Star2 | 5 Minutes With

Asian-American singer, songwriter, & rapper Star2 released his next pop track “Thinkin Bout U” this January, which has already hit 100k streams and pinpoints concepts around love, heartbreak and romance. 

Star2 was born in a Thai refugee camp and travelled from Burma to San Diego when he was five years old. A musical uncle who resided with the family exposed Star2 to music at an early age. Artists such as Justin Bieber, Burno Mars, and Luh Kel have impacted him and has formed his signature sound to what it is today. 

“Thinkin Bout U” is a charming, acoustic-guitar-based love ballad, reminiscent of Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah,” in which our hero is portrayed as an “ordinary Joe.” A Lyft driver, to be precise, who is smitten by his lovely passenger from a posh Hollywood hotel. As luck would have it, Star2 unwittingly meets this lady online. Later in the song, after having thoughts and hallucinations about her throughout the week, he realises the lady he’s been messaging is the girl from the hotel! 

“You get a bit infatuated when you see a very attractive girl…the butterflies and the adrenaline! Dudes can be quite romantic!” says Star2 on his latest single. 

This single follows the reggae-based smash hit “December” and the hip-hop blockbuster “Real Life” (which featured Jacksonville, Florida rapper Lil Poppa) and the broken-hearted love ballad “I Wanna Get F’d Up” (which features megastar Luh Kel). All four of these tracks are included on Star2’s upcoming EP “Real Life,” along with two more songs, which will be released in February and March.

In an interview with Star2, we puzzle together his life up to now, motivations, aspirations and what is to come from him and his romantic pop music. 

How are you finding being a singer, songwriter, & rapper all at once?

Writing songs, singing, and rapping all come naturally to me. When I have a feeling or experience I wanna write about, I vibe with a particular beat, start with a verse or a hook idea and just go from there. I can’t imagine only writing songs, or only rapping and singing! They’re each really important to me.

The music you create gives a nod to artists like Justin Bieber, Tyga, Chris Brown – how does your music differ from theirs?

At the end of the day, my music is unique because it’s about me, my life, and my experiences. It’s about how I see things. Although I listen to these artists, and love and respect what they do, my melodies, rhythms, and style are all organic.    

Your journey into the industry is an unconventional one, can you highlight some of the most important moments to you so far?

Making a music video with Luh Kel and Lil Poppa. Recording a song with Stupid Young. Getting support from my Karen community as I try and represent our culture and our story. It’s important to me that I get the word out about our suffering and struggle to overcome genocide and get our homeland back. Getting a nod of support from my grandma after seeing my music videos on YouTube. Lol… she really wanted me to become a butcher or to try college.  

It’s been said that you take influence from overcoming life struggles, creating music that is bold, high-spirited and soulful. Can you elaborate on this further?

Wow…that’s a big compliment! I am straightforward and tell my story directly. In “Real Life” I describe my life hustling on the block to make it in the neighbourhood and to survive. But I also have fun and am an extreme romantic so there are songs like “Missin U,” and “December.” My upcoming release “Run Away” takes a hard look at all the craziness in our world today and how overwhelming it can be. 

Your latest single “Thinkin Bout U”, how long did it take you to create this track, does it convey anything specifically?

“Thinkin Bout You” came quickly. It is all about that obsession you feel when you first meet someone and literally can’t stop thinking about the day and night. I have a very active imagination. I started seeing the video in my head, where the girl I was texting all the time came to life before my eyes and interacted with me and then, “poof” – disappeared! It’s a fun song.

How do you want your audience to feel when listening to this new single?

I want people to feel the rush when your crush texts you back and you can’t stop smiling, and you can’t wait for another second to see each other. 

“Thinkin Bout U” is a pop-like acoustic guitar-based love song, what were the reasons behind this?

I love acoustic guitar. It feels so fresh and natural. We used it on my first single, “Hollup Gurl.”

“Thinkin Bout You” is a simple and sweet story that reminds everyone of the butterflies you feel in the very beginning.

The music video for “Thinkin Bout U” walks the audience through love, can you tell us about the video and what it was like to be on set?

I played out a fantasy you might see in the movies – I am a Lyft driver who picks up a gorgeous girl from a hotel. She’s old school glamorous … like Audrey Hepburn, with a movie-star hat and sunglasses. I get a text out of nowhere from a girl on IG saying “I like your smile!” and we start texting non-stop! Next thing you know, I’m fantasising about her in different ways, and it goes from there. 

Making the video was a blast. Lexi (the model) was so cute and fun! It was raining lightly during the shoot and there was a lot of running to stay dry – but it kept everyone high energy. In the end, the director had me ham it up in the shower- singing the song without my shirt and sticking my head out of the shower door. It made it to the credits of the video. Hella fun! 

How would you like your music to develop even more over the next couple of years?

I am experimenting with different genres. I am getting back to rapping lately but am also working on an international album that will feature Karen and possibly Latin artists. I’m working on reggae and reggaeton songs and listening to Country Hip-Hop. I’ve also been binge-listening to classic sixties and seventies rock. Hip Hop needs a blast of new sound. I’m going to add something to the mix.

Follow Star2 On Instagram

Words: Izabel Rose

Photographer: Ted Emmons