The US's Billboard magazine recently featured on its cover Korean music mogul J.Y. Park
, who heads JYP Entertainment. Park's full head shot was printed against a backdrop of uniquely Asian design. The renowned pop music magazine, better known for its 'Billboard charts', has been placing full front page ads of esteemed musicians and record agencies on its cover from a few years ago. Not only did it choose Park for its recent cover but the magazine will also include an article on album release plans by Min, a singer Park has fostered.
From singer to producer
Park says that he slept only three hours in the last 100 days before the college entrance examination during his high school senior year. During his three years in middle school, his body was patched up a hundred times from bruises from constant fist fights. But his cram style of studying managed to earn him a high score in both the high school and college entrance exams. He shaved his head and studied extensively in the last days before the college exam to successfully enter the prestigious Yonsei University. But once at Yonsei, he realized how he lagged behind other students, which he thought was due to his passionate love for music and dancing from early on as a child. A Yonsei student who was also a dancer/singer was nearly unheard of back then, so Park decided to focus on his music talent. He could not stand being the same as everyone else. So he nearly flunked classes and honed his singing and dancing skill for two years while living together with a composer/producer. He finally could live up to the title of a 'dance singer who went to Yonsei'. The Yonsei graduate in geology became a huge star in the '90s with his provocative and sexy lyrics and dancing. His daring style continued from his hit '94 debut song 'Don't Leave Me' to the popular 'hit stroking dance' and the explicitly sexual 'Elevator'. Since 2000, he has focused more on composing and producing to develop star singers like Park Ji-yoon
, GOD, Rain
Knocking on the US market
He first knocked on the door to the US market in 2004. He rented a tiny room in LA and went around passing his music tapes to prominent Afro-American music officials. When he first began sending demo CDs to American hip hop artists, he signed his name as "JYP". The 35 year-old business-savvy record agency chief didn't want to publicize the fact that he was Asian. But his last name Park was a telltale sign. He feared that American artists and producers wouldn't even consider his music due to his ethnicity. Three years later now through his company JYP Entertainment, Park is helping to narrow the quality of music produced by Western and Asian producers. Since writing music for hit albums of rappers Will Smith and Mase, Park channeled his energy into the marketing and publicity for Rain
, the first Asian singer to enter the US who made 20 billion won in sales last year. US record agency chiefs now want to partner up with Park. Based on his successful accomplishments, he will open JYP USA in Manhattan New York next week. His first goal is to negotiate with US record agencies and producers and land contracts. His second goal is to train his students in the US music style to catapult them as global stars. He is more interested in producing stars for China than the US market, which he believes is already saturated and limited. To this end, he plans to translate JYP's achievement in the US to help his artists' success in the Asian region.
'JYP USA' fosters Asian global talents
The JYP USA building has a traditional Korean paper window design on its exterior. Park calls it the 'gateway to Asia' and describes the building as an academy. There are eight lodgings for aspiring artists, most of them teenagers, a dance practice room, recording studio and an office for his eight staff members. Until the release of their first album, Korean and Chinese would-be singers, whom Park call his students, all register with the academy. They take grueling classes in music theory, composition, arrangement, instruments, singing, acting and even English. Park has particularly high expectations of Min, a cute 15 year-old set to release her first single in October. She is now fluent in English and has begun learning Chinese. Park pulled off an unbelievable feat. He managed to hook up Min with producer Lil Jon, a big name in American rap music and the man behind the development of the Afro-American music of Crunk & B. When Park first declared he would go to the US four years ago, most people were skeptical. Critics thought it was reckless to give up his guaranteed success in Korea and venture to America. The fact that his early years in New York were marked with tears and frustration only honed his unyielding spirit and will advance him further in his ambitions.