Young Korean Singer Grabs Spotlight at U.S. Music Festival

      April 16, 2016 08:15


      Talent alone won't make a singer a pop star. To captivate the public, to capture their imaginations, he or she needs something more -- charisma or "star quality." Whatever it is called, 24-year-old singer and composer Dean definitely has it.

      Dean gave mesmerizing performances at South by Southwest (SXSW), one of the world's largest pop music festivals, in Austin, Texas last month. Some 100 American fans wearing "Dean" stickers on their chests followed him around throughout the festival. Dean made his debut in the U.S. before establishing himself in Korea.

      Many people think he is Korean-American due to his fluent English, lack of accent, exaggerated hand gestures, and his having debuted there. However, Dean was born and bred in Hongeun-dong, Seoul, a Korean boy much like any other who just completely fell in love with hip-hop.

      Although his dream was to become a singer, he first earned a reputation as a composer. "I wrote songs alone in my room, and kept it secret from my parents from when I was 16," Dean said. When he was 20, he started turning out hit songs for idol groups of big entertainment companies like SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment.

      With K-pop growing increasingly popular worldwide, his songs became known in the U.S., and he was approached by a number of popular American singers like Mila J and Eric Bellinger. As he began working with them, he naturally made inroads into the U.S. market, culminating with the release of a singles album in the U.S. in July last year.

      "While I was writing songs in the U.S., people would offer encouragement, hearing me sing and telling me I should release my own album as a singer. Thankfully, it was well received and I got invited to SXSW," he said.

      Dean has the ability to breathe joy into a song with a great sense of rhythm, which is crucial in mid-tempo R&B. He casts a flamboyant figure on stage and is certainly capable of grabbing an audience's attention. "It's a result of practicing really hard at home in front of the mirror," said Dean shyly.

      Dean recently released his first album in Korea and held a showcase, which drew hundreds of passionate female fans. 

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