Jamil Abbas, most commonly known as A-Star, is hailed as the King Of Afro-Dance and originates from Aylesbury Estate, within one of London’s most prolific hubs for talent South London. Madonna, P Diddy, Davido, Jesse Lingard and Taraji P Henson are just some of the high profiling celebrities who have this rising star on their radar. After graduating from London Metropolitan University with a BA Honours in Music Production his passions intensified as his love for the Afrobeats genre and culture took on a whole new meaning. Utilising the art form of dance as not only a way of expression but also a way of connecting with his Ghanaian heritage and music lovers across the world. Afro Dance is a genre that intertwines Afro House along with Afrobeats creating a sound that is energetic, fun and highly addictive. A-Star prides himself inbeing an innovator of the Afro Dance genre and hopes to bring together different cultures and backgrounds through that. As one of the only artists to do this A-Star has created something so unique and special to the Afrobeats culture-energetic choreography that has kept families around the world dancing and smiling throughout the pandemic.
After graduating from university in 2015 and taking a break from music to focus on his studies, A-Star returned to music full time and the release of “Eggplant” in 2017 was just the beginning of an array of viral tracks to come. The track really saw some traction when A-Star released adance version-music lovers across Asia created challenges on social media and it was from there he really had the idea to create choreography to go along with his music. A testament to this would be his smash hit single “Kupe Dance” which was released in 2018 accumulating an incredible 27 million views as well as support from the Queen Bee herself Beyoncé, who used “Kupe Dance” at her performance at the Global citizen festival that same year. #TheRiseUK a YouTube campaign celebrating the talent fuelling the British creative industry also featured the phenomenal track. 2019 was a year that A-Star really solidified himself as an artist as well as within his craft as hetook on his first World Tour across the USA, Canada, Europe, China, Australia, Dubai, Qatar.
K: Hello A-Star! We’re almost 6 months into the year – how has this year been for you so far?
A: It’s been both good and bad for me. Bad as we’ve been in lockdown for the majority of the year but good as I’ve been spending the majority of this time in the studio making dope music. Oh yea, and playing COD all night haha!
K: You grew up in South London and have a Ghanaian heritage, tell us how that has impacted your sound?
A: I just remember following my parents to Ghanaian hall parties every weekend and watching them hit the dance floor when that Ghana Highlife/Hip life music came on. You’ll always hear a piece of Ghana in every song I make.
K: You also grew up in a family of 6 children! Tell us what that dynamic was like and as the last born did your siblings have any influence on the music you listened to?
A: Being the last born in a huge family is a blessing. I wasn’t just raised by my parents but I was also raised by my siblings too. My siblings listened to 90s hip hop and r&b so that’s literally all I grew up listening to.
K: Your upcoming single “Stepping Good” featuring Sho Madjozi is out this Friday (28th May) – take us through the production process and how this collaboration came about?
A: As soon as we made the beat in the studio, I knew I needed Sho Madjozi on it! The sound just made perfect sense. I recorded the chorus and sent it over to her. The rest is history lol.
K: Your sound fluctuates between Afrobeats and Electronic music. Who would you say inspires you?
A: I’m inspired by Afro dancers. Seeing them dancing to different beats is what inspires me to make the music I make.
K: King of Afro-Dance” is a phrase frequently used when describing who you are as an artist, could you break down what this means and why it’s a title associated with yourself?
A: After supporting the Afro dance scene for such a long time, I began to create a new sound of music which was focused directly on the Afro dance scene. This genre I now call Afro dance. That’s the reason why I call myself the King of Afro dance.
K: You were recently asked to do a remix for Shift K3Y and Tinashe’s single “Love Line”, can you tell us when that will be released and how that also came about?
A: Yes! Loveline remix drops on June 4th. Shoutout to Shift K3y and Tinashe. The two worlds coming together just made so much sense.
K: Looking to the future, what are you most excited about in the next coming months? Do you have a project on the way? What can we expect?
A: I just can’t wait to release my new music and keep the world dancing to my sound! “King Of Afrodance” the EP drops soon!