Cube Entertainment trainee wins Kollaboration DC (Full Coverage)
Cube trainee, Dave Yoon has taken out the winning title at this year’s Kollaboration DC, which featured special performances by girl group Blush and rapper Gowe.
Kollaboration‘s history states that it was founded by Paul PK Kim in Los Angeles (2000), and was established as an organization whose mission is to promote positive and accurate perceptions of Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) by providing a platform for artist to showcase their talents. As the years have passed by, the completely “volunteer-run” organization has expanded to thirteen major cities, while producing fifteen showcases a year, as they continue their ongoing mission to inspire, educate, empower, and unify the API community. But, it takes only one look to truly understand that there is so much more to Kollaboration than just that.
Kollaboration’s slogan, “Empowerment though Entertainment”, may seem simplistic in nature to some but the feelings and passions it invokes within its supporters are far from ordinary. Their dedication, drive, and determination to uplift and inspire the API community is something that, once experienced first hand, you will never truly forget.
Through our ongoing partnership with Kollaboration chapters through out North America, we at hellokpop have had the absolute pleasure in not only meeting and working with some of the best and brightest API artist and professionals in the United States, but have also had the honor to experience the movement’s true passion first-hand during the Kollaboration DC‘s 4th Annual Showcase and Competition (KDC4) at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium on September 28.
“Niddy” Buckner, Shervonne Brown, Dave Tauler, and Kyra Koh.
The event boasted an impressive VIP guest list with appearances from artist such as David Tauler, Kyra Koh, and Shervonne Brown from DTMG, Aaron and Beau Canlas from SNRG, Executive Chef Tim Ma, Kenji Brown from Rose Royce, and a very special appearance from Billboard Entertainment Group LLC‘s founder and well known A&R executive, Tyrone “Niddy” Buckner.
Hosted by Jenny Yang (pictured above), KDC4 showcased a myriad of talented API artists from the DC area. The event was presided over by guest judges Lumi Bustamante (former KDC champion), composer Andrew Scott Bell, Phillip “Phil Good” Lee from Rooftop Pursuit, Jammin’ Java‘s Mei Verba, A-Tunes.net‘s creator Newton “Gifted Thought” Speirs, Arena Stage‘s Casting Director Daniel Pruksarnukul, and Concert Tour Director/Director of ROA Entertainment‘s Eric Han – producer of large scale tours for artists such as Big Bang, 2NE1, Girl’s Generation, BEAST, B.A.P, EXO, and Sistar.
The event also featured spoken word performances from last year’s champion George Yamazawa Jr (photo above) and Korean-American poet Franny Choi, a collaborative dance performance by KickRocks Crew and UpperClassMen, and headlining performances from the Seattle-based rapper Gowe (Gifted on West East) and the multicultural pop group sensation BLUSH.
Gowe (Gifted on West East)
Seattle based rapper, Gowe (Gifted on West East) is no stranger to the stage and the hip-hop scene. Getting his start in small venues around Seattle, he has perfected his craft and brings to the stage music that is not only inspirational and unique but eloquent and poignant. He believes that music is a great medium that can connect people of all different backgrounds and beliefs. He is not afraid to push the boundaries of what popular culture believes is the essence of Hip-hop and is determined to bring the genre’s true beauty and emotions to the world.
Music is a time machine. – Gowe (Gifted on West East)
How did you get your start into to music?
“When I was in college, I had been writing for about six years or so. I did a lot of “open mics”. I’m from Seattle. The Indie music scene is pretty big there so, we have a ton of “open mic” nights. I did talent shows and showcases but it was through Kollaboration Seattle that I got my first big launching pad. ”
Gowe – First Flight (feat. Travis Graham of New Heights)
GOWE: “I think music has always been a big part of my life ever since I was young. The biggest reason why I got into it was because, when I was younger, a lot of my friends listened to hip-hop. Before I was a hip-hopper, I was really into poetry and it was a big part of my life.
When my friends started to get into to hip-hop, I got into it for the same reasons as them -because it was popular. As time progressed, my reasoning changed to something quite different.”
Do you feel that Kollaboration was an integral part of your career? Had you not participated, do you think you would be where you are today?
“Had I not gone to Kollaboration, I definitely don’t think I would be where I am now. Until then, I was just doing music. I was pretty passionate about it and took every opportunity that I could, but I was doing it on my own. Kollaboration brought to the table a sense of community.
My talent was there, and I felt like the music was great, but that connection and having other people in my life to support me, wasn’t there. The connections I made through Kollaboration, the directors I met, and the experiences I had were extremely important to my growth as an artist. I owe them so much. ”
The multicultural pop sensation Blush, first came onto the international music scene in 2011 and has subsequently taken the music industry by storm. Their debut single Undivided, not only featured hip-hop’s most iconic rapper Snoop Dogg but also stormed the US Billboard Dance/Play Charts in 2012 – placing in the top three. Their follow up single, Dance On, graced the number one spot on the same chart only a few months later.
With impressive vocals, on-point choreography, phenomenal looks, and fun loving personalities, Blush members Ji Hae Lee (S. Korea), Victoria Chan (China), Natsuko Danjo (Japan), Alisha Budhrani (India), and Angeli Flores (Phillipines) were chosen from thousands of auditions held across their native countries.
Signed under FarWest Entertainment, these lovely ladies break that mold of your “typical female Asian pop group” by bringing to the stage not only a highly energized and edgy musical mix of pop, R&B, and dance but also a sincere and inspirational determination that leaves the audience in awe.
Blush – All Stars
Do you feel your career, at the moment, is where you wanted to be or did you think you would be further along by now?
Alisha: “I think when you start off as a group, you -of course- want to grab it fast. You want everything to happen fast. Over the last three years we’ve learned, through ups and downs, that you can’t just ‘get it”. You have to work and you have to be careful how you work for it.
You have to make sure you look the right way, you singe the right songs, and if you’re going to portray yourself in the right image, it has to match. It has to match in other aspects -because its a whole package.
It takes time. You know? So, now a days, it’s easier because we’ve all grown up. We’ve learned on our own. We’ve gone to events, we’ve met so many producers, and we’ve written songs. So, its been great. It’s a way for us to learn. I think we’re at a good place right now.”
Victoria: “And without this opportunity, we wouldn’t have ever done the things we’ve done. We wouldn’t have been able to meet people like Quincy Jones. It’s really been an honor to be on this journey. It’s definitely exceeded our expectations.”
So, what was it like meeting the legendary Quincy Jones in person? Were you start struck at all?
All: [Laughter and Agreement] Yes. Of course.
Alisha: “We kinda didn’t know what to say -when we had so much to say and ask. We just thought we were going to meet him for five or ten minutes for a courtesy meeting but then we met him and he said ‘I want you to sing for us‘. He had a bunch of people with him. We were like like ‘ut oh, Quincy Jones is asking us to sing! We have to be perfect. The singing has to be perfect. The vibe has to be perfect. And the energy has to be perfect ‘. We did it and he was like ‘another one!‘. We were like his personal jukebox for like three hours that day. It was great.”
How does it feel to be headlining Kollaboration DC? How has your experience been so far?
Victoria: “It’s been great. It’s definitely an honor to be here, to be at Kollaboration DC, and to be able to represent the diversity of Asians. We don’t just represent our respective countries, we represent everybody. It’s an honor to perform here and inspire everyone -not only the people that are here to perform but also the people that are here to support. We just want to inspire everybody and we hope we’ll be able to do just that.”
While the headliners and special performances could be considered the highlights of KDC4, the true essence of the show’s greatness was definitely its contestants. Their artistic talents span the gambit of vocal ability and genre and each one of them gave the audience their very best performance. We were specifically impressed with the inspiring vocal performances from Kirstie Amara Espiritu, Dave Yoon, BK (pictured above), Juan Sim, Anna Mateo and Jomin Mujar.
At the end of the night, and after the judges deliberation, the first, second, and third place winners were announced, one by one, to the roar of cheers from the crowd at Lisner Auditorium.
Not to our surprise, the winners of this year’s Kollabortaion DC showcase, fell along the lines of our personal picks. Jomin Mujar took third place, while the beatboxing/singing performance of BK solidified his second place win.
After a dramatic pause, Kollaboration DC’s co-founder Christian Oh, took to the mic once more and announced that the first place winner of KDC4, and the contestant who will be representing Washington, DC at Kollaboration Star in Los Angeles, California later on this year, was none other than the former Cube Entertainment trainee and singer, Dave Yoon.
When his name was announced, Dave’s shock and surprise was immediately felt by the audience as the young artist slowly walked across the stage and was presented his first place trophy by Billboard Entertainment Group LLC’s founder Tyrone “Niddy” Buckner.
Taking the mic moments later, Dave delivered his very emotional thank you speech while audience members, special guest, headliners, VIPs, media, and Kollaboration DC staff gave him a well deserved standing ovation.
How does it feel to win Kollaboration DC?
Dave: “It feels great. I really went to Kollaboration, not to win, but to tell my story. I really feel like every song an artist sings is a reflection of a story that he or she wants to covey. I was merely blessed with the opportunity to do so. I really want to thank the Kollaboration staff, the contestants and most importantly Christian Oh – who always pushed me to go to the show even before I left for Korea, and for all their support and encouragement. They’ve truly been a blessing in my life”
The success of KDC4 could be measured by the music, the unity, the joy, the pride, or the love, but for us at hellokpop, it was leaving with the feeling of inspiration that made the night an overwhelming success. Experiencing the event first hand, getting to meet and interact with everyone involved, and truly understanding their drive and determination, became a massive source of inspiration and determination to us.
hellokpop would like to sincerely thank Kollaboration DC’s founders Christian Oh and Marvin Yeuh, Media Liaison Joanna Anderson, Gowe (Gifted on West East), Blush, Justis Kao, Dave Yoon, and the entire Kollaboration DC staff for their gracious invitation to the event and their hospitality. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at KDC4 and we will certainly be back again next year!
Check out Dave Yoon’s winning performance below, along with the photo’s from the event