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Star 2 Speaks With Us About His Music, His Upbringing, And His Latest Single, ‘Thinkin Bout You’.

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We’ve written a lot about Star 2 the last year or so, and so when we were offered the chance to speak to the man himself, we leapt at the opportunity.

Hi there! Thank you so much for speaking to us! We’ve covered a lot of your music over the past year and each track is better than the last! What got you into music in the first place?

Thank you very much! I appreciate the coverage and compliment!! There’s always been music around me for as long as I can remember.

Music is a big part of my culture, the Ka-ren people from Burma. I grew up in a refugee camp where music kept us going. I grew up without parents – with my grandmother and her children. Her oldest son, my uncle, is very musical and played guitar and sang. I also went to church as a kid and sang in the camp and in the U.S. when we came to San Diego as refugees. Music is in all of our festivals. It’s in the weddings, the New Year celebrations, and religious ceremonies. We use electric guitars, keyboards, acoustic guitars, drums. There are all kinds of cool sounding indigenous string and drum instruments. I learned traditional dance too.

When I was in my early teens, I listened to Justin Bieber non-stop. I also loved Akon, Chris Brown and Tyga. Lol…I tried to dance like Michael Jackson. A close neighbourhood friend in our apartment complex had set up a small home studio. We would spend hours freestyling and copying the rappers we liked. I made some music videos rapping half in English and half in my native Ka-ren language. Around that time, I started writing my own songs.

In high school, I got a scholarship to a summer rap program at the LA College of Music, “Rap and Hip Hop: Change the World.” The program included writing lyrics, making beats, writing melodies, and vocal performance. Dr. Luke, the famous producer, was a guest teacher. The foundation that gave me the scholarship wanted me to rap without cussing.  It was hella hard! I even had some performances where I was freestyling and had to keep stopping! I went blank and busted up laughing!! 

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration in life and why? What about your musical inspirations?

My greatest inspiration is my grandma and what she has done for me. She walked to the refugee camp on the Thai border, over 500 miles in the jungle, as a young woman after her village was burned to the ground. In the United States, she woke up at 4am to pick mushrooms to pay our rent and pay back the airfare that brought us to San Diego from the camp. She came home in the afternoon exhausted and went to sleep.

My other inspiration is our Ka-ren people who have been the victims of genocide and horrible suffering. It’s important to me to bring awareness to their struggle, and that we get back our homeland in Myanmar.

On the musical side, my inspirations are Tupak and Juice Wrld – rappers who touched people’s emotions and make people think. I’m also just inspired by the power of good music – the way it can lift you up! The fun of a great song and the connection of a group singing together. Music moves us and brings us together.

In your latest single, ‘Thinkin Bout You’, you play a Lyft driver, who falls for one of your rides. You have a considerable talent for acting – is this something you think you might go into in the future, alongside singing?

Wow! Again – thank you so much for the compliment! To be honest, I never really thought about acting as a career. I have had hella fun being in the music videos though, so who knows? I would love to try acting if I had the opportunity. I AM a bit of a ham, so I wouldn’t mind trying.

What has been your favourite single you’ve released so far? What’s plans for the rest of 2022?

My favourite single so far is “Real Life” because it tells my story in the camp and growing up in the streets in San Diego. People who grew up like me tell me they relate to the hook “I come from a place where you hear sirens all the time.”  

In 2022, I have a few collabs scheduled – Lil Poppa on two songs, Soulja Boy and Scorey, all with music videos. I learned to use a circus trapeze for an upcoming video, and keep your eyes open – I might even get shot out of a cannon!

I’ve spent a lot of productive time in the studio during COVID and the last couple of months. I love my new stuff! It’s sick!! I have a third EP already completed after my EP “Real Life” drops in April with a dope animated video for one of the tracks that’s almost done. I have an entire album of songs after the two EPs that I’ve already recorded. I’m seeking out Ka-ren artists for an international album. I’m also experimenting with different genres and sounds.           

I have an acoustic concert that we’re filming next month and a live show here in San Diego in the spring. Also of course – filming more music videos.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be, and why?

Tupac and Juice Wrld. They’re legends and there’s no one like them. Justin Bieber because he is a living legend and still my hero. Also Kid Laroi. I have a perfect song for him to jump on!

Your songs are very relatable, how much of what you write is based on personal life experiences and how much isn’t?

Just about all of my songs are based on real things in my life and experiences. I do also have a very active imagination, which can be very dramatic and kinda builds on what’s actually happened. The songs about heartbreak are absolutely real – and the ones about falling in love. The ones about growing up and also about the world’s tragedies are all from my experience and perspective…very real!    

If you could start all over again in your music career, what would you do differently, if anything, and why? What advice do you have for anyone who is just   starting out in their music career?

I wish I had studied a few instruments. I’m learning guitar now, but wish I’d played all the instruments I could get my hands on when I was really young and had time to kill. My advice is to write all the songs in your head without worrying what anyone will think. 

Also to not let the haters stop you from reaching your dreams. Finally…something I try to remember myself, is to enjoy the process! I’ve met some amazing people and have had a real blast making music.   

What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? What’s the answer to that question?

I have a vlog, The Adventures of Star2, on YouTube. I have a lotta fun doing the episodes. My question would maybe something like, “If you could go anywhere in the world and do anything you could think of…where would that be…and what would you do?”

The answer is: I want to visit Japan! I want to climb Mt. Fuji, see the bamboo forest in Kyoto, take photos of the Blue Lake, feed deer at Nara Park, see Tokyo at night, take the bullet train and eat Japanese food!

I recently learned to make sushi and have backpacked for 12 days in Alaska (with The Adventures of Star2) – we climbed several mountains. But I want to see Japan.  I hope to do my vlog there soon!

Check out Star 2 and his music online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.



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St. Vincent Covers “Funkytown” For Minions: The Rise of Gru

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Some things in life are inevitable. For a while, that inevitably was a new Shrek movie with an updated pop cover like “I’m a Believer” from Smash Mouth. These days it’s a new Despicable Me movie, this time in the form of spinoff Minions The Rise of Gru. And just as we all predicted, the new Steve Carrell led film comes stacked with a loaded soundtrack headlined by St. Vincent.

For her contribution to the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack, St. Vincent covered “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. Her version was produced by Jack Antonoff and continues a run of luck for the musician that earlier this year saw her win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Antonoff also gave St. Vincent a shout-out for her album Daddy’s Home when he won Producer of the Year at the Grammys.

Announcing the release of her funky cover, St. Vincent took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to say the @Minions (including @jackantonoff) and I have just released our version of ‘Funkytown’ from #TheRiseofGru soundtrack. Shout out to Gru and them…” Included with the post was a graphic of St. Vincent as a minion.

Joining St. Vincent on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack are Tame Impala, Kali Uchis, Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Diana Ross, and Weyes Blood, just to name a few.

The album will be released on July 1, coinciding with the film’s theatrical release. You can listen to St. Vincent’s cover of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” below!



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Parmalee Shares The Music Video For Their Top Five US Hit ‘Take My Name’, A Musical Marriage Proposal.

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Back in October of 2021, Parmalee released ‘Take My Name’ as the second single from their third studio album. It was written with and produced by David Fanning, producer of the massive hit ‘Carolina’ that introduced me to the band back in 2008, Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson. Robyn Collins of ‘Taste of Country’ described the song as “a musical marriage proposal” and lead singer of the band, Matt Thomas, says it was inspired by the marriage of brother Scott; he says “it made me think about what I would want to say to my future wife.”

Some songs almost become bigger than themselves when they tap into the lives and moods of everyone and this is very much one of those songs. It’s not difficult to see why this song has been adopted by fans all over the world irrespective of their taste in music; its words conjure all the romance and love that you’d hope to feel when you ask someone to marry you. It’s lyrically a shopping list of everything you feel at the moment you realise you’ve met the one, even if that’s after only a short time. I remember proposing to my wife after just 8 weeks and if I try to remember what I was feeling at the point I proposed and tried to put it into words I would hope it was very similar to this song. Now over 31 years later and still happily married I listen to this song and it brings all those feelings back in a rush so why wouldn’t it be the perfect song to overlay a proposal, sing at the wedding or just be part of the moment; it’s how I’d love my sons to feel when they propose to their partners. 

Parmalee are very aware of their fans needs and were quick to record a wedding version for such occasions with a less catchy percussion and a softer piano focussed vibe than the original version. There have even been brilliant occasions where the band has turned up to “crash” a wedding and sing this song to the happy couple reminiscent of Maroon 5 and their song ‘Sugar’. None of those guests will forget that wedding in a hurry!

With all the interest in the song and the brilliant videos and messages the band have received, they felt the time was right to make their own narrative video to accompany the song as an addition to the previously released visualizer. The ‘Wedding Version’ video of the romantic song was filmed in Gallatin, TN and directed by Shane Drake. The heart-warming story follows the journey of the protagonist through middle school and all the way to adulthood featuring kids from a local school, an original 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 and appearances from the band with the lead being played by frontman Matt Thomas.

Matt says:

“From the jump, the fans have really latched onto this song in such an amazing, life changing way- our fans have been the reason for so many of our own major milestones, so it means that much more to us that folks are using our song for their proposals and weddings and allowing us to be a part of those major moments in their lives. We wanted to pay tribute to the fans who have been on this journey with us since the beginning so in the music video you’ll see a story of love and loyalty unfold across the years-but don’t expect to see any weddings or proposals – the fan created videos far exceed anything we could depict. We love watching them.”

With over 135 million global on demand streams, the song has raced up the Country charts, outpacing the band’s previous single, the multinational Number 1 smash ‘Just The Way’ with Blanco Brown and has been popping up all over TikTok with creators playing the song over proposal and wedding videos and even sparking a trend of using the sound of the song and writing “if your man doesn’t make you feel this way then what are you doing?” over the video. 

Parmalee - Take My Name (Official Music Video)

Coming from their recently released album ‘For You’, an album that has garnered critical acclaim with American Songwriter calling it “authentically real, genuinely inspired” and Billboard saying that “Parmalee find itself in the enviable position of being able to tap into multiple audiences”. What is very clear is that Country music is slowly starting to find a new, younger audience in the UK to stand alongside the existing fans of the genre. Zack Bryan has recently found himself high on the Spotify album charts and UK stars like Ed Sheeran have appeared alongside Country stars like Luke Combs at the Country2Country festival. Even Tom Odell has found himself headlining the British Country Music Festival in the Summer. Parmalee may be the band to really break down the barriers between Country music and the UK Charts with this song as the musical genre of this release is far less important than the honesty and emotion of the lyrics and Romance will always break down all of the barriers, or at least I would hope it would.

‘For You’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Find out more about Parmalee and their music online on their official website.

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Mercedess Releases debut album ‘Casa Fantasia’ along with lead single ‘Summers Already Gone’

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This Copenhagen DIY pop artist has managed the difficult task of mixing her soulful voice with vibrant dreamy production and lyrics with real streetwise attitude. The result is something that has given her the hit single ‘Obvious’ which Danish radio loved and the internationally acclaimed single ‘Back to Business’. Now she is releasing the excellent lead single ‘Summer’s Already Gone’ which sounds very modern Bond in its lo fi production but tells an unusual love story. Not a story about falling in love with a person, but about the love affair that always ends; the affair with Summer.

She says:

“I wanted to write a song that could represent both the fearlessness of the magical Summer days and the truly blue sadness of the re occuring love story it actually is when Summer eventually comes to an end. I know it’s a heartbreaking, melancholy feeling but it’s also everything I love about Summer.”

The song was written in Mercedess’ living room with Danish indie superstar Goss and the guitarist Søren Breum and is produced by the critically acclaimed artist Vera. It allows the velvet of the artist’s voice to tumble over the muted trumpets, break beats and flirty acoustic guitars and strings bringing to life the seasonal heartbreak. 

The fact that it is about the love and anticipation felt for Summer is almost more poignant this year as we embark upon the first free Summer for a few years. The affair with Summer this year promises to be a torrid passionate affair as we’ve been apart so long but the heartbreak of its end will be felt more keenly. This song will be the soundtrack to the affair for sure.

The single is released on the same day as the debut album from this exciting new talent. Mercedess says of the album: “Casa Fantasia is an album about longing for closeness and honesty. These songs are an escape from reality-a place to feel free and be yourself. Writing it was a personal journey and process to me that hopefully will make space for creativity, art and emotions for others too”

The album promises to do just that with the artist’s melancholy and yet warm and dreamy vocals and marks an exciting new chapter for an artist destined to find international acclaim  with this collection of music. Summer may come and go but I’m sure the appeal of Mercedess will be perennial. 

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