Flute sensation Azeem Ward is doing a UK club tour this autumn

He about to drop the sickest EP of the summer


Yesterday hardcore flute superstar and Universty of California Santa Barbara grad Azeem Ward opened the floodgates on the friend requests he’d accumulated during his brief period of worldwide fame, and acquired 750 new friends in an hour.

He’s finished his degree, he’s been gigging and is about to fill the Frank Ocean shaped hole in the summer by dropping a sample from his EP next month – but he still found time to talk to us about what’s happened since his flute recital went global, and his huge plans for this year.

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At his peak, Azeem was doing interviews on Jimmy Kimmel, was rumoured to be playing Glastonbury and had over 50,000 people click ‘attending’ on his event. He says: “It definitely felt overwhelming. There was barely any time to practice at all. I started to get all these crazy offers from different news stations, newspapers, gigs, and radio stations. It definitely wasn’t easy to focus because there was always someone asking me something.”

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Although the pressure was overwhelming, Azeem says he wasn’t put off. “I think it actually went well for the circumstances I was under”.

More than 400 people were turned away from the heaving crowds who actually attended the flute recital in real life because of lack of seats, but Durham student Stuart Swift, who had travelled 5271.92 miles to see his new hero.

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New friend Azeem said: “Stuart was definitely able to get a seat. We didn’t know each other at all, but he was here for more than my recital. He had his own campaign.

“His whole idea was this campaign called ‘#beinstrumental’ and was all about getting more people to post videos of them playing music, like the ice bucket challenge. It’s about getting people to post online about music rather than alcohol and raging – which is something I believe in too.”

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After his hugely famous recital things became busy for Azeem, who wasn’t able to keep in touch with Stuart. He said: “After the event things became so busy with gigging, loads of places to perform and different offers to play with different bands.”

The unlikely superstar has since played in a multicultural centre in LA, a poolside concert, a festival on his campus, pubs and radio stations. Now the hype has died down a little, something he says eased up around “three weeks after the event”, Azeem is working on his Youtube channel, and creating a music set with DJ Underbelly to try to go on tour in the UK this fall.

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Azeem and DJ Underbelly, who according to Google is also known as Tim Underbelly and Captain Weekend, will be performing at clubs and bars and will have concrete details of dates at the beginning of August. Next month he’ll also be able to release a sample of his long awaited EP.

He said: “I’m working on creating my EP now, but I want to go into Teaching and Performance after my Masters. I would like to be a solo artist who collaborates with all sorts of musicians, to make albums and fuse different genres.”

You can probably get in touch with Azeem to find out more on his Facebook page, where he’s opened the door to new friends and fans. “It’s something I’ve been putting off for the longest time, and I finally took the time out to do it. About fifty people have got in touch so far to say hello.”