Ayra Starr says Afrobeats has global appeal after ‘generations of hard work’

Nigerian singer Ayra Starr has said Afrobeats’ global appeal has come from “generations of hard work”.

The 22-year-old delivered a triumphant performance on Saturday when she graced Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage hours before Coldplay’s headline set.

Speaking to the PA news agency about the experience, she said: “It was amazing. I’m so grateful. I can’t wait to come back.

“As a performer, I always feel like I want to do more.”

Speaking about the genre’s appeal across the globe, she added: “Afrobeats has been popping in the continent for so long, forget what you’re hearing now, it’s been generations of hard work from talented artists that came way before me and way before even Wizkid and Burna (Boy).

“Just amazing artists that worked so hard to build what Afrobeats is today, and I feel like it’s our time.”

Reflecting on the importance of seeing female artists on the main stage she said: “It’s very important because if I didn’t get to see women like Beyonce headline I wouldn’t think I would be able to do it.

Glastonbury Festival 2024
Ayra Starr performing on the Pyramid Stage (Ben Birchall/PA)

“So representation is so important because we have talented young women that are watching this at home and seeing someone just like them on stage changes a lot, so I think it’s great.”

This year’s line-up at the Somerset festival includes two female headliners – pop star Dua Lipa and R&B act SZA, with Canadian singer Shania Twain filling the coveted Legends slot.

Before the festival weekend, Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis told BBC Radio 6 Music that securing two women headliners for this year’s festival had been a “passion project” of hers following criticism around the line-up’s gender balance over the years.

Starr is among a number of Nigerian musicians taking to the main stage this year including Femi Kuti, who opened the Pyramid Stage on Saturday morning, and Afrobeats artist Burna Boy, who will play the Pyramid Stage on Sunday before SZA’s headline slot.