Ayra Starr Drops Sophomore Album ‘The Year I Turned 21’

GRAMMY-nominated global Afrobeats sensation Ayra Starr has released her much-anticipated sophomore album, The Year I Turned 21, alongside the atmospheric Afro-R&B single “Last Heartbreak Song” featuring Giveon, available now via Mavin Records/Republic Records. This album marks a significant milestone in the Gen Z singer-songwriter’s career, showcasing her most personal storytelling to date.

The Year I Turned 21 delves into themes of growth, love, heartbreak, and self-realization, reflecting the artistic maturity Ayra Starr has gained over the past year. On the emotive track “Last Heartbreak Song,” she teams up with American R&B star Giveon to cut ties with a one-sided relationship, singing, “This is my last heartbreak song, I’ll be better on my own.”

“This is a coming-of-age story,” Ayra Starr said of the album. “The rollercoaster of emotions and genres intertwined tells the story of a 21-year-old African girl and superstar. Twenty one isn’t just an age, it’s a moment of change in your life. A time of necessary growth, hurt, realizing your power… love. Not everybody’s “21” happens at 21. Whenever it is for you; learn from it, feel through it… that’s what matters.”


The album also features the hit single “Commas,” which has surpassed 100 million streams and topped the UK Afrobeats Chart for five weeks. Another standout track, “Woman Commando,” featuring Anitta and Coco Jones, blends Afrobeats, Latin pop, and R&B to create a global anthem for empowerment.

Ayra Starr’s focus on self-care and personal growth is evident throughout the album. “Bad Vibes” featuring Seyi Vibez emphasizes her commitment to protect her energy from negativity, while “Warm Up” with Asake showcases her experimental jazz influences.

Tracks like “Rhythm & Blues” and “Lagos Love Story” highlight her ability to get lost in love, while “Control” offers a seductive mix of summery guitars and rhythms reminiscent of Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie.”

The album’s centerpiece, “21,” captures a rollercoaster of emotions, providing an unfiltered snapshot of transitioning into adulthood. The closing track, “The Kids Are Alright,” is a heartfelt tribute to her late father, featuring voice notes from her family.

With over 1 billion global streams and a successful world tour behind her, Ayra Starr is set to perform at Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage next month. She recently received three BET Award nominations and her debut album 19 & Dangerous has amassed 500 million streams. Ayra Starr continues to cement her place as a leading voice in contemporary music.