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Roc Nation’s First: Jay Park

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Musician, dancer, choreographer, model, and CEO of not one but two insanely popular music labels, AOMG and H1GHR MUSIC and the first Asian-American recruit to Jay-Z’s music label, Roc Nation.

Jay Park (full name Park Jae-beom) was born and raised in Seattle in 1987. He landed his first serious audition as a teenager for one of South Korea’s most well-known boy bands, 2 PM. After several years of training, 2 PM produced its first track, with Jay Park as frontman.

With his band moving up on the charts, Jay Park quickly found himself embroiled in a social media scandal when his old MySpace posts were released to Korean media, in which he expressed stark anti-Korean sentiments. Under pressure, his record label JYP Entertainment kicked him out of the band, prompting his return to America. This could have easily become another has-been story, if it weren’t for the series of singing videos that Jay launched on his YouTube channel, including a cover of Bruno Mars and B.O.B’s “Nothing On You” –which received over 2 million views within less than 24 hours after it was posted.

Shortly thereafter, Jay returned to Korea and launched his career as a solo artist, performing in both Korean and English. Then came his first record label, AOMG, in 2014. His second label, H1GHR MUSIC, launched in 2017. That same year, Jay Park won “Artist of the Year” at the Korean Music Awards and was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Asian list.

Jay Park is now joining Jay-Z’s lRoc Nation, the first Asian-American to join the prestigious label.

There are a number of Asian and Asian-American artists killing it in the music industry these days and Jay Park is the perfect example of an Asian-American musician blending cultures to create a unique sound. With his b-boy background, extensive tattoo work (which is extremely disapproved of in Korean culture), and affection for black artists like Jay-Z, Usher, and Ne-Yo (for whom he was the opening act during a recent Korean tour) Jay Park’s American roots make him an intriguing figure in his parents’ native land.

Now 30 years old, Jay is hard at work on his upcoming Roc Nation album, and on keeping his own two music labels afloat.

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Nicole Kirichanskaya

Nicole Kirichanskaya is a proud daughter of Ukrainian immigrants and a born-and-raised New Yorker. In her freelance writing for publications including WAX, Nicole explores the world of fashion, beauty, pop culture, entertainment, and diversity in media. She also keeps her own blog, Fashionable Brainiac.
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