He’s a bit of an enigma, but sometimes musical mysteries are the best cases to crack. Meet a performer named A*STAR. No doubt, he’s looking to become a*star in the music industry, but trying to look him up can leave you a bit empty handed. We don’t know his real name, age, shoe size, favorite movie of all-time… you know, the important stuff. We do know that he makes his home in Montreal, Canada. We also know that he has his first single release out, a chilled-out pop track called “Dodging Teardrops” that may leave you shedding some if you don’t check it out soon enough.
The performer was first heard by music executives at the MUSEXPO conference in May 2011 and has had some form of involvement with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He sings (in both English and French), writes, and produces his own material. However, he has also been working DJ Lone Lebone, as well as Andros Rodriguez and Chris Gehringer to put together his debut album, A*STAR Is My Name. It’s due to be released in the fall after being pushed back from spring. This is because a first single from the effort, “Now Or Never”, failed to do much. However, it seems that things are on the move now with “Teardrops”.
This song was first heard on a compilation entitled Hi-Bias: Miami Mix 2013 House Essentials in a remix by StoneBridge and Luv Gunz. Two remix packages have come out since then, one in April and one in May, featuring a handful of other DJs. It was serviced to radio around the same time, edited down to just over three minutes in length. It’s the first release to be issued here from Frostbyte Media, a company based out of Toronto, Canada that just inked a distribution deal with Universal Music a few months ago. (The actual radio promotion is being handled by California-based MVP Entertainment.) Strangely enough, the song hasn’t been issued at Canadian radio yet, so this will be a true test to see if North America is ready for A*STAR or if his developing, yet inexperienced label will ultimately fail to make an impact.
“Teardrops” is a dramatic ditty, based around a piano line and the occasional burst of strings and haunting background vocals, showing off a mid-70’s influence with a modern twist. It’s not quite a dance song, but it’s also not the electro-pop beats all over the radio today. It’s smooth; I would even consider it an avant-garde sound. It pops out in a set. Lyrically, it’s same old story about boy and girl on the rocks, but the male protagonist is eager to move on and be released from his shackles and chains: “And here you are crying in my face/It’s raining diamonds and pearls down on me/And for the first time I can say/I am free.” He proclaims that he’s “dodging your teardrops” and they will “never gonna get to me”, proving his strength in the face of an emotional situation. There may be troubles around him, but he is one cool cat, and as a listener, you may find yourself recounting the same sort of situation in your own life.
Thus far, the song has picked up fourteen stations in three weeks, of which eight are actually playing the song at this point. This list includes mostly smaller markets, but a few medium-sized ones like Greensboro, NC and McAllen, TX. It’s also of note that these are all independently-run, although that doesn’t rule out that some stations under larger corporations may add the single in the coming weeks. It does help that a VEVO account was just launched for the singer and his music video for the song, even though it originally premiered two months ago on his account and has racked up about 114,000 views. That’s really impressive given the small amount of promotion its received thus far, and it can only build. He’s also amassed nearly 124,000 likes on Facebook and has about 8,000 followers on Twitter, and a decent social following will help him as this single’s chart life goes on.
It’s not your typical mainstream single, but the roll out of A*STAR and his music is anything but typical. Stay tuned as the secrets of the secluded singer continue…