Brits Are Going Bloody Bonkers Over College Kid's Flute Recital
When Azeem Ward, a music major at UC Santa Barbara, put up a Facebook event for his senior flute recital this Saturday, he thought about 100 people would want to attend. He planned on playing some contemporary and classic flute pieces at his recital—nothing unusual. But in just over a few days, he's become an internet sensation in Britain, and now there are over 70,000 people who think he's jolly good and have RSVP'd to his event.
Ward talked to Daily Nexus, the UC Santa Barbara newspaper, about what he thinks kickstarted his bloody mad surge in popularity. "I invited like 600 friends, but in the beginning, it was just like 70 people going, and at the end of the day, it was 120 people going and this guy from England, the UK — Damon Poole — was one of the first people to repost and then repost again."
He added: "I don’t know him and, at that point, random people started commenting ‘Yea Azeem!’ ‘You’re gonna kill it!’ ‘It’s gonna go off. And then I started seeing the memes, you know, like me on the moon with girls and stuff."
Brits are going bonkers over him so much so that they're saying on Facebook that they're flying out to see him perform (we'll see). There's a Change.org petition that's asking for Ward to put out a live stream online of his concert for the folks who can't attend. People are using the hashtag #streamazeem in solidarity. A U.K.-based website selling concert swag—like an iPhone case, coffee mug and t-shirt—with Ward's photo, accompanied by the words, "Azeem's Senior Flute Recital 16.5.15." Some are joking that Ward is headlining Glastonbury.
Then there are all the mash-up videos fans have been making of Ward's flute performance. They're pretty amazing. This one is mixed with Darude's EDM classic "Sandstorm":
And this one is mashed up with a track from hip-hop artist Sage the Gemini:
Brits are spilling their tea, and Ward's become a full-fledged meme. Here are some of our favorites:
An Azeem meme (Photo via Facebook)
Another Azeem Ward meme (Photo via Facebook)
Ward said his performance this weekend is just going to be a "standard recital" and that he's "not gonna do anything crazy." Though, according his event description, he will be premiering some of his original works and do some "beatbox flute." This video below is probably indicative of what you can expect to see at his recital:
If you want to see Ward's free recital, it'll be on May 16 at 3:00 p.m. in Karl Geiringer Hall at UC Santa Barbara. We can't guarantee it won't be packed though. Godspeed.