One to Watch: Azahriah

Rising star Azahriah (centre) is putting Hungarian-language music on the map. (Credit: Artist Provided)

The outspoken rising star putting Hungarian music on the map. Meet your new favourite artist.

Earlier this year, 21-year-old Azahriah became the youngest artist ever to sell out Budapest’s 14,000 capacity Papp László Sport Aréna.

The second half of the year saw him sell out a European tour, including a date at London’s Islington Assembly Hall in November. 

Azahriah’s breakout hit, the insanely catchy pop trap track Four Moods, was one of the biggest songs of 2022, clocking up over 30 million views on YouTube, and the release of his new album in May has pushed his streaming figures to well over 100 million.

While he might seem like an overnight success, Azahriah’s success has been a long time in the making. 

Azahriah, real name Baukó Attila, had a lonely upbringing. His mother was in the army and served in Kosovo (he often wears a military scarf in homage to her) while his father was often away for work. He has always been an introvert and had few friends in school. 

Like many young people, he turned to the internet to find community and aged 12, he started his own YouTube channel called Paul Street.

In the years that followed, the channel amassed over 500,000 subscribers who tuned in to hear his take on paranormal conspiracies and urban legends. 

The content creator then turned his hand to music. Already a self-taught guitarist, he learnt how to produce music and started making demos. He released his debut LP, Camouflage, in 2021, and one year later he graced the main stage of Europe’s biggest music festival, Sziget.

Today Azahriah is one of the biggest artists in Hungary and now it seems that the rest of the world are catching on.

Released in May, Azahriah’s new album, memento, has been a critical and commercial success. It builds on sounds explored in his 2022 6-track EP silbak, drawing influences from reggae, hip-hop, and Balkan and gypsy folk.

The album’s lead single Introvertált dal (Introverted Song), is equal parts melancholy and chaotic, where the singer questions his identity, relationships with others and when he last felt happy.

Elsewhere, he turns his attention towards wider society. For instance, four moods 2 caused a stir for its biting commentary on his country’s politics and corruption.

It opens with a quote from Hungary’s Political Director Balázs Orbán, whose government have been criticized for restricting freedom of the press: “Ki uralja egy adott ország médiáját, az eldönti, hogy ki uralja az adott ország gondolkodását, és ezen keresztül, hogy ki uralja az adott országot.” Translation: “Whoever controls the media, controls the mindset of that country and through that, the country itself.” Featured Carribean artist Queen Omega urges people to think for themselves and stand up for their rights in the outro.

Azahriah’s output doesn’t stop there. This year the rising star also released an EP in collaboration with fellow Hungarian rapper DESH. 

What will 2024 have in store? Only time will tell, but it doesn’t look as though Azahriah is slowing down any time soon.

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