Azeem Ward: Life after a global flute tour

Don’t pretend like you don’t remember him

For you older undergrads, he was the flautist under Storke Tower you always heard when you half-mindedly, zombie walked to your 8-10 am classes on Monday mornings.

For us other undergrads, he was the one who brought fame and stardom to UCSB while we were busy wrapping up that uncomfortably stressful period of time we now remember as finals.

Yes, we’re talking about Azeem Ward – UCSB’s and probably the world’s favorite celebrity flautist.

Now focusing on music production and network marketing, Azeem is a graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa, pursuing his Masters in Music Performance.

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In his time at UC Santa Barbara, Azeem achieved worldwide,college stardom when over 100,000 people said they would attend his senior flute recital. Following this recital was a UK-based tour where Azeem showcased his musical finesse to thousands of his fans.

Azeem at Exeter in the UK

Azeem at Exeter in the UK

Regardless of your interest in classical, instrumental music, one thing is certain – in his time here at UCSB, Azeem shed our university in a positive light that has impacted our school for the better.

During the following interview with Azeem, it became clear to me that despite his current whereabouts, Azeem still has relevant words to speak to the UCSB community.

How did this whole thing start?

It all started with a Facebook event I made two weeks before the recital…about a week before the event, someone shared it in the UK at Durham University

via knowyourmeme.com

When did your event start to get big?

One person made a meme with me on the moon, and after that one, the memes started growing exponentially…By the next week we had reached 100,000 people attending,

 What was your most memorable experience while on tour?

I remember playing at this sold-out bar in Manchester, it was so energetic…I think that made me perform better…well, that plus the 10 foot sign of me they were passing around the crowd.

is that a world tour or azeem's tour

is that a world tour or azeem’s tour

What did you take away from your unique experience here at UCSB?

It was a really motivating experience overall. It makes me want to try and create that same feeling [from the bar] over and over again.

san nic so sic

san nic so sic

Recently in IV, a WiFi network named “I <3 Azeem” was discovered. Were you aware of your lasting impact on the WiFi community?

No, I had no idea haha… [my recital] was a sort of phenomenon that happened – nobody really knew why, but it made the school look good for instrumental music… for something other than partying.

via julia miller @ thetab.com/us/ucsb

What was your most memorable Isla Vista experience?

I teamed up with DJ Underbelly and did this music video in Pardall Tunnel…It was a flash mob kind of thing…People started gathering in the tunnel going, ‘Whoa! What’s going on over there?’ and we recorded everything right then and there.

What went through your head when you found out you would be performing on Jimmy Kimmel?

Well, the Jimmy Kimmel thing all happened within like, seven hours…It was hard to react at first, but I knew I had to just go with the flow, pull myself together, and figure out what I was going to play.

If you could tell the students at UCSB one thing after your experience here, what would it be?

College is the time for you to create a new identity, so within reason – be open and curious to trying everything.

You come from your hometown, some of which are out of state, and all of a sudden you’re surrounded by a new group of people you have never met before – each with their own interests and hobbies.

As a result of my curiosity, I was able to experience so many new things thanks to Santa Barbara, and because of it – I have tons of experiences that I’ll never forget.

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