Since his teen years, Dean's been cutting his teeth as a singer (initially hustling and performing on the indie scene with the likes of Keith Ape) and songwriter (crafting pop gems for EXO, VIXX, Lee Hi and more) but now, at age 23, it seems the time is finally right for the Korean R&B-pop singer to take over on his own terms.
Dean (stylized DΞΔN) held his debut New York City concert at the top of the month at Flash Factory, marking his latest accomplishment in the past 12 months: The dude made a splash at SXSW (performing buzzy stages like at the Spotify House, Hypetrack Stage and headlining K-Pop Night Out), recorded with a slew of exciting names (Anderson .Paak and Block B's Zico, to name a few) and released his debut EP (the forward-thinking 130 Mood : TRBL charted respectably in Korea and America).
Following the concert, Fuse got to chat with the KCON 2016 performer about where he's at right now, what's coming and tips for his fellow hustling artists.
Congratulations on your first New York concert. How are you feeling right now?
Thank you! I feel so good right now. It has truly been a blessing.
What sets a Dean concert apart from other shows?
I think one of the main things is that I write my songs, so, all my songs fit my voice. I think that really helps to set my songs and my performances apart.
You've had a remarkable past year. Are there any
particular standouts so far?
To start, charting on various music charts like Billboard, Melon, etc., and collaborating with so many other talented artists. Also, finally being able to meet my fans around the world, performing, and gaining support from so many people around me. Nothing is ever perfect—every artist has ups and downs—but I really appreciate all the things that I’ve experienced as an artist thus far.
“There are more collaborations to come, so stay tuned.”-Dean
You've worked with the likes of Anderson .Paak and Eric Bellinger. Are there any other exciting collaborations coming with U.S.-based artists?
We [my record company Joombas and I] have some things in the works that I can’t talk about yet. I can tell you that I would love to work with producers like Kaytranada and Monte Booker. It would also be a dream come true to work with an artist like Kanye West.
You also collaborated with the likes of Gaeko, Zico, Heize while writing and composing for the likes of EXO, VIXX,
iKON and more. Any more collabs on the K-pop side? You recently revealed you wrote a
song intended IU, what's the status of that track?
There are more collaborations to come, so stay tuned. Unfortunately, I still haven’t been able to give that track to IU. She is an amazingly talented artist so whether it’s that track or a new one I would love to have the opportunity to work with her.
Give us a little insight to how you write and produce
music. What's your process like? Do you have any tips for up-and-comers?
Sometimes my lyrics come out first and sometimes my melodies come out first. There are times where I only have the rhythm of things rather than the whole piece. Honestly, I stick with my gut/intuition and go with the flow. For aspiring songwriters and artists, my advice is to be confident! There are different ways to get where you want, but it starts with believing in yourself. I also recommend really listening to and studying all kinds of music from a variety of artists and then finding your own color.
What else is coming this year?
A new album, more shows, and definitely a different side of me as an artist. Thank you for showing love and support to me. Please continue to support me on my journey.