- Did your upbringing impact your passion for music? When did you realize that music was something you could pursue professionally?
Music was a way for me to express difficult emotions in my life. We came to the U.S. from a refugee camp in Thailand and had massive culture shock as well as constant financial pressure to pay rent, pay back our airfare from the camp, buy food and buy a car. My grandmother picked mushrooms to support us. She left in the dark before we got up for school and came back exhausted. Her oldest son got into drugs and gangs and was in and out of jail. I took care of her younger son and twin-toddler daughters. Our neighborhood was rough. A friend had a small home studio in our apartment complex. We fooled around freestyling and imitating our favorite rappers. Music, though, became an outlet for me to cope. I wrote songs and made little videos I put on YouTube – half in English and half in Ka-ren, my native language. A mentor at a refugee tutoring program introduced me to Chico Bennett, a superstar record producer in LA. The rest is history. We recorded two songs together, which became an EP, then recorded two more EPs and as of now – about 15 music videos. I hope to make this a career to support myself, my grandma, and to give back to the kids at the refugee camp.
- Who are some of your favorite musical artists? Do you find that their work influences your own creations in any way?
My all time favorite is Justin Bieber. As a kid I tried to be like him and sang all of his songs. I also loved Michael Jackson, Akon, Chris Brown, Juice Wrld, and Bruno Mars for ballads. $tupid Young was a hero and I am dropping an EP with him! We just finished two music videos which has been an absolute dream come true. We recorded a song with Mozzy – another dream. I also hella feel Kid Laroi, Polo G, Lil Poppa, and some dope Thai rappers – Tae Tae, Pu Dah, 1MILL and YOUNGOHM.
- Can you explain your songwriting and production process? How did you create “GO!” and know that HoodTrophy Bino would be the right artist to collaborate with for the track?
I had the idea for GO! I started laying out the track for an upbeat summer song you could bump at the beach or at a bbq. I met Bino at my video shoot with Soulja Boy. He is signed to his label, Stacks on Deck Money Gang. We did a studio session together after the video and decided to f around with GO! He amped up the song with a fire verse! We talked about filming in Venice Beach and he had the idea to include the Tommy the Clown Dancers. Chico Bennett, my music producer, had a connection with the low-rider cars. It all came together! Hella fun to film.
- Walk us through the process of creating the “GO!” music video. How did you decide where you’d like to film? Why did you feel Venice beach was a necessary location?
The song is very old school “west coast hip hop” – trap and retro 90s/early 2000 sounds…distorted 808s, kicks, claps, trap hats, a hyped up clicking rhythm, kick drums and crashing symbols! It’s a party song! A song for street dancing, skateboarding, and FUN! Venice Beach and low-rider cars fit the vibe. So do the skaters who immediately started chanting GO! GO! GO! when we filmed the song.
- What is your favorite element of the visual? Are there any Easter eggs in the video that you feel are important to mention?
My favorite visuals are the Tommy the Clown Dancers’ T Squad who break dance next to us and hype the video – also the insane low-rider cars we got to cruise in! Venice Beach itself is also an important visual that is part of the West Coast Hip Hop vibe of the song, along with the skateboarders at the skate park. Two Easter Eggs in the video are Venice locals: Jake Familton, an 11 year old skateboarding sensation who spontaneously joined the video with his skater friends when we were filming. There is also a local basketball-roller-skating-dude who quietly cruises through the video when we are dancing next to the gold low-rider car.
- What do you hope fans take away from “GO!”? How do you want them to feel after listening to the song?
The song is very hype and upbeat. A lot of dope videos on Tik Tok have been made using our song to extreme sports – like dirt bikes, hydrofoils, insane glider suits, mountain climbing, surfing, windsurfing, skiing, parkour. We did a dance challenge with hella dope dance routines too. I wanted people to dance, to move, to have fun when listening to the song. It’s fun to peform – it definitely gets the crowd going.
- Are there any upcoming releases or planned projects for Star2 that you’d like to share?
I’ve been working hella hard! I have an EP dropping at the end of January. The first single is GO! Next is “New Me” with Soulja Boy and Luh Kel. Then, “Up” with Mozzy, $tupid Young, and Bino.
After, I have another EP on the way with $tupid Young — six songs and features with Lil Poppa and MB Nel. After that, another project with Luh Kel. We just finished a mini-tour together on the West Coast and will start touring again with colleges on the East Coast and Canada.
I’m trying to play at Rolling Loud in Thailand! I want to spend a few months there – I want to go back to my refugee camp where I was born and help the kids. There are talented rappers in the camp that I want to make music with. I also want to build a studio there that they can use. I am planning a Thai/Ka-ren album that will be fire!