Apparently sitting a few feet away from one of the biggest (and cutest!) Asian American YouTube stars (and by that I’m saying 130,000+ subscribers and 24,000,000+ upload views) wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be, at least not with Jason Chen. I mean, his latest video cover on “Never Say Never” got 50,000+ views in just one day. But still, it’s crazy to believe that I spent two hours eating Taiwanese desserts and chatting with the guy whose songs I put on repeat.
So before I tell you how the interview went over tea and boba drinks, (with two interruptions by fans wanting to take pictures), here’s a quick intro and some fun facts:
It’s not easy breaking into the music industry; it’s even harder being an Asian trying to break into the industry, but it’s amazing how the Asian community has grown in terms of musical artists. On Friday, February 4th, talented musicians shared the stage of the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium in a concert put together by the Asian Pacific American Student Association (APASA). As one of the performers of the night explained: it’s funny how Asian parents always push us to learn instruments such as piano and violin, expect us to play them well (and by well I mean finish the highest level examination), but when we tell them we want to pursue a career in music, they just shake their heads in disagreement. Why build up our interests and discourage it later on? But nonetheless, the artists this night fought for what they were passionate for, and that’s something we should all look up to.
Opening the show was Oak & Gorski (oakandgorski), a dual formed by Ken Oak and Ed Gorski in 2004. They have sold more than 30,000 albums independently and have recently launched their newest album Love Destroyer. For the night, Ed was on the rhythm guitar and Ken on the cello as they performed several of their songs. Like Billboard Magazine described, their songs were very “soulful” and “calming.” Then, Jason Chen (miniachilles) followed with two Bruno Mars covers and his first single on iTunes, an original titled Just for a Moment. He has gained fame through YouTube in a short period of time, with more than 130,000 subscribers and more than 22,000,000 upload views. He sounds just like he does on YouTube, meaning he’s just as incredible, so it’s definitely worth seeing him live. Before intermission, guest performer Heavy Impact from ABDC hit the floor and showed us how they worked their bodies.
As the audience sat back into their seats, Jason Yang (jasonyangviolin), a USC alumni, was glad to be back performing at the place he feels most comfortable. Not only is he majorly gifted, he’s also quite humorous, as he explains that he was going to say “Happy Lunar New Year” after the section of the performance that sounds especially Chinese. His youtube received over 4,000,000 views and as his fan said, Jason is really taking violin to the next level. After was the heart-throbbing Joseph Vincent (hoorahjencar), who greeted us with his charming smirk. He really knows how to sing, but more importantly, he really knows how to engage the audience, welcoming us to sing along. His YouTube channel has over 140,000 subscribers and over 27,000,000 upload views. Clara Chung (ClaraCMusic), whose debut album released last September,was brought on to end the show. She has over 88,000 subscribers on YouTube, but her live performances are even better because she’s super cute in person and very approachable. She wasn’t afraid to get comfortable on stage by taking off her shoes too!
Subscribe to all their YouTube channels, like their facebook fan pages and attend their performances to show your support for the Asian music community!
It’s been more than a week, but I am still hyped up by the VIBE 16th Annual Dance Competition held Sunday, January 30. Yes, I was sitting next to huge speakers that were blasting loud music right at my ears, but the front seat view was totally worth it. I mean, I could see every twitch in their faces as they change expressions and even their sweat (eww, I know).
The event was held at UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center, sponsored by Kallusive and put together by Lambda Theta Delta. The judges were all renowned dancers: Angie Bunch, Beau Fournier, Candace Brown, David Moore, Galen Hooks and Kyle Hanagami. Audiences not only supported their favorite dance teams by attending, but also helped a greater cause, since part of the proceeds goes towards Camp Footprints, which is a summer camp for children with or without developmental disabilities.
Here’s a recap of the night:
The night started off with some technical difficulties, but Victor Kim entertained us with his humor; he asked an audience member to bring up a Capri-Sun because he “likes a fruity beverage before a show.” But even watching him finish his drink was not enough time for the technicians to solve the problem so he decided to fulfill one of his childhood dreams: starting a wave in the audience. With that ticked off from his to-do list, he decided to bring out Jason Yang to perform first instead to prevent any further delays. I don’t understand how Jason Yang does it, but his violin playing skills are amazing. Dumbfoundead flaunted his rapping skills and Victor Kim ended the musical section of the guest performances with his singing and acoustic guitar playing.
Hosts Lawrence Kao and Kunal Dudhekar dressed up as the Jabbawockeez then came out to introduce the first competing team IV League who impressed us with their cute costume styling. Pac Modern kept it classy with black blazers and metallic purple leggings. NSU Modern took a different approach and started with a jazzier number while exhibition team Breed had the theme of the Real Housewives, which of course can’t be conveyed without a Ke$ha imitation. Kaba Modern seemed to have many different outfits, and their dance was equally as complex. After, The Company and Super Galactic Beat Manipulators (SGBM) put their all out onto the stage. A special appearance of Judge Kyle Hanagami choreographed and showcased a touching piece, Falling; Kinjaz danced to a storyline about the journey ninjas go through just before the intermission, engaging us with their talent and comedy. Jungle Boogie Crew started the second half of the show, then CADC and 220 gave their best shot at the competition. GRV’s gray outfits may be quite bland, but as usual, their moves never fail to impress. Next was KM Legacy, followed by Entity who was the only contemporary dance team of the night. Team Millennia used the concept of a jungle where all the dancers dressed as animals; Common Ground ended their dance wearing identical black t-shirts and Choreo Cookies closed the competition with a clean routine. But before the show ends, Poreotics brought with them their junior team, Miniotics, which consists of mainly children between 10 to 12 years-old. Their cuteness is enough to steal my heart, but along with their dancing, I don’t see how anyone would want to miss it.
They were all superb, but it is a competition and there can only be one winner. Second runner-up was Common Ground who won $300 and a trophy. GRV placed as 1st runner-up and took home $500 and a trophy. Once again, Choreo Cookies stole the title of VIBE XVI Champions and continues to be the team who has won the most VIBE competitions.
This Sunday, January 30th, get ready for the hottest hip-hop competition in Southern California! Lambda Theta Delta is holding its 16th annual VIBE dance competition in Irvine to showcase only the best hip-hop teams in the West Coast. VIBE has staged some of the most recognized stars, such as the Jabbawockeez, SickStep and Far East Movement. Once again, they’re bringing many fan favorites to the stage of Bren Events Center for an amazing show. This is the night to witness competing teams show off their best moves and exhibition teams demonstrate once again why they are “must-see” acts. Music by some of YouTube’s well-known artists will also be featured.
This year, twelve teams battle it out to win the title of VIBE XVI Champs, including four past champion teams, three new teams and five returning teams who hope that this may be their year. Choreo Cookies, who have swept most of the previous titles, Kaba Modern, who appeared on America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC) and who won first place in VIBE VIII to X, Team Millennia, VIBE XII and XIII champs and CADC, VIBE XIV winners are back again for some tough competition. The teams returning to fight for the title are Pac Modern, GRV, 220, Common Ground and NSU Modern. But experienced doesn’t always mean better; they better watch out for IV League, The Company and Super Galactic Beat Manipulators who are appearing on this stage as contenders for the first time.
Aside from some intense battle, VIBE is bringing in some well-respected groups, like KM Legacy, Kinjaz and Unity LA. In addition, some of the exhibition teams you may have seen on TV in shows like ABDC, but you have yet to see their acts live. These include Jungle Boogie, Boxcuttuhs and Poreotics (featuring Miniotics, their junior team). YouTube music stars are also coming together for a never-before-seen collaboration. Look out for Dumbfoundead, the Korean American rapper from Los Angeles who may be best known for his rap battles and viral hits, Jason Yang, a growing sensation on YouTube for his mastery in the acoustic and electric violin, and Victor Kim, known not only for his membership on Quest Crew but also for his musical talents.
Don’t miss out! Pre-sale tickets are $25 and they can be purchased through (1) the Bren Event Center Box Office: 949-824-5000, (2) any Lambda Theta Delta representative, or (3) ticketmaster.com. Follow VIBE on twitter and facebook @VIBEdancecomp as well for live updates and a chance to win free tickets! A portion of their sales will be donated to a local charity.
Date: Sunday, January 30, 2011
Time: Doors open at 5 pm; Show starts at 6 pm
Venue: UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center
901 Mesa Road, Irvine, CA 92612
Cost: $25 pre-order; $30 at-the-door