Popping Up: Ayah Marar

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

You’ve heard her voice on several Calvin Harris tracks, including current single “Thinking About You,” and maybe you even caught her lovely acoustic performance of that particular song here on Idolator this week. Now it’s time to learn all about Ayah Marar.

During her visit to our studio last week, the London-based singer talked about her latest successful collaboration with with longtime friend Calvin: “We met at a record shop I used to work at, Uptown Records, in Soho, London,” she explained. “We co-wrote the new single together, ‘Thinking About You’, and that was marking the tenth anniversary of our meeting. It’s a bit of a special one for us.”

Ayah also discussed recording her debut album The Real, and gave us a walk-through the ornate artwork found on the CD sleeve. Watch the interview above.

WHERE SHE’S FROM: The Kingdom of Jordan.

WHERE SHE LIVES NOW: The United Kingdom, where she moved to in order to attend university.

SOUNDS LIKE: Warm dance music with house and drum and bass influences, as well as a healthy dose of soul. One of our particular favorites off debut album The Real: “Mind Controller.”

HER FIRST COLLABORATION WITH CALVIN HARRIS: A soulful slow jam called “Let Me Know,” which the pair recorded before either had a label deal.

HER FIRST BRUSH WITH MAINSTREAM SUCCESS: Ayah sings the chorus on Calvin Harris’ 2009 single “Flashback,” a Top 20 hit in the UK. Like “Thinking About You,” the video features a boat, clips of Calvin DJ-ing and a bevy of of beautiful women.

AYAH’S INFLUENCES: The sounds of rap and drum and bass, as well as female singers like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Janelle Monae.

WHAT’S NEXT: With “Thinking About You” still flying high in charts around the globe, Ayah plans to continue doing live shows in support of her album The Real, which was just released in the States on Radikal Records.

Watch our full interview with Ayah Marar above, and let us know your thoughts on this up-and-coming singer below, or by hitting up on Facebook and Twitter!