Sometimes in life, you must get knocked down lower than you ever been, to stand back up taller than you ever were. It’s safe to say this next resilient artist is standing all the way up! Sending shock waves through Maryland with his fellow Bumi Cult crew, the Neo Elite presents to you, the raw favorable upcoming Hip-Hop artist, Ayr [air].
Ayr was born in West Africa then moved to Maryland with his family at the age of four. Growing up in Laurel, Maryland, Ayr enjoyed playing recreational basketball with friends and writing poetry. “After writing a “Roses are Red” poem in first grade for a crush, my poetry skyrocketed, and I began to write frequently,” he stated.
Following elementary, Ayr attended Loeiederman, a performing arts middle school in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was there he initiated his creative side by acting in plays, performing in talent shows, and working in digital music. However, it wasn’t until high school when Ayr became inspired by notable legends like Lil Wayne, Bob Marley, and Jay-Z and started to take his craft seriously.
After taking notice of his talent, his mother soon made the decision to invest and gift Ayr a USB microphone to record music. “The first song I recorded was over a Jay-Z beat featuring Pharrell, it was childish and corny, but the song went crazy!” After downloading different software apps on his computer, Ayr was on a roll, but it eventually led to his computer contracting a virus.
Although he was creating music for a vast amount of time, he didn’t release any until the start of his junior year. When asked why, he explained, “Apart from my rapping, none of it was truly great quality because I was doing it by myself with no help.”
However, Ayr wasn't alone for long. He shortly met fellow artistic best friends and established a family collective, Bumi Cult. Bumi Cult is inspired by other American Hip-Hop collectives including Odd Future, A$AP MOB, etc. Ayr stated, “We’re a group of friends trying to find our purpose while expressing our talent.” Their main motto is to Follow your passions, rather than your distractions, and to live Wabi-sabi, a Japanese saying for an imperfectly perfect life. “We’re not all perfect, but we’re all aiming to better ourselves and each other.”
When it comes to his musical style, Ayr is currently inspired by the late Nipsey Hussle, Wiz Khalifa, Drake, Justin Timberlake, and ASAP Rocky. “I differentiate from other artists because I make hip-POP music. My music is definitely a mixture of both, with the use of play-off words and melody,” Ayr stated. While writing music, he looks to it as an expressive outlet and takes the time to perfect his cadence and lyricism. “In all, I’m comfortable doing what others find uncomfortable doing.”
Regarding the DMV music scene, Ayr cherishes the DMV because it’s home, but he feels the insufficient unity among creatives. “Everyone is quick to bring down the next man before they can acknowledge the good they have done,” Ayr stated. He explained were all used to “joining” on each other, and it’s not necessarily hating but negative energy that keeps the DMV down. “If we continued to spread the love and point out the good, the music scene would be better,” Ayr concluded.
One of his favorite performances by far has been at the MilkBoy ArtHouse. “That venue definitely takes the cake,” Ayr stated. A few things he admired about the venue was the location and the support/love shown by the crowd. “I’m big on energy, and can feel it from a mile away, that night I felt the positive energy given,” Ayr stated.
As of now, his biggest achievement so far happened at the start of 2019. “I was given the opportunity to headline my first show.” Not only was that a tremendous success itself, but Bumi Cult planned, organized, sold merchandise, and did all the promotions. “We nearly sold the show out!”
On the flip side, his biggest challenge was continuing music or not after repeatedly trying over and over, and nothing was going correctly. However, Ayr believes failure only teaches you and enhance your knowledge. In the end, “My biggest challenge became my biggest accomplishment,” Ayr stated.
Two years from now, Ayr has a goal to expand Bumi Cult’s reach and become a full-time artist. He also plans on moving to Miami, Florida then continuing his career there. Although he may be saying goodbye to the DMV, he stated: “You have to know where you came from, to know where you're going.” Life is all about change, by staying exclusively in one area, you're limiting your own opportunities.
Aside from music, as the Co-CEO of Bumi Cult, Ayr is passionate about running their business effectively and efficiently. Bumi Cult is much more than music, and in due time, they plan on releasing apparel collaborations with companies including Doughnut Shop Apparel and more.
When it comes to advice for aspiring artists, he would tell them to, “Listen to yourself and your gut.” A lot of people will try to bring you down or say they believe in you, but their opinions don’t matter. “You have to believe in yourself before anything,” Ayr stated. At the end of the day, you’re the one following YOUR passion. Lastly, “Don’t look for validation from others.”
Read more about Ayr with a closer look below.
If you can hang out with any celebrity for a full day, who would it be and why?
This question is hard! If I had to choose a male celebrity, I would hang out with Wiz Khalifa. He’s my idol, my rowdog, and we can smoke, that would be a great day!
If I can hang out with any female celebrity, I would choose Karrueche Tran. I’ve watched a couple of her interviews; she seems cool and has a good head on her shoulders.
What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?
Usually, I’m a positive person however, I do have many pet peeves!
My biggest pet peeves deal with negative energy, and when people talk about others they don’t know. For example, if I'm in a grocery store with someone wearing whatever, or vice versa, there’s no need to comment. I’m just here to get my milk and cereal!
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep, I would do everything I can’t do like, watching Netflix and chilling with friends.
Would you rather Win $50,000 or let your best friend win $500,000?
I would let my best friend win 500K because when it comes to my brotherhood, we break bread with each other. For example, after winning the MilkBoy ArtHouse competition, I’ve shared everything I won with my team.
I know they will do the same for me.
If you're having a bad day, what is something you often do to turn things around?
I rarely have bad days, but I’m human and do reach my breaking points here and there. If I find myself in that scenario, I watch funny videos on YouTube or look up different cats to brighten the day.
I’m a cat person!
What song do you currently have on replay?
Just the other night, I had a studio session and decided to go down the lane of creating an Afrobeat/Reggae record. I killed it, and now I’ve been playing the record nonstop.
Magnified Topic of the Week: Ayr’s “Breathe” EP
In all, this exceptional raw EP is inspired by Ayr coming to terms on whom he is after suffering from a traumatic car accident. Before this EP, Ayr didn’t release a project in five years and was only releasing singles/music videos. When it comes to the title "Breathe," he has always been the living embodiment of air his friends needed. “I care for others more than I do myself,” Ayr stated.
This EP features melodic singles, post-breakup anthems, and an inside look of who Ayr is. Listen in to his top favorites “Cry Me A River," “Layrel," and “Love So Rayr." Be sure to click the link below and tune into “Breathe” on SoundCloud today!