Ayah Marar

Ayah Marar

Ayah Marar is one of the UK’s most exciting bass music artists out there, with the Jordanian raised singer having just released her first album ‘The Real’ under her own label.

We talked to her about the release of her debut album, her love of dance music and her encounters with Calvin Harris

So your debut album ‘The Real’ is out now, how excited are you about that?

I don’t think excited begins to cover it. It’s been a long time coming and it’s just nice to finally have something out there whether it’s for posterity or just getting you music out there, it’s a good deal for me.

What can people expect from it?

It’s an homage to dance music, it’s autobiographical (to an extent) and it tries to cover the most bases it can in terms of beats and styles. I wanted something for everyone, so it’s a bit of this, a bit of that.

How’s the reaction been to it so far?

It’s been great, wonderful. People have been really supportive I dion’t think you can really judge anything by sales now-a-days, it’s more about the fan base and people who turn up to shows and talk about you on social media. But so far, so good. I can’t complain.

Well, it’s got all five star reviews on iTunes right now.

Oh wow! That’s great, I hadn’t checked those. I’ll have to give myself a boost later. All those were reviews were just me.

Has your youth in Jordan influenced your music?

I don’t think my past influences it as much as making the move to the UK does. That gave me a new lease of life, it made me feel like I could be anything and make myself into anybody I wanted to be. So that was a big inspiration. I don’t know whether it comes from upbringing or whether it’s just instilled in you, but it’s about fresh starts and finding your feet somewhere new.

How did you come to love dance music then?

I fell in love with drum and bass when I moved here in 98 when I initially came here to study, but ended up running a drum and bass night at Warwick. So I use the word ‘study’ very loosely. I was doing that every week for three years, then I came to went to London, started a record label, worked in a record shop and immersed myself in drum and bass.

Was that when your label Hussle Girl all started?

Yeah, that’s kind of where that all started. I initially started a label called Lucky Devil Records, which enjoyed a bit of success on the underground scene and then sort of drifted apart. Hussle Girl was born out the need to have a vehicle to put myself out there. So that started a couple of years ago, The Real is coming out on that and hopefully, we can use it to discover new talent in the coming years.

The idea with Hussle Girl isn’t to lock people down fully; it’s all about single releases, so they can do what they want. I’ve got Illaman and Tenku with me on tour with me, they’re two of the people who represent the idea that I’m talking about. So to collaborate on a one off together and see how far that goes. Give each other a platform, we’re all in it together.

A lot of people would heard your collaboration with Yogi, so what was he like to work with?

We never actually worked together; he remixed one of my singles. So it was really funny because we only met after we’d put the single out. He’s wonderful though, a really talented guy.

What was playing Brixton Academy like?

That’s pretty much the pinnacle of my career so far. We played Brixton Academy three times this year; it was a nice triptych of happiness. It was wonderful.

You said earlier you worked in a record shop, is it true you ran into a certain Mr Calvin Harris then?

Yeah, he came in with a demo, which sounded incredible and left an e-mail on there. So I got in touch with him and he needed somewhere to live, I had a spare room so he moved into that.

Must have been good to work with him again on his latest album.

It’s brilliant! He’s one of the biggest stars in the world and I’m very proud sister. It was great getting back in the studio with him, but also seeing him in a much more grown up light. When we used to hang out he was a kid, and now he’s an international man of mystery.

So what can you tell me about BornToBeARaver?

Pilot records, who are releasing the single have a lot to do with it. What I was doing before was just posting pictures and getting people to get involved. Now they’ve put it all on one place, so people can go to the website, or just hashtag something and it will be there. I just like the facts that it applies to young people as well as those people who were raving ten or twenty years ago. So it’s like an all-inclusive place for people to come and get stuck in. Community’s the word for it.

A lot of people don’t appreciate the lyrics to dance music, so what’s your rule when you’re writing?

I never lie, I never write something that doesn’t mean something to me, or doesn’t figure into my life somehow. Truth, experiences, love, hate, people, relationships, it’s all there.

You’ve done a few collaborations, but who would you love to work with next?

I’ve always wanted to work with Sly & Robbie, so that’s a big one for me. People like Frank Ocean I’d love to work with. There are a lot of up-and-coming singers, producers and MCs too. I almost don’t want to give them away; they’re my little secret, so you’d have to check back with me to find out.

So, what’s on the horizon for you then?

The tour’s just finishing up with Netsky, then we’ve got a string of dates in and around London, incluing Brixton Academy for New Year’s Eve. Then I want to start album two in January, I want to get to get stuck into that. Then Raver and a couple more singles come out in the new year, so it’s all hustle.

Got any ideas yet for the second album?

Yeah, I really want it to be a bit more experimental. I don’t think I held back on this one, but I catered to a lot more, not than I wanted too, as I enjoyed everything about it, but I want to make the next one a little more subversive. Go off the beaten track with both beats and lyrics.


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