We catch up with Jordanian singer, songwriter, performer, producer, radio presenter and label owner Ayah Marar ahead of her appearance at Boardmasters 2013
Date published: 8th Jul 2013
Photograph: Ayah Marar
After working with Calvin Harris, Toddla T, Cheryl Cole and DJ Fresh, the London based, multi talented Ayah Marar has established herself as one of the leading lights of bassmusic. With a busy touring schedule and a slew of collaborations and hotly anticipated solo productions in the pipeline, we catch up with the Jordan born workaholic to talk surfing, songwriting, and sexuality...
You’re playing the Boardmasters festival in a couple of weeks. How excited are you to be involved in it?
We love being on the road (Trol23, Illaman and myself) so yes, very excited!
Are you a surfer or a wakeboarder yourself? Or just a voyeur?
I actually took up surfing last year!
Where else can we expect to see you playing festival wise this summer? And what gigs have you done already that have excited you?
We will be at Secret Garden Party and lots of European dates – we loved places like SUMOL Summer Fest and our Netsky support tour was the lick!
You’ve been dubbed the Queen of bass music in the past. Do you feel like you’re an ambassador for the genre of music? Or do you think that the tag doesn’t give enough credit to your work beyond that sound?
It's an honour to be called that and I take it very seriously. I think my work does stretch beyond being a singer but I thought the title emcompassed that, so I wear it with pride. I am very invovled in a lot of aspects in the scene and have been for many years, I'm hoping to branch out into management and A&R'ing in the near future so it's all worthy experience.
Watch: Ayah Marar - Mind Controller
There’s been controversy this year in the way female producers and DJs have presented themselves, particularly with Nina Kraviz and the infamous bathtub video. Do you think that there’s a different judging criteria applied to women compared to men from the media and audiences?
I honestly haven't seen that so I couldn't say but on the underground scene, your sexuality is secondary. If you are good at what you do, you get respect, that's always been my experience.
Your album last year ‘The Real’ took a wide range of sounds and allowed you to stamp your personality a little more than simply working as the voice behind other people’s records. How important was that for you to be able to do?
Hugely important. It has been a dream of mine to compete an album for a long time and Will Simms and I locked ourselves away and made that happen. It's a labour of love and highly rewarding.
Have you any plans for a follow-up any time soon?
I plan to release a few singles and collaborations for the time being, but who knows?
What other production plans have you got at present?
My single with Calvin Harris is out soon and I'm working with a bunch of talented people on beats at the moment too.
Are there any dream producers you’d love to work with?
Sly & Robbie, Chad Hugo, Goldie, Paul Epworth … The list changes according to my mood.
And finally, what else lies in the future for you?
This whole thing is a huge deal to me. I understand that music is nothing in the grand scheme of the world but I reckon it does help it along its way. Whether it is to make you feel better or worse, it has a really strong hold on people. If I can be involved in spreading the word and making sure good music reaches people, and the right musicians get noticed, it's something I will never stop doing.
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