Go behind the scenes of Ayah Marar’s video for ‘Alive’

Emma Gritt

After years of being the ‘ft’ on producer’s singles, Ayah Marar is now the one being named first on the record. Alive, her first single of 2013, features rapper P Money, and is a triumphant stampede of bass, synth and general bad girl attitude.

But despite the growls and ‘tude that the Jordanian singer lays on thick in the video with the respected grime MC, she’s got a head for business, and a positive attitude that she’s using to help teenagers back home.

The likeable singer is somewhat of a go to girl for bass-loving UK producers and has worked with DJ Fresh, Camo & Krooked, Bassline Smith and Calvin Harris – who she also used to live with.

But collaborations aside, Ayah’s an exciting artist in her own right, and has released a string of singles, most notably 2012’s The Raver. Now she’s finished touring with Belgian drum and bass star Netsky, she’s getting ready to start working on some new material.

“I’m in the beginning stages of writing album two and on the road a lot,” she says. “I’m also starting to build my label Hussle Girl’s profile by scoping out new artists, I’m really keen to be more involved behind the scenes later this year.  Priority is the new album for now though!”

The reception for Alive was positive, and there will be more singles for fans to look forward to, Go Hard, which will have an animated video, and Lethal Dose, which she says will “portray a different side to what we do.”

Ayah had a brief stint in the DJ booth at now defunct East London rave hole Herbal, “I miss that place so much. I have to stress that I was never a DJ, I was always more of a ’selectah’,” she says. Since then she’s taken her record playing skills home to Jordan, where she hosted a radio show in Amman. “It was a wonderful experience! Kids out there really want to be a part of the music scene over here and I feel like we helped them get closer to the action by playing tunes that are big in London at the moment.  It’s interesting to see how in tune the new generation over there is with popular culture in the west.”

She’s mixing in the right circles to bring eager ears some of the best underground music of the moment. “I’m around so much talent it hurts. Eptic, City Bear, P Money, Original Sin, Teknian […] so many talented boys and girls on the scene and more popping up every day. I have a secret A&R side to me that’s dying to come out.”

The track she is loving at the moment is B****, Don’t Kill My Vibe by Kendrick Lamar. “It has suited a lot of situations recently,” she says.

One of the most interesting things about Ayah as an artist is the experimental approach she’s taken with using social media to engage her fans and spread the word about her music. For Born To Be A Raver, there was a successful hashtag campaign used across her social media channels.

“I have to thank the boys at Pilot, Transmission and Illicit for their help with this one. I think it was a balance between online and live performances that gave it the push it needed. Success wasn’t from one avenue, more of a joint effort!”

This year she’s hoping to establish herself further within the UK music scene as well as bring out the second LP. “I am immensely looking forward to getting this album done, and more than anything else I’m just happy to be part of an ever-growing scene. It’s really important to me to give back to music what it’s given me over the years, cheesy as that sounds, it means a great deal to me.”

It’s impossible to talk to Ayah without mentioning her sense of style, and refreshingly, she says that her main focus is always on comfort rather than turning heads.

“To be honest with you my initial thought is always comfort as I move around on stage a lot, but I like to add a bit of bling to keep it interesting. Topshop and American Apparel on the high street, otherwise I’m a fan of Benaiah Matheson, Lazy Oaf, Stella McCartney, Preen, Billy Boyce, Iris Van Herpen, Katy Eary. I love slick tailoring, well made pieces with an element of bling.”

Speaking about the behind the scenes video, she says she liked seeing the experience again from a different POV. “It’s always interesting to watch these things back, when you’re in the moment you have no real control of what you say or do, but you go into a sort of auto-pilot performance. I loved making this video with Luke Biggins, a very talented man, and everyone else involved.  Not much else to say that can’t be derived from the footage so I’ll leave you all to enjoy and thanks once again for the support!”

For more information about Ayah, visit her website

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