A Singaporean businessman who moved to South Korea in May 2021 has realized his mission to become a K-pop artist.
David Yong, the 35-year-old CEO of Evergreen Group Holdings, revealed that he decided to become a K-pop talent after exploring a business idea.
Yong released his hip-hop debut track “In My Pocket,” featuring rapper Kid Milli, on July 5. Co-produced by former 4Minute member Jeon Ji-yoon, the music video has been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube as of this writing. He also collaborated with R&B group 4Men on the song “My Way,” which was part of the soundtrack of the K-drama “School 2021.” In an interview with The Korea Times, Yong revealed that the biggest challenge he faced was a language barrier as the producers and artists “only communicated in Korean.”
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“When I first came here, it was pretty difficult to learn Korean fast enough to be able to communicate efficiently and properly with my producers,” he said. “So I had to cram everything in a short period of time ― maybe about two to four months. It was quite intense to train and learn the language and culture of Korea at the same time.”
Yong revealed that he plans to bring talented Southeast Asian musicians to the Korean music scene while also exporting Korean content in a bid to connect Korea and Southeast Asia.
The idea to become a K-artist came as he was discussing business with the management agency Rainbow Bridge World (RBW), the company behind girl group Mamamoo.
“I and RBW first started off by discussing possible partnerships that we could do to target the Southeast Asian music market, as both of us were very keen on exporting Korean content,” Yong explained to The Korea Times. “As we talked about different business projects, RBW found that I had the potential to become an influencer CEO, instead of just handling the business. So I got to showcase my own music after signing a contract with RBW.”
Yong believed that by becoming a singer himself, he would be able to explore the K-pop scene first-hand and help him with his K-pop business idea.
He attributed the success of his K-pop debut to the help he received from artists Jeon and Kid Millie.
“In the case of Jeon, who has many years of singing experience, [she] helped me with some training, too,” he said. “She guided me and taught me a lot of different techniques that I have to be aware of as a K-pop singer.”
Yong revealed that he wants to release another track next year and collaborate with other known K-pop stars. He is also set to begin a number of projects in 2023, including a K-pop music festival concert in Southeast Asia and a pop-up for K-pop training in Singapore.
In an earlier interview with Mothership, Yong said his training program will ensure aspiring artists meet at least the “bare minimum standard required” to better prepare them for the entertainment industry.
“For the young generation, they shouldn’t limit themselves to having [just] one pursuit in life,” he noted. “They should open themselves up to more opportunities that might come along the way rather than just having one goal in mind […] and who knows, it might even do better for them.”