Aki Starr Interview 2012

Aki Starr, whose music has been heard on these hit television shows: Jake 2.0, Desperate Housewives, Malcolm In The Middle & Knock First, has had an incredible musical run since he began his career at a very young age during the height of the Freestyle musical years in the mid ’90s, as a singer with Warner Bros group Spanish Fly. His ambition and dynamic voice has taken him across the world and now he is back solo with a new smash hit “The Closer I Get to You!”

How was it working with Angelina on the song One Last Try?

“One Last Try” was originally a love ballad that I sang as a solo artist at the same time that I was doing Spanish fly. Once we included it as a Spanish Fly single, we brought in Angelina to sing on the hooks! We all had a blast recording that song together!

How did you become Spanish Fly?

In 1994, I was selected to be the co-lead singer of the duo Spanish Fly by fellow member Milo Pro for Upstairs Records. During the release of the accapella “Daddy’s Home”, we signed to Warner Bros. Our other chart topping singles included “Treasure Of My Heart”, “Crimson and Clover”, “Vissions”, “I Can See”, “One Last Try” & a song called “Who You Loving Tonight”, which we collaborated on with Upstairs recording artist “Alexander” and released it as “21 East”. Our first album was produced by the legendary Jazzy Jim. Hausaholics was also in on the production of the singles released after that first album under Warner Bros.

Was there a difference between the New York, Brooklyn and Bronx Freestyle scene as opposed to the California Freestyle scene?

In my opinion, freestyle music is all pretty similar. It originated in the early 80′s with the release of Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force’s “Planet Rock”, which was originally known as the genre “Electro Rock”, and later known as “Freestyle”! Before I was singing, my favorite freestyle artist was Stevie B, when his freestyle hits were all over mainstream radio, when he was working with Tolga Katas. Tolga is considered one of the founding fathers of Freestyle music. San Jose became known as the Freestyle capitol of the West Coast in the early ’90s with artists such as Daize, Spanish Fly, Angelina, Jossette, Buffy, M:G, Jocelyn Enriguez, Sharyn Maceryn,  Emotion in Motion, and more, having west coast radio success.

What was your favorite performance?

There have been so many. As far as my favorite Freestyle memory it was performing at the 1995 Latin Billboard Music Awards. It was during the time that Spanish Fly was signed to Warner Brothers. We had two songs that charted on the top 100 songs on the BillBoard National Charts that year. They were ironically not even Freestyle songs. One was an acapella of “Daddy’s Home!” We also sang “Crimson and Clover!” During this time we had a chance to perform in front of Tito Puente and all the biggest music artists during that time. So this one particular star studded, red carpet event with all the heavy hitters was very memorable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MROkwQ31oc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5xXEMYHo-c

When did you decide to go solo?

We had a great run as Spanish Fly. We toured worldwide consistently from 1994- 1999. I then decided to leave the band to join the legendary Latin Rock band MALO, which featured Jorge Santana, brother of Carlos, on lead guitar. The band’s signature classic chart topping song is “Suavecito”. We toured the world. While I was touring in 2002, I started getting calls to perform as Spanish Fly. So since 2002 I have been performing as Spanish Fly consistently all over the country. Last year, I decided to just be a solo artist with no affiliation to any group.

When did “The Closer I Get to You” come into play?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway!! I recorded a ballad version of “The Closer I Get To You” about five years ago with a good friend of mine, Steve Gordon. We never really did anything with it. It just kind of sat on a shelf. Last year I played it for a dance producer and he loved it. We remixed it late last year more as a freestyle version. I then decided to do a more current, main stream, universal pop sound and teamed up with legendary producer Djam Hassan of Best Kept Secret. It was released May 8, 2012 and since it’s release, You Tube views are already over 100,000 and the single is blowing up internationally.

How do you feel about the freestyle music market today?

Freestyle has had a resurgence since about four years ago. This led to shows popping up everywhere. From 2002 through 2008 I would do maybe three Spanish Fly shows per year. But in 2009 the numbers grew to five to eleven shows. Last year I did so many shows it was amazing, I have not seen that since the nineties.

Which record label are you signed to?

Renegade Music Group.

How do you give back to your community?

There are a couple of non for profit companies here that I have been involved with; Anti -Drug and Anti-Gang events.  I help organize and produce break dancing competitions & showcases to get the kids off the streets and into something positive. Instead of having guns and knives we get them to take their battle to the dance floor. We are working hard with the city to continue to have these events.

Where will we see you in the next few years?

From now on I will remain a solo artist. We never know what the future holds, but as long as I keep giving it my all, anything is possible! I am currently auditioning dancers for many upcoming tours that are in the works

*Freestylemania would like to thank Aki Starr for his time in given us this interview and insight in his musical career.  We wish him well and encourage all of our readers to stay connected with him and follow him across his various social media outlets.

Aki Starr’s Website & Social Media links:

www.AkiStarr.com —-> website

www.facebook.com/AkiStarrMusic —> Facebook

www.twitter.com/AkiStarrMusic —-> Twitter

www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_2Uwh8O4tU —-> You Tube music video

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About Alysia Stern

Alysia Stern is a multi-published children's book author. She is also a celebrity interviewer for SpotonLongIsland magazine, a restaurant media on Long Island and the host of a new talk show " Rendezvous with Alysia" which airs live on Saturday mornings on MadhouseTV.com (live broadcasting) at 11am. She has been featured in newspapers, and on the radio. She is also a contributing free lance writer for FreestyleMania.com