Star2 Reveals the Story Behind Romantic Single 'Thinking Bout You' and His Ka-ren Culture
Star2's "Thinking Bout You" might be the most romantic new song we've heard this year.
In the track, the singer-songwriter tells a story of star-crossed love and the powerful feelings that develop when you're getting to know someone really special. It's just one of the great tracks that will be part of his upcoming EP, Real Life, releasing later this year, and we cannot get enough. We were lucky enough to chat with Star2 about the song, as well as his powerful family story that drives him to succeed every day.
Sweety High: What was the songwriting process behind "Thinkin Bout You?" Is it based on a true story?
Star2: The inspiration was my online dating! The constant texting, the high, the near-obsession when you text back and forth and get that spark going. You think about the person day and night. The song came quickly. I have an active imagination and started seeing the video for the song in my head: the girl I only knew through texts came to life and interacted with me in real-time—then poof, disappeared! Later, when actually planning the video, I had the idea of being an Uber or Lyft driver and falling for the girl I picked up.
SH: What has it been like working with Chico Bennett, knowing he's worked with some pretty huge artists in the past? What do you think he lends to the track that might not be there otherwise?
Star2: I was a kid from the hood. I was really nervous going to L.A. working with Chico—going into the booth and writing songs together. We're very close now—he's like family. It's always hella fun working together! He's so creative, but also very detailed and demanding about having it sound right. He's patient and lets the music, concepts and emotions flow. He also lets me stop and doesn't force a song to develop that's not ready. He plays like 10 instruments and also sings, writes and engineers. He's always willing to experiment, so I would say he brings incredible artistry to the songs!
Chico's like a mental magician at times. If I'm not in the right space or not feeling something, he'll say something completely off-the-wall. We start laughing and talking, and the next thing you know, ideas start flowing—really flowing! He'll grab one of his guitars and start playing for inspiration. He'll add a synth. We go crazy. It's like magic! Working like that makes it easy to throw out ideas, no matter how out there. It's a really safe space that lets me be creative. That's how we've been able to make more than 20 songs and try different genres.
SH: What's your favorite lyric from the song? Why?
Star2: "Never would I lie, her body so fine, smile's so bright, she's got that heart of gold…" It sums up the perfect girl—beautiful inside and out.
SH: Can you tell us a bit about your personal story as a Thai refugee? Do you think overcoming adversity has made you even more determined as a musical artist?
Star2: Yes, I am determined to make it. I use music as an outlet for my emotions. Sometimes the emotion is pain and I use music to help process what I've been through. I hope to connect with others who are also struggling and suffering. My Ka-ren people have suffered so much and my family has sacrificed everything to give me a chance. My family walked hundreds of miles to the Thai border after their village was attacked by soldiers and burned to the ground. I hope to shine a spotlight on our people's struggle and to give hope. Life can be very hard. I have to be successful—for my family and my Ka-ren people!
SH: What does your moniker "Star2" mean?
Star2: My name is Star Htoo—my last name, Htoo, is pronounced like the number two (the H is silent). Htoo means gold in Ka-ren, and gold is the most valuable substance in the world. Star is a popular man's name in my Ka-ren culture—I've always felt destined to become a star!
SH: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Star2: As far as musical influences, growing up I loved Justin Bieber. My dream was to be just like JB. Listening to him made me want to write my own songs. I used to sing his songs again and again to anyone who would listen. My favorite was "Love Me."
Michael Jackson and Chris Brown made me want to start singing and dancing. I also loved listening to Tyga, Lil Wayne, Akon, The Young Money Crew—and Bruno Mars for ballads. Juice Wrld will always be an inspiration and is a master at tapping into deep emotions. So is Post Malone. Right now, I'm hella feeling Polo G, the Kid Laroi and Lil Poppa.
SH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Star2: I'm dropping one of my favorite songs next month called "Run Away." It focuses on the non-stop tragedies and suffering we have been experiencing lately. At our lowest point, we all want to run away—to someplace safe. The visuals in the music video are powerful. I think it's something really special. I hope you like it.
Love music like Star2's? Click HERE to read our interview with Ike Rhein on his Luh Kel collab, "Messed It Up."