Jackson Wang brings perseverance, energy to K-pop


Courtesy of Fendi.com

Jackson Wang, photographed for Fendi’s 2018 fall photoshoot, F is for Fendi. Wang has also released his own collaboration with Fendi and even has a song called “FendiMan” where the rapper is seen sporting Fendi clothing statements and accessories.

Got7, which was formed in 2014, consists of seven members: JaeBum, Jinyoung, Jackson, Mark, BamBam, Youngjae and Yugyeom. With their smooth dance moves, harmonious melodies and touching lyrics, along with the playful banter and teasing between the members, Got7 instantly became a recognized boy band not just in the Asia province, but worldwide. The band is also preparing for their upcoming comeback on April 20. 

Sherri Ter Molen, an adjunct instructor at DePaul University, has focused on Korean pop music, the Korean wave and South Korean culture in her dissertation. Prior to Got7 becoming more worldwide, she attended one of their early fan meetings, which was held within walking distance of her home.  

“When I went to the fan meeting, I knew some of the other attendees there and the people who were attending were waiting in line and the line wrapped way around the building and Got7 was newer, they were just having a fan meeting they didn’t even have enough music at that point to have a full concert,” said Molen. “And I just [couldn’t] believe the number of fans [that] were there supporting this young group.” 

The Korean wave that has established a lasting and prominent impact in western entertainment for the past decade has become the pedestal for the emergence of two coasts bonding together through music, shows and cultures. In her dissertation, she highlighted the example of a 42-year-old man in the United States who after watching the Korean drama “Princess Hours” became so enthralled with the culture, chastity and plot that he canceled his cable subscription due to not wanting to see non-Korean content. His hunger and love for the media led him to travel around the world to see his favorite idols and he even switched up little things around in his household, such as replacing silverware with chopsticks. 

The change that is seen in the lifestyle of that one particular man, is also reflected in the change seen among over 17 million people by an active member of the band Got7 and solo artist, Jackson Wang. 

Soulful lyrics piercing the hearts of the listeners; holding a powerful hunger and determination to bring revolutionary change to the world of music and humanity; success and opportunity showering like raindrops upon an anchor of humbleness and generosity; Wang’s story is now accelerating into the world of western music. 

Wang, also known as Wang Ka-yee and Wang Jia Er, was born in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong on March 28, 1994, into a household where hard work, perseverance and athletics were a prominent theme. Both of his parents were recognized, champion Olympians, resulting in Wang to inherit this mindset to achieve the highest levels of your dreams. His swiftness, strength, and focus led him numerous achievements such as obtaining the first place position at the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championship in 2011, according to the championship archives. Furthermore, his success also resulted in him obtaining a scholarship to Stanford University, which he turned down in order to continue his journey into the world of music.   

“At first I started out as a representative for Hong Kong, a national team player, so [the] University of Hong Kong and Stanford offered me scholarships if I could represent their school when I went out for competitions,” said Wang for an interview with a Chinese cooking show “Go Fridge.” 

In the interview, Wang went on to provide details about how his friends and father would encourage and support his journey as a future athlete by calling him a “Fencing-God” or “Fencing gold medalist king” and that he could win a gold medal if he competed in the Olympics. However, after passing an audition for JYP Entertainment, Wang realized that his dream ultimately resided in making music for the world. 

“My interest was making music and rap but ah, how do I say this? At that point in time, I was preparing for the London Olympics, but I felt that I only have one life, I want to do more things in life. Successfully achieving it is one thing but I just wanted to do more things,” said Wang. 

Prior to Wang auditioning for JYP Entertainment, he attended the American International School (AIS) in Hong Kong, a learning institution that provides education through the grade levels of elementary, middle and high school. With one year left to graduate, Wang’s sudden decision to focus on music left certain faculty close to him shocked; however, they now beam with pride at the success and name Wang has created for himself alongside carrying the key morals taught to all of the students at AIS. 

“I’ve been very happy to be able to follow his success, to see the great things that he’s accomplished and tour the world, it’s quite a thrill,” said Timothy Gartz, a previous counselor for AIS. 

When watching the documentary, The Alumni, one common theme was present in the responses for the interviews and it was about Wang’s personality. They highlighted that because of his social, energetic and positive personality, he was an extremely easy person to communicate with and Wang had become a beacon of light with his humor, his smile, and laughter. Ultimately, this also became the reason why millions of fans around the world were immediately drawn to him after seeing his appearance on variety shows and later, in the debut of Got7. 

Similarly, Wang’s music has had an equally empowering impact nationwide with his songs with over millions of views and notable collaborations with artists such as Gucci Mane and Rich Brian. However, like Wang has mentioned in the past that he wants to do more things, the awe-inspiring rapper is also an entrepreneur and a Fendi fashion muse, according to Vogue UK.  With raps that bring a powerful vibe, subtle, sharp and graceful dance moves, astounding visuals to make unforgettable music videos, Wang is becoming an artist appreciated by multiple western artists. 

“He’s empowered me in a way that inspires me to do more. He has many talents and his personality is very optimistic and hard-working. He fences which makes him the first person I know that does that and that’s pretty unique,” said DePaul junior Anja Bencun. “He puts a lot of time and effort into his music and that I think inspires people to always put their all into their craft.” 

Wang’s charisma, jovial attitude, hilarious jokes and playful persona have soothed the hearts of so many during a time where the world is desperately clawing at the ropes of hope and support amidst the global pandemic. The beauty of Wang’s determination for his craft and this need of bringing change to the world is such that even when the world and society are at a standstill, he still dedicates his every being into making music for the world. 

“It’s great to see how he’s marketed himself all over the world. He’s proud of who he is and what he does and he isn’t afraid to share it with the world. He really is a special artist, and his confidence sets him apart from a lot of other artists as well! He has that special something, and it shines,” said Sophia Alonzo, a junior at Columbia College Chicago. 

In a recent interview with Vogue UK, he joked at how because of the prolonged hours he’s been spending in the studio during the past couple of weeks, he’s essentially “married” to it and his work is his “wife.” 

“Every single day, I’ve been in the studio. I’ve been almost living there for the past two weeks, just recording song after song,” said Wang. “I’m married to the studio right now — working is my wife.” 

Spending half of the year in a boyband and the other half working on your own solo projects is not an easy task, essentially doing two years’ worth of work in one year with hardly any breaks in between, but that is what makes Wang so admirable. That despite his hectic schedule, a single smile from such a driven young man alights the hearts of youth that are striving to leave their own mark in this world. Such a role model, not only for the world of music but for humanity is a rare gemstone that is rightfully being cherished and will be cherished until the end of time. Wang is that individual, who even in tumultuous times, strives to contribute to the greater good of mankind and the world is truly blessed to have honored someone with a heart the size of the galaxy and with a love resembling the blazing sun. There is no doubt that Wang is not only the paradigm of esteemed excellence in this generation, but will be an epitome of dedication and perseverance for generations to come.