Artist Spotlight: Jay Park

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

Every last weekend of the month starting today, Soundboard Asia will honor an artist for the Artist Spotlight feature, highlighting their talent, noteworthy successes and struggles within the entertainment industry. The first, whom we’ll take a closer look at his music and entertainment journey, in our line-up is Jay Park.

Tracing Jay Park’s influence, it’s almost impossible to miss his deep roots in R&B, hip hop and b-boying. Jay began his K-pop journey after auditioning with JYP Entertainment in 2005, where he kept training till debut with 2PM in 2008. A series of events led to the end of his relationship with 2PM and JYP. Nevertheless, upon returning to the US, Jay continued b-boy battling with the Art of Movement, with die-hard fans urging him to make a comeback.

Jay made small steps to re-enter public eye, first through his YouTube channel, “jayparkaom”, with a notable cover B.o.B and Bruno Mars’ “Nothin on You”, subsequently in Project Korea III: KSA Cinderella Story, a Korean-American festival and various endorsement deals with dENiZEN and various other brands. He finally returned to Korea for filming of movie, “Hype Nation”, signed a contract with SidusHQ in July 2010 to redebut in Korea and established close relations with Korean rappers. Yet, he still maintained his ties with the US through collaborations with fellow AOM member, Cha Cha Malone and other well known celebrities and YouTube influencers such as Far East Movement , Ryan Higa, KevJumba and more.

Upon releasing his first full length Korean album, “New Breed”, Jay had gone on a non-stop whirlwind ride with tours all over Asia Pacific and the US, such as MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia and APAHM concerts, shooting music videos, composing and producing songs. Check out this exclusive interview he did with Allkpop. He also joined the cast of Saturday Night Live Korea in 2013 and the launch of his label, AOMG, followed with Korean artists such as Gray, Loco, Elo, Hoody and more, under their management. Later H1GHR Music was launched in 2017, to house mostly rappers, not only in Korea but internationally as well.

With the immense experience and uphill struggles gone through in his entire career, Jay’s talent and artistry is undoubtedly one of the best in Asian Hip Hop. His authenticity, passion for Hip Hop and struggles as an Asian born and raised in America were real and he could uniquely stake claim for that within his music. The fruit of his hard work is seen through his signing with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, alongside an impressive artist line up such as Rihanna, J. Cole, DJ Khaled and more, opening more doors for his music to be heard.

Though last week, Jay announced his retirement “in a couple of years” on Twitter, stating there’s “not a lot of space for guys like me left in this game.” On a brighter note, Jay also announced the release of his YouTube Original documentary, “Chosen1”, where he spent a year working on, with the purpose to inspire and motivate people through his experiences. While it’s tough imagining the struggles he goes through, it’s certain many aren’t looking forward to his retirement.

“Chosen1” drops May 1 on YouTube. Meanwhile, other great articles documenting Jay's journey can be found on DJ Booth, South China Morning Post and E! Online.

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