Korean Contestant Dami Im Becomes Australia’s “X-Factor” Winner

To the delight of her many fans, Korean contestant Dami Im won Australia’s X-Factor last night.

The 25-year-old signer was born in South Korea and moved to Australia at the young age of 9. The Sydney Morning Herald notes that Im was teased because of her accent when she arrived in Australia and now suffers from shyness.

Luckily, her humble personality was loved by many. In fact, The Guardian has named Im “the least annoying winner in Australian reality TV history.”

But before she won the love of the public, Im first won over the judges during her audition piece. Though the judges admit to having low expectations, they were blown away when Im belted out Mariah Carey’s “Hero” and were quick to give her a standing ovation.

At one point during “bootcamp”, Im was sent home for forgetting the lyrics.  However, a contestant dropped out and she was able to return to the show and and gain her victory.

The Guardian explains that Im quickly became a fan favorite and for good reason.

Not only was Dami the season’s strongest singer, most consistently exciting performer and most stylish coathanger, but her quietly confident and reserved personality was a stark rejoinder to the usual excitably hammy reality show contestant. Finally, here’s someone who can belt out Purple Rain while wearing lace dragon wings and getting doused in water, and still casually act like it’s no big thing.

 

Im proved to be quite the entertainer. From crazy outfits to outrageous performances, Im clearly became the one to watch.

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Last night, with a hand over her mouth in shock and joy, Im sank to her knees when she was announced the winner. Of course, her achievement was not without difficulties. Im was immediately met with twitter comments all generated towards her race. News.com.au reports that some claim Im was not worthy of the title because  “it’s not Australian X Factor if an Asian wins.” Luckily, even more fans rose to her defense.

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And what else can silence the viewers who claim Im was not worthy of the title? Maybe the fact that Im’s song already rose to the number one spot on iTunes in less than 24 hours.

Experts are claiming that Im has a good shot at being the first Asian-Australian popstar and we’re waiting anxiously to see when this happens.

 

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(Source 1, 2, 3, 4)

Asian American Indie Band Swears Their Name Isn’t Racist

Story by Young Rae Kim.

The Asian American band, The Slants, have been unsuccessful in trying to trademark their name. For four years, the six-member rock band hailing from Portland, Ore., has been fighting with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which has denied approval, saying the name is disparaging for people of Asian descent.

Simon Tam, the founder and bassist of The Slants, responded by saying that the PTO has rejected their request on the basis of their ethnicity, while a Caucasian band would not be denied this name, NPR reported.

The group, which describes its sound as “Chinatown dance rock,” have already had several attempts shot down by the PTO.

In 2009, the group attempted to “reclaim” the racist term and applied for a trademark with the patent office. However, they were denied approval, to which the band responded by saying that the term holds multiple meanings. For instance, they argued that in their case The Slants referred to musical chords.

However, the PTO ruled that the “The intent of an applicant to disparage the referenced group is not necessary to find that the mark does, in fact, disparage that group.”

The band tried again in 2011, but with a different approach. This time they claimed the name has nothing to with anything Asian.  However, it was refused for the second time.

 

Yet again, the band a now trying another tactic and are now preparing to take the case to federal circuit court, where they are claiming that their right to free speech has been violated. It will be another tough battle because the PTO does not forbid the band to call themselves The Slants, it just does not allow them to trademark the name.

The band is hoping the courts see it differently, and if not, the national attention from the legal battle won’t hurt them.

 

This story was originally published in KoreAm Journal

Lorde’s Next Hit Track Is … a K-pop Song?

Well, not exactly.  But, it seems that the 16-year old singer has been hit by the hallyu wave and may be joining the ranks of Teddy Riley, will.i.am, Diplo, Bauuer, Missy Eliott and host of others on the list of non-Korean artists who have worked on K-Pop tracks.

In a recent interview with Clash Magazine, the songstress and writer behind the smash hit “Royals” expressed to branch out when it comes to writing music, mentioning that she’d love to pen a track for a K-Pop girl group.  The reason?  The ridiculously catchy melodies and out-of-this-world, extravagant concepts that have become the hallmark of the genre.  She mentions:

“Girl bands are only cool if they’re so ridiculous it’s awesome, like the K-Pop girl bands with twelve people who rule the country. I’d write for a Korean girl band, definitely – some of their melodies are the best pop.”

There’s more than enough groups that she can choose from — Wikipedia lists a total of 78 current groups — we must admit, that we have a shortlist of acts that we’d love to see her work with (aka Girl’s Generation, 2NE1 and miss A).

Most online readers were open, even excited, for the prospect of Lorde making a crossover into Korean pop:

“Oh my gosh if this happens, I’ll love K-Pop even more!”
“Lorde wants to write music for K-pop? YOU GO GIRL.”
“See even Lorde wants to write lyrics for a k-pop girl group. Yes. Be jealous, haters.”

And there should be reason to be excited.  If Lorde can bring her art pop, minimal electronica sound to the sometimes-stagnant K-Pop sphere, definitely sign us up for a first-listen; it’ll be something to listen to, without a doubt.

 

 

(Source; Photo Source: Billboard)

Must-See Video | Welcome to The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

Sure the 2020 Olympics is years away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be excited about it. Japan certainly seems excited to host the big event. Earlier in September, much to the excitement of Japanese citizens, it was announced that Tokyo would host the Olympic games in 2020. Of course, this decision was made after the Japanese prime minister flew in to reassure voters that radioactive leaks from the Fukushima power plant would not create a health risk.

“Here in Buenos Aires, we have received many voices of support and felt the passion from people in Japan,” says Tokyo governor Naoki Inose. “I am overjoyed to learn that our dream has come true.”

By hosting the Olympics in 2020, Tokyo will be the first Asian city to host the Olympics twice, having also hosted the 1964 Games.

In honor of the big event, World Order, a Japanese band which started in 2009, decided to create “Welcome to Tokyo.” The band, which was created by former mixed martial artist Genki Sudo, combines music, slow-motion moves and robotic moves.  The video has already gathered nearly 800,000 views and for good reason — its both hypnotizing and entertaining.

Be sure to check out their other visually stunning piece below:

 

MUST SEE: Most Epic Guns N’ Roses Cover (Using Ancient Chinese Instrument)

On the list of instruments that you would associate with amazing rock music, the guzheng probably doesn’t come to mind. In fact, many of you may not even know what the guzheng is.

The guzheng is an ancient Chinese instrument with 18 or more strings and movable bridges and is arguably the most played instrument in China. It is related to the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum and the Vietnamese đàn tranh.


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Vancouver musician Michelle Kwan decided to show us just how versatile and just how amazing this instrument truly is. Kwan decided to cover one of the most unlikely songs for the regal instrument: the Guns N’ Roses’ hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Although this doesn’t sound like the greatest of combinations, Kwan proves us all wrong by delivering one of the most epic Guns N’ Roses covers we’ve seen yet. Check it out for yourself:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the song, be sure to check out the original so you can fully appreciate how amazing Kwan’s cover is.

 

The Ultimate Duo: Judith Hill and Josh Groban

When we interviewed Judith HIll for our Fall 2013 issue, we knew right then and there that she was a force to be reckoned with.

“The first song I [ever] wrote was a gospel song called ‘God Has Made,’” remembers Judith Hill. The singer/songwriter was only 4 at the time, but she still has a recording of it. “It goes, ‘God has made / the birds and the bees,’” she sings, laughing. “It’s pretty bad singing, but I guess for a 4-year-old, it’s not that bad.”

Already discovering her passion at the age of four, the 29-year-old went on to do amazing things. She was chosen by Michael Jackson to be his duet partner for his “This Is It” comeback tour and quickly became a fan favorite during her time on The Voice. Now, she has another achievement to add onto her list.

We weren’t the only ones to notice the amazing skills of this half-Japanese singer. The multi-platinum-selling singer, songwriter and actor Josh Groban decided to join forces with Hill who has been praised by Rolling Stone for having “stellar powerhouse vocals.” 

Hill has been opening for Groban’s “In The Round” tour. Additionally, Hill joins Groban for two songs: “The Prayer” and “Remember When It Rains.”

Already, audiences can’t get enough of the duo. One youtube viewer commented, “This is beautiful. Both of you have very powerful voices. Josh you get better every time you sing this. Good luck on the next tour tomorrow.”

 

 

The tour has only gone on for a few days, but the duo has already been showered with praise and compliments. Make sure you don’t miss this breath-taking tour!

 

 

Judith Hill – Fall 2013 Tour Dates

 All dates are supporting Josh Groban unless otherwise noted. Additional headline dates to be announced.

October

2 – Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena 
3 – Portland, OR @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom (headline show)
4 – Seattle, WA @ KeyArena
6 - Sacramento, CA @ Sleep Train Arena
7 - San Jose, CA @HP Pavilion at San Jose
9 - Phoenix, AZ @ US Airways Center
11 - Salt Lake City, UT @ EnergySolutions Arena
13 - Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
15 – Denver, CO @ The Soiled Dove Underground (headline show)
16 - Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
17 – St. Louis, MO @ Lumiere Place Casino & Hotel (headline show)
19 - Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
20 - Chicago, IL @ United Center
22 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
23 - Detroit, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills
25 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
27 - Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
28 - Boston, MA @ TD Garden
30 - Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center

November

1 – State College, PA @ State Theater (headline show)
2 - Pittsburgh, PA @ CONSOL Energy Center
3 - Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center   
4 – Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head On Stage (headline show)
6 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ BB&T Center
8 - Tampa, FL @ Tampa Bay Times Forum
9 - Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
12 - Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
13 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center

December

4 – San Francisco, CA @ San Francisco War Memorial Opera – Glide Holiday Celebration

David Choi’s New Music Video Reminds Us To Stop Texting While Driving

Youtube star David Choi has joined forces with the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign.

It is reported that 75% of teens believe texting while driving is normal among their friends. As expected, texting has quickly risen to be one of the major causes of car accidents and deaths. Because of this, the “It Can Wait” campaign aims to educate people, especially teens, on the dangers of texting and driving. Simply put– its not worth risking your life for a text. It can wait. The official website tells us more about their initiative:

Each pledge made to never text while driving is a symbol of commitment to be part of a movement that helps everyone make safe choices with their wireless devices on the road. Teens on average, text five times more a day than a typical adult. That’s a lot of texting! And drivers that text while driving are much more likely to be in a crash*. So we are partnering with teens to get the word out about the serious effect texting and driving could have on their friends, their loved ones and their future.

 

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“Chill Tonight” is David Choi’s new song and music video dedicated to the campaign. The lyrics remind us that couples can be sweet and understanding without texting one another while driving.

Choi was also able to include other stars such as Big Phony, Kero One, Arden Cho to participate in this video by taking the pledge themselves. Check it out for yourself below:

And what could possibly be cuter than David Choi writing a song for a good cause? That would be his excitement to spread the word about it.

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MUST WATCH: Tessanne Chin Wows “The Voice” Judges

The Voice has found another amazing star. 28-year-old reggae fusion recording artist, Tessanne Chin, recently graced the stage of The Voice with her powerful vocals.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, this Half-Chinese beauty is most known for her hit singles “Hideaway” and “Messenger”. Both songs were featured in her 2010 solo album In Between Words.

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After only moments of showing off her vocals, Chin got all four judges to turn their seat in amazement. With a warm personality and a breath-taking smile, Chin quickly won over the judges, the audience, and viewers at home.

Sure to be a fan favorite, Chin has chosen to be on Adam’s team (he did give her a standing ovation afterall). Check out the performance yourself and be sure to keep an eye out. This one is definitely going places.

 

 

Judith Hill is Preparing To Release Her Debut Pop, Funk & Soul Album

The Japanese-African American singer who won over TV audiences with her performances on NBC’s The Voice is preparing to release her debut pop, funk and soul album. Story by Ada Tseng.

“The first song I [ever] wrote was a gospel song called ‘God Has Made,’” remembers Judith Hill. The singer/songwriter was only 4 at the time, but she still has a recording of it. “It goes, ‘God has made / the birds and the bees,’” she sings, laughing. “It’s pretty bad singing, but I guess for a 4-year-old, it’s not that bad.”

Now 29, Hill has been recording albums with her parents, both professional musicians, since she was a kid. Her mother, a Japanese American classical pianist, and her father, an African American bass player, met while playing in The Chester Thompson Band, a funk band in the ’70s. Rufus and Sly and the Family Stone were regulars in the Hill household.

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Judith Hill made a name for herself when she was chosen by Michael Jackson to be his duet partner for his “This Is It” comeback tour, originally scheduled for 2009. When Jackson passed away prematurely, Hill sang a memorable rendition of “Heal the World” at his televised memorial. In the next few years, Hill performed internationally, recorded a song with Japanese American singer Ai, composed songs for Spike Lee’s film Red Hook Summer, and sang back-up for Stevie Wonder — keeping busy, but not quite ready to step back into the mainstream spotlight.

When she decided to audition for NBC’s The Voice in 2013, Hill was aware of the stigma of entering a prime time TV singing competition.

“In the beginning, whenever I told people that I was going on The Voice, they were like ‘What are you doing?’” says Hill. “At first, I felt that way about reality shows too, but then I looked at it objectively. In this day and age, the music business has changed so much, and we, as artists, have to find different ways to get ourselves out there. And television is the strongest thing right now.”

Most importantly, Hill wanted to show the world her artistry. To prepare for her audition, a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants,” she jammed with her mom at the piano until she discovered how to make the song her own.

“The original melody is very percussive, and I basically took the lyric and created my own soulful melody,” says Hill. “Then I sang the chorus as everyone knows it, and I knew that was what was going to sell it. As a soul singer, I have to have the freedom to play, so that’s why I slowed it down and loosened up the phrases and melodies. Then that’s when my voice shines the most.”

This type of musicality ended up defining Hill’s signature style on the show, whether she was in her comfort zone covering Nina Simone’s jazzy “Feeling Good“ or completely transforming songs such as Will.i.Am’s up-tempo “#thatpower.”

While reality shows can come across as packaged, Hill was pleasantly surprised at how much freedom she was given to compose her covers each week. “I had almost 100 percent creative control,” she says. “That’s what made it so good. The music department really respected me, so I was able to bring in my arrangements and charts, give it to the band, and they played it exactly how I wanted them to play it.”

Hill, a lover of fashion, was also able to work with the wardrobe department to make sure the visuals of her performance had the same knockout quality as her vocals. Because of these supportive collaborations, even after her much-contested elimination after her Top 8 performance, Hill emerged from the show more confident as she moves forward with plans to release her debut solo album.

“The stylist from The Voice really helped me understand myself more,” says Hill. “There’s something I love about looking elegant but also edgy, and I think this describes my music, too. All my music is a very classic soul sound, but it’s also edgy with the funk, the dance music, and the ethnic sounds. There’s also something about coming onstage with a fierce, exotic and high-fashion look that helps empower me. It’s a part of who I am and what I love.”

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

MUST WATCH: Talented Filipino YouTube Sensations on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”

Months ago, a video of a pair of young and talented musicians went viral. The only problem? No one could identify them. For a while, different YouTube sources were placing various labels on the mysterious duo. One source titled the video “Asian kid,” while others took a stab at guessing their race. Finally, it was confirmed that the pair are from the Philippines, but all other information about them remained a mystery.

That’s when Ellen Degeneres set her sights on finding the talented boys and sent out a public invitation.

Months later, the teenagers were identified as Aldrich Lloyd Talonding and James Walter Bucong. The two musicians accepted Ellen’s invitation and found themselves in Burbank, Calif., to perform in front of an excited audience.

During the interview, it was revealed that Talonding’s father passed away in June due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Because of this, their cover of Luther Vandross’ song, “Dance with My Father,” became even more meaningful.

The boys talked about handling YouTube stardom and girls, and even went home with a handful of goodies (a guitar and a piano!) and a check for $10,000. Watch their breathtaking performance below: