A Singaporean businessman who moved to South Korea in May 2021 has fulfilled his mission to become a K-pop artist.
David Yong, 35, 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 single “In My Pocket” with rapper Kid Milli on July 5. Co-produced by Jeon Ji-yoon, a former member of 4Minute, the music video has been viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube to date.
He also co-wrote the song “My Way” with R&B group 4Men, which was part of the soundtrack for the K-drama “School 2021”.
In an interview with The Korea Times, Yong revealed that the biggest challenge he faced was the language barrier, as producers and artists “can only communicate in Korean”.
“When I first came here, it was hard to learn Korean quickly enough to be able to communicate effectively and properly with my producers,” he said. “So I had to do everything in a short period of time — maybe about two to four months. It is quite intense to train and learn the Korean language and culture at the same time.”
Yong revealed that he plans to bring talented Southeast Asian musicians into the Korean music scene while exporting Korean content to connect Korea and Southeast Asia.
The idea to become K artist came to him when he was discussing business with the governing body Rainbow Bridge World (RBW), the company behind the girl band Mamamoo.
“RBW and I started off by talking about the partnerships we could create for the Southeast Asian music market, because we’re both very keen on exporting Korean content,” Yong explained to The Korea Times. “When we talked about different business projects, RBW saw that I had the potential to be an influential CEO, not just deal with the business. So after signing a contract with RBW, I had to show my music.”
Yong believes that by becoming a singer himself, he will be able to personally explore the K-pop scene and help him realize his K-pop business concept.
He credits the success of his K-pop debut to the help of artists Jeon and Kid Millie.
“For Jeon, who has years of singing experience, [she] also helped me with some training,” he said. “She mentored me and taught me a lot of different techniques, and I had to understand K-pop singers.”
Yong revealed that he hopes to release another song next year and collaborate with other well-known K-pop stars. He also plans to start projects in 2023, including a K-pop festival concert in Southeast Asia and a K-pop training pop-up in Singapore.
In a previous interview, Yong said his training programme would ensure that aspiring artists meet at least the “minimum required standards” in order to be better prepared for the entertainment industry.
“For the young generation, they should not limit themselves to [only] one life pursuit,” he pointed out. “They should open their minds to more opportunities that may arise, rather than just thinking about one goal […] Who knows, it might even do better for them.”