As thick sheets of grey rain cover London's streets, in the midst of a little known arcade in Coldharbour Lane, the bunned beauty of bass sits in the window seat of a quirky coffee shop finishing her second cup. In we walk drenched to the bone and the gorgeously humble Ayah Marar immediately stands up and offers us a hot drink.
Ayah is an inspiration to all, her remarkably hard-working ethics, determination to succeed and pure passion for dance music, coupled with her striking looks and the equally sparkling personality, makes her one of the most intoxicating people we've ever had the pleasure of interviewing.
Between launching her label, finishing her album, writing tracks and lots of gigging Ayah finds time to chat to Kmag about what she's been up to.
Filling up a fresh glass of water Ayah tells us about her new album "We're done, finished, ready to go, we're going to get it mastered, and it should be out in July all very close" as she takes a sip of her water we suggest some last minute nerves. "No not nervous. I get anxious, I hope people take it the right way and understand what we're trying to do. But never nervous, I think the theme is generally dance music. There's something there for everyone, and it's a homage to everything I love about dance."
Since coming over from Jordan at the age of 17, Ayah has worked in the music industry. Her perfect English is excited with the slightest twang of her natural tongue as she speaks happily about how she got into dance music it sounds as if every spoken word is being sung. We ask where her enthusiasm for dance music began…
"Drum & bass! For Sure!" She says with a Cheshire Cat grin. "Drum & bass, 18, Ed Rush & Optical, 'Wormhole'. It was pretty much the sound track to my life. I just fell in love with it fully, and since then it was Progression Sessions and then into the V stuff, We got into everything pretty hard, me and my friend, who's also my business partner, we set up Lucky Devil Recordings and we signed guys like Alix Perez, Sabre, Icicle and Switch."
We suggest that through her label Lucky Devil she was pushing boundaries before the mainstream had really caught wind of this emerging talent and the guys producing it, she modestly replies "We tried to, I think we did, I don't know if anyone really remembers".
Ayah's tracks seemed to be remixed again and again, with so many producers appreciating her voice and lyrical ability, remixing her tracks and using her vocals to create something new, what inspires her compelling lyrics?
"Most of the time is emotional, most of my stuff is 'girl vs boy', or 'girl vs girl' or 'boy vs boy' however you wanna put it" she adds with a cheeky grin. "It's never really directly me, I always start with something, even if it's a friend that's overworking themselves, I will be inspired by someone's struggles, whether it's life or love or some kind of emotional conflict, and it kinda goes from there, but I usually start with one thing and end with another.
"At the moment I'm writing a lot of stuff for other people, so I really just write when I get sent a track, I work better with a deadline, as I suppose most people do. But with my stuff I guess it's just when we're in the studio it's pretty organic. I wasn't really writing when I was back in Jordan, I was always musical but the first track I'd ever written was for Loxy & Ink they put me on the map, they gave me a chance to write a track, so the first track I'd ever written was 'Dance Child' for Signal."
Ayah's single 'Mind Controller' gained support from huge amounts of DJs, was remixed by seemingly everyone and could be heard of mainstream radio regularly. But did she expect the success that the track received.
"No, you never expect it," she says shaking her head, while contemplating her answer and swirling the ice in her water. "The thing with me is I'm gonna be doing this forever and I don't want to get caught in a rat race, or be worried about whether or not a track makes top twenty, that's not my game. Obviously when things like that happen it's great because of course it's not just about me, it's about every one that believes in me and supports me, it's about my manager and my agent, to the people in the studio, my friends, you know it's a nice thing when good things happen but we don't do it for that.
"We do it because we love to make music. But it was great that it got radio support and obviously Cutline and Shock One and all the other people that got involved in the remixes. It feels good, it's like you've loved the music for all this time and now it finally loves you back."
No rest for the wicked as Ayah while recording her album she's also been setting up her new label she tells us excitedly. "Hussle Girl is my label, it's what the album's being released on, it's being distributed by Universal but we're a completely independent underground label. It's a vehicle for my stuff but we're hoping to sign some people in the future, not just girls, not to be anti-feminist but I don't really like the idea of "because you're a girl, because you're a boy, certain things have to happen" if you love what you do, do what you do."
WORDS: Whisky Kicks
Photography: Rob Logan
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