking for Ayra Starr too.
“But yeah, I love the name so much. I feel like because we’re Africans and Nigerians and as a Yoruba girl; every Yoruba name always means a prayer.
“It was so important for me, for my name to mean something that I want to stand for.
"And that’s what I did. I stood by it,” she said.
After considering the Yoruba name ‘Ira’, which she knew Nigerians might mispronounce, Ayra prayed for a new name and eventually came across the Arabic name ‘Ayra’ on Google.
“Oyin means honey, I love it. I could have also gone by Oyin, but my team; Don Jazzy and Rema, when we all sat down and we thought about it, it just made sense.
“So we got a name called ‘Ira’ in Yoruba. I knew that Nigerians will not pronounce it as ‘Aira’, they will pronounce it as Ira. So I started praying for a name.
“I don’t know how it happened, I just decided to Google it one time, I wanted to check what ‘Ira’ means and I spelt it like A-Y-R-A."
She discovered that it means someone who is highly respected, woke, and open-minded, which perfectly aligned with her values and aspirations.
Ayra admitted that she initially struggled to get used to her new stage name, as she had been known as Oyin for so long.
But she ultimately embraced it and now loves the name, which has become synonymous with her brand and identity in the music industry.