It’s back! Our friends at Kollaboration NY are putting together their 7th show on September 21 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
This year, the 7 finalists—Izzy Salinel, Justin Kim, The Mooks, Bea Go, John Quiwa, UFP, John-Flor Sisante—will compete for a chance to win one grand and open up for David Choi & Clara C‘s NYC concert at the Highline Ballroom on November 2. The lucky winner will also get an opportunity to perform at the Kollaboration Global Show and be flown to Japan for the 2012 MNET Asian Music Awards.
Hosted by the very funny Jen Kwok, (comedian, writer, musician, and Kollaboration NY alum!), and featuring guest performers Gabe Bondoc, Mitchell Grey, and last year’s Kollab NY champions, Wanted Ashiqz, this year’s show will feature top-notch performers and talented undiscovered acts. So don’t miss out!
- General Admission: $20
- VIP: $40 (Preferred seating, Express VIP entrance to Show, Express VIP entrance to After Party, Meet & greet with guest performers and finalists) Buy tickets online at http://www.kollaborationnewyork.org/tickets/
Location: Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU 566 LaGuardia Pl (between 3rd St & S Washington Sq)
New York, NY 10012 http://nyuskirball.org/
It’s no wonder that Clara C’s last show of herShakin’ Off Silence tour sold out. Doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and a large crowd filled up NYC’s Highline Ballroom in under 10 minutes. The show didn’t start until 6:30 p.m. and fans were eager to spot a glimpse of Clara C, shouting, “Is that Clara?! Where’s Clara?” Fans chatted about her as if they knew her personally, asking each other whether or not they had watched her newest YouTube videos, commenting on their favorite ones. The lights dimmed, and the show’s emcees—The Jubilee Project—introduced themselves and the opening acts.
Eric, Jason, and Eddie of The Jubilee Project
The Jubilee Project, made up of Jason, Eddie, and Eric, produce and direct videos for a good cause. The group was inspired by the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and began fundraising through their videos. The Jubilee Project’s mission statement: to make entertaining videos that will empower, enable, and inspire others to do good as well.
Wanted Ashiqz, the winners of Kollaboration NY 6, stormed the stage with their signature hip-hop/Bollywood meshed dance style to popular songs by Eminem, and Beyonce, including a tribute to Michael Jackson. Their performance ended as a voice-over thanked the group’s greatest inspiration—Bollywood.
Mree (left), Travis Graham of New Heights (right)
Next up was the 18-year-old indie folk singer/songwriter sensation,Mree. The crowd swayed in awe to Mree’s angelic voice as she played songs off of her new album, Grow. Mree has previously been proclaimed as a “web sensation,” and her single, “Against the Current,” was selected by YouTube artist,David Choi, to be featured on YouTube’s homepage.
After Mree, the action-packed music video for New Heights’ latest song featuring Clara C, “Take Me On,” started rolling—the crowd immediately recognized it and began singing along, cheering as Clara C unexpectedly pulled out a large machine gun in one of the scenes, shooting in slow motion. The band materialized and played tracks off their album, Something to Believe In. During their last song, the lead vocalist, Travis, climbed off-stage onto a fan’s shoulders and the two unsteadily ventured into the sea of people.
At long last, the crowd went wild as Clara C walked out, wide-eyed with the biggest smile on her face, surprised at the amount of people that came to see her perform. Clara was a natural onstage, even with slight microphone issues; she cracked jokes, took her shoes off to play the piano, and showed off her amazing instrumental skills. Throughout the show, Clara had an ecstatic look on her face, shouting, “Wow, I can hear you guys singing!” She made it all look so easy, and she genuinely connected with the audience.
Before the concert, Korean Beacon got a chance to sit down with Clara C to talk about her Shakin’ Off Silence tour experience, her creative process, working with Dumbfoundead and Jay Park, pre-show rituals, and why she decided to no longer be a “closet musician.”
How has the touring experience been so far? Was it everything you expected it to be?
Touring has been absolutely, positively, unbelievably amazing because we have sold out every venue and that in itself is amazing. It’s also been good because typically I just play gigs by myself but this time I have my band traveling with me. If my band can’t make it, we have New Heights backing me and New Heights is like family to me, they’re like my brothers. It’s like being on a road trip indefinitely.
Yeah, I mean there were some curve balls thrown—I learned that you can plan all you want and things don’t always pan out. But everything has exceeded my expectations.
What is your creative process like when writing songs, and where do you pull inspiration from?
I tell people I’m still a fledgling song-writer because I’ve only been doing this for a year and a half. When I started, it’s not like I was like, “Yeah, I think I’m going to do this music thing and I hope it works out.” I was just thrown into the pit and I hit the ground running. You can’t pass an opportunity by. I don’t have a process locked in yet, but typically what ends up happening and what results in my best songs is when I feel a surge of incoming emotion. I sit in front of whatever instrument is closest to me and I vomit my emotions. The vomit is my product (laughs).
What are the five things you can’t live without?
Oh my gosh, let’s see: food—noodles, the interwebs, music, a dog, and God.
Ah, come on, they’re family as well. It was funny how that song we did, “Clouds,” came about because we were having lunch, sitting in Dumb’s room and we were like, “Let’s write a song!” We kind of just canoodled through some tracks and we were like, “It should be about sunny days and life. Let’s make an inspiring, feel-good song.” And then we kind of just split without a word into 3 corners of the room, with notepads. We all scribbled for an hour and came back and said, “Okay let’s record this!”
You’re described as a “closet musician.” What was the defining moment for you when you decided to step out into the spotlight?
I think it was at Kollaboration. I’m a closet musician because I’ve loved music since the womb, but I was with some friends who told me not to do music because it was risky and I wouldn’t make it, and that I wasn’t good enough. As a result I stopped believing in myself, you know. But I found a new group of friends and they helped me believe and boosted my confidence, so I came out of the closet. My friends—the good ones—forced me to get on YouTube against my will, and forced me to enter into a bunch of competitions – Kollaboration was the third one. That was at The Shrine where the Emmys were held—I almost kissed the stage as I walked out. I performed “Offbeat,” and when I won I guess something just clicked and solidified. I was like, “Okay, Clara Chung, let’s do this.”
What’s involved in your pre-performance ritual, if any?
Honey-lemon tea and very, very strange vocal exercises, which will color me different in your mind (to get a glimpse, watch Clara’s ‘Mistletoe’ cover). Me and my band will do something like, “1, 2, 3, WE’RE AWESOME!” And I’ll throw up a prayer just to calm me. Sometimes I’ll start warming up because people don’t know this, but I get cooped up in my dressing room for hours. I can’t go outside because there are fans, and I can’t go outside outside because then I have to come back inside through the fans. I just get stuck here, and I have cabin fever, so I end up kind of like jumping-jacking around to get my energy back up.
What has been your most fulfilling experience since going on tour?
I think it might end up happening tonight because this is the last US tour stop. And this is kind of like my feet hitting the trampoline before I take off; the Asia/Australia tour is a huge thing for me, I’ve never even been to either continent. I think tonight at the end of my last song – you know when you have that moment where your eyes get glazed over and wide and you’re like, “Whoa this is happening”? I think that’s going to be tonight, especially in New York, where I was born—I love the vibe, it energizes me.
Clara C is flying to Singapore at the end of this month to kick off her APAC Tour. For full tour dates and ticket info, click here.
Watch Clara & New Heights perform a mashup of “Wake Up in Neverland” + MGMT’s “Kids” @ the Highline:
Wrapping up its nationwide run for 2011, Kollaboration returns to its flagship city of Los Angeles this Saturday, November 5.
You can read all about this year’s competitors here! Guest performers include Kpop singer G.NA, comedian Paul “PK” Kim, Clara C, and Ensemble Memo. Being based in Los Angeles also comes with the perks of having a star-studded judging panel.
Jin Akanashi – Top-selling Japanese Singer, Songwriter & Actor Ashley Choi – Head of International Business and Marketing for Blvd 34 Music Group David Choi – Singer/Songwriter Ryan Higa – YouTube Star Kelly Hu – Actress
Be sure to party the night away at Kollaboration 11′s Afterparty! Presented by Hite & Jinro, the Afterparty will be walking distance from Nokia Theatre at J. Lounge in Downtown L.A.
Kollaboration 11 @ Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live
777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles 90015
Saturday, November 5, 2011 @ 7pm Buy your tickets here!
The Hite & Jinro Afterparty @ J. Lounge 1119 S. Olive St. Los Angeles 90015
Saturday, November 5, 2011 @ 10pm
In a weekly series of posts, we will present the Top 5 Most Korean-American cities, selected not only for their numbers, but also for their visibility in mainstream America. Our research was guided by the following criteria: population, famous and/or influential locals, programs, and hotspots.
#1 Los Angeles, CA
We’ve finally reached the end of our countdown, and Los Angeles is our #1 Most Korean-American city! After immigrating and settling in the city with dreams of a new life, many Koreans found themselves suddenly displaced after the 1992 L.A. Riots (Sa-i-Gu) took its toll on businesses and homes in L.A.’s Koreatown. But since then, K-town has progressively grown into a vibrant neighborhood that combines cultural traditions with new and modern attitudes. While this may be one of those Captain Obvious moments, let us prove it to you by sharing the countless reasons why the City of Angels tops our list.
324,586 – Los Angeles metro area (population data compiled using the 2010 Census)
Dr. Sammy Lee (left) and Lt. Susan Ahn Cuddy (right)
Los Angeles is home to three Korean American pioneers: Dr. Samuel “Sammy” Lee, Susan Ahn Cuddy and K.W. Lee.
A doctor and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the past, Dr. Samuel “Sammy” Lee, the first Asian American to represent the US and win an Olympic gold medal in diving, is an inspiration to anyone with an ambitious dream. Last summer, a square in Koreatown was named after the diving hero.
Not only is Lt. Susan Ahn Cuddythe daughter of the first Korean married couple to immigrate to the U.S. in 1902, but she is also the first female gunnery officer appointed to the U.S. Navy; making her an important figure in Korean American history.
K.W. Lee, known as the “godfather of Asian American journalism,” is the founder of The Korea Times English Edition and still continues to serve on the editorial board of Color Lines Magazine. The award-winning journalist-activist also has a center inspired by his lifetime of service called the K.W. Lee Center for Leadership—a non-profit organization teaching youth how to become future leaders.
Phil Yu (left) and Paul “PK” Kim (right)
Phil Yu, the blogger behind Angry Asian Man, recently celebrated his 10th anniversary of being one of the most influential voices in our community. Through his posts, Phil has centralized Asian America by facilitating ongoing discussions about racism, activism and mainstream media’s (mis)representations of Asian Americans. This weekend, Phil will be judging Kollaboration SF 2 along with singer-songwriter Clara C.
Paul “PK” Kim is a multi-talented leader who not only created Kollaboration, the largest Asian American talent show in the world, but co-founded LiNK, a non-profit organization raising awareness to the pressing issues of North Korean refugees. PK is now the co-host and producer of MNET’s BPM: Beats Per Mnet, a daily series covering the latest and greatest in Asian pop culture. You can watch clips from the series here.
Ever since “coming out” as an undocumented immigrant, 21-year-old UCLA student David Cho is one of the handful of Asian American students putting a “human face” on the DREAM Act issue. Having recently won the Freedom From Fear Award, David founded ASPIRE (Asian Students Promoting Immigration Rights through Education) to unify undocumented Asian American students on and off campus. He’s also the 1st Korean American drum major of the UCLA marching band!
Kimchi Chronicles’ Marja Vongerichten visited KYCC this past July.
Established in 1975, the Koreatown Youth & Community Center (KYCC) offers programs and services specifically aimed towards immigrated and economically disadvantaged children, youths, and their families. Some of KYCC’s programs include clinical services, tree planting, and business education.
Through education, leadership development, and community organizing, the Korean American Coalition Los Angeles (KACLA) seeks to promote the civic and civil rights interests of the Korean American community in L.A. Last month, we covered KACLA’s 3rd annual KBBQ Cook-Off, which brought out all of the top KBBQ restaurants in K-town for all of the foodies’ delight.
Founded in the wake of California’s Proposition 8, Koreans United for Equality (KUE) unites straight and LGBTIQ Koreans in order facilitate a larger acceptance within the Korean community.
The Southern California Korean College Student Association (scKcSA) is the oldest and largest non-partisan, non-profit Korean American student organization in the US, connecting college students from eleven campuses in Southern California. scKcSA promotes a sense of Korean American heritage among students by serving the community and building a strong social network.
The KHEIR Center was initially founded in 1985 to provide quality healthcare for low-income, non-English speaking Korean immigrants. KHEIR now operates the only full-time community clinic in the country with Korean, Spanish, and English language capabilities and services 30,000 patient visits per year.
Roy Choi’s Kogi Truck was the food truck that started it all, and while many try to compete with it, nothing beats the original. Initially parking alongside curbs all over L.A., Kogi Truck now has expanded, making trips to cities in the Valley and in Orange County.
Cafe Mak is a great café to study for exams, finish up some work from the office, or catch up with your friends. The venue is spacious yet intimate with a peaceful ambience and offers free parking (gasp!) after 8pm.
Always the spot for running into people you know, Chapman Plaza boasts several sooljibs (Korean bars) and restaurants, a hookah lounge, and NRB. In the plaza, Gaam is one of the more popular sooljibs in K-town with its contemporary décor and vaulted ceilings.
Belasco is the new “it” club among today’s young Korean Americans in L.A. on Saturday nights. Hosted by Korean promo companies, Belasco’s events are notorious for keeping the party alive and well into the night. Make sure to get there early because lines have gone around the corner before. Other notable club spots are Le Circle and VR.
As a 21+ NRB, Bobos Karaoke is always a fun place to sing and drink the night away. Bobos offers rooms of many different sizes to accommodate groups of any size. With flat screens in the front and back of each room, you’ll feel a rock star performing for your friends while they sing along as your groupies.
On the flip side, KAs are also making a name for themselves behind the camera. UCLA grad Grace Lee wrote and directed The Grace Lee Project, a documentary that tries to breaks down the “Grace Lee” stereotype (i.e. “reserved, dutiful, piano-playing overachiever”). Her new film on Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, is currently in post-production. Previously based in L.A., Michael Kang has directed the Korean American feature West 32nd, which starred John Cho, Grace Park and Jeong Jun Ho. His new film, Knots, is scheduled to release sometime this year. Other filmmakers include Chil Kong and Dennis Lee.
Dumbfoundead and Priscilla Ahn
As for musicians: Priscilla Ahn‘s musical career blossomed after she touched base in L.A. to follow her music career dream. Her latest album, When You Grow Up, encompasses her growth and journey as an artist in every song. K-town’s new pride,Dumbfoundead (Jonathan Park), recently caught the attention of the L.A. Times with his track “Are We There Yet.” Singer-songwriter and YouTube extraordinaire David Choi, Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn, and Korea’s “National Fairy,” Lena Park, also call L.A home.
Known for his “dirty style,” David Choe is a K-town originated artist whose work can be distinguished by its raw, graphic and abd layered qualities. Dirty Hands: The Art and Crimes of David Choe, an art documentary based on David’s work, was recently released on DVD.
Last week, the New York Timesposted an article that focused on the success of Asian American YouTube stars. Not to hate on the Times, but its serious lack of Korean YouTube stars was something that we couldn’t ignore.
That’s why we decided to create our own list of Korean American YouTube stars. While we love acts like David Choi and Clara C—both of whom have successfully used YT as a platform to launch their careers—we wanted to feature up-and-coming talents that you should definitely know. Naturally, we couldn’t include everyone, so these acts are just some of our new favorites!
After all of the negative attention surrounding Rebecca Black, we began to seriously doubt whether our generation had become too jaded to understand innocent adolescence. 15-year-old Megan Lee shows that it’s okay for a kid to be a kid. Her rewrite of the lyrics for Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” definitely addresses a younger following, but still appeals to us older heads, showing that maybe we all just need to chill and tap into our inner child.
We are an opinionated group, and our next YT star never fails to entertain with his outrageous, sarcastic comedy and animated facial expressions. David So always had a strong YouTube following, but it wasn’t until his video response to Alexandra Wallace’s “Asians in the library” that, whether for better or worse, he gained notoriety. Just remember, comedy is comedy. Don’t take him too seriously!
Everyday more and more singers are turning to YouTube to show off their singing chops. One singing YT star that caught our eye is actually a duo! Jayesslee consists of twins Janice and Sonia Lee who were born and raised in Sydney, Australia. Their covers reinterpret classics like Tamia’s “Officially Missing You” to Wonder Girls’ “Nobody.” Their serene voices harmonize perfectly, and their Australian accents just make them that much more endearing.
Based in the San Fernando Valley, Feats in Inches may be the least known on our list, but they are a fresh breath of honest talent. You can not only hear, but feel their emotions through their heartfelt lyrics. Their eclectic combination of instruments—ranging from a violin to a melodeon (a type of reed organ)—makes them an especially unique indie band.
Out of all the beauty tutorials on YouTube, Jen, of Frmheadtotoe, is our go-to girl for makeup tips. Most of Jen’s inspirations for her tutorials come from K-pop stars like CL of 2NE1 and 4minute’s Hyuna. Jen’s makeup tutorials are great for those of us without double eyelids, and compared to others, Jen’s videos are of high-quality and have great lighting (something that is especially important for makeup tutorials). Jen shows that you can be beautiful with and without makeup, which firmly establishes her place on our list.
So that pretty much sums up our current favorites on YouTube. Help these stars out by spreading the word. It’s about time that we Koreans get recognition for our diverse talents!
Since 1972, the Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP) has worked for the community “changing lives and saving families.” In a month, on Saturday August 27th at Redondo Beach, Showtime 2011 will be wowing crowds of music lovers with performances featuring Clara C, David Choi, Jennifer Chung, Feats in Inches, and The Bricks.
Led by a great cause to help families affected by substance abuse, these musicians will undoubtedly give one heck of a performance. The event will take place in the evening running from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will include a silent auction and raffle as well as a dessert reception following the concert. According to the Showtime 2011 website, the raffle’s grand prize is a 6-7 night Royal Caribbean Cruise for two! The rest of the prizes include HD TVs, scooters and Las Vegas vacation time. For VIP ticket holders, there will also be a meet & greet with the performers. Parking is FREE, so hurry and grab your tickets to hear some good music and support a great cause!
A journey with Wong Fu Productions started back with David Choi‘s music video “Won’t Even Start” and continued on with “That Girl.” The team—which continues to out-do themselves in every video—has made another visually pleasing and sweet video for David’s “By My Side.”
The creative video compliments David’s tender song perfectly, and leaves any girl wishing she was Jenny Ong (David’s love interest in the music video). David, who just returned from his Asia-Pacific Tour, seems like he’s keeping himself busy this summer! According to his official website, David is scheduled to perform with ten-year-old music genius Ethan Bortnick on July 22-23 for a couple songs during Ethan’s Live concert at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Check out David Choi’s WongFu-produced+directed music video for “By My Side”:
Most Youtube stars have hopes of one day hitting it big with a record deal or signing contracts with big companies, but for Youtube singer David Choi, that would be the last thing he wants. Despite having his songs played on Korean TV shows and his growing fame around the world, David stays humble and true to his music.
In an interview with Asia One News, David was asked if he would ever consider doing a big project like Glee. Here’s what David said:
I have no intention of going on Glee or anything like that, because I’m not really interested in becoming famous or doing things on TV. That’s not really my goal with music. My goal is to use it as a form of expression and, maybe, people will gain something from it.
He also mentioned that he would accept a record deal if the label would give him complete control, and made sure to he could produce the kind of music he wanted and not feel pressured to change.
David is currently busy overseas on his Asian Pacific + Australia tour which goes on until early July. Ticket information and tour dates are available on David Choi’s website.
Last night, David released a teaser of his new music video for “By My Side.” The full music video, directed by Wong Fu Productions, is set to release on July 5th. Check it out!
YouTube singing sensation David Choi released his latest music video and it’s a big step up since his previous videos. The young man has 350,000 followers which is a lot bigger than a lot of artists out there. Go support one of our own and buy David’s album.