“South Korea at the time was and still is the top of the Asian [music] market.”
9 years ago, after graduating from Berklee College of Music, Gen took a leap of faith and moved to Seoul, South Korea. There, he started a production team with his friends to pursue music in the world of K-pop.
The Hallyu wave had already gained significant popularity and global visibility, leading to intense competition within the industry. Gen exhausted all his leads to pitch his songs in hopes to have them placed.
His breakthrough moment came in 2013, when he produced “Goodbye Summer” with f(x)’s Amber for her group’s album, Pink Tape. The album received critical acclaim and has been named by Billboard as one of the greatest K-pop albums of the 2010s.
The positive response put Gen on the map and soon, he was making tunes for some of the biggest K-pop names then such as Super Junior, Got7 and more.
With hits integral to K-pop’s history under his belt, it was time for Gen to take the next step: becoming a performer. But even his personal endeavours have bigger intentions.
He felt that for the Mandopop industry to grow, it needed to have a variety of genres. This would encourage more creative freedom and give budding musicians easier access to the music scene.
“The industry is accustomed to a certain kind of sound when we think of Mandopop, but in fact there can be space for different kinds of expression,” he shared, and he does exactly that with his Mandarin R&B tracks.
After almost a decade of writing and rewriting the sounds of K-pop and Mandopop, Gen instinctively knows what works and what doesn’t.
He helps other artistes find their sound by placing self-expression and individuality at the centre of it all, while leveraging their vocal strengths to then achieve soundtracks anchored by their identities.
To challenge the status quo is often the path less travelled, but Gen’s audaciousness has led him to look beyond limits and discover the unheard. Exemplifying his journey, his cocktail, the Neo Crusta puts a pandan-flavoured twist on a classic recipe.
So what’s next for Gen?
“The search for the next ear-worm continues, and I hope to be part of that [pursuit], to let my music be a part of your life,” he said.
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