How one SAS student was discovered on YouTube

Who knew a quiet YouTube channel like mine could attract this much attention?

Despite a few hits here and there, Howducation, my YouTube channel, grosses only about four to five subscribers a day, but even that was enough to garner the attention of David Choi, one of YouTube’s top musicians. Choi’s songs have been featured on networks such as E!, PBS, FOX, NBC, Disney, VH1, and MTV, with a whopping 993,700 subscribers. Though no direct communication between to two of us occurred, it was through his referral that I was connected with another big name: Arden Cho.

A quadruple threat as an actress, musician, model and businesswoman, Arden stars as Kira in the MTV hit TV show Teen Wolf. She has over 21 million YouTube views with over 230k YouTube subscribers, and has even modelled for brands such as Nike, Reebok, Apple and Alexander McQueen.

It began one Saturday after waking up to incessant ringing from my phone, which was rather unusual. Thinking it was some form of spam or a prank, I slowly peeled open my eyes, only to see that the pop actress had tweeted my cover of “All That Matters” by Justin Bieber. I sprung out of my bed to spread the news.

quoteAfter a few exchanges of contact information, I found myself on a plane to Los Angeles, the hub of recording studios and organic foods.

After a few days of adjusting to the time difference, Mom and I shared a table at Morton’s Steakhouse on La Cienega Boulevard with who we consider to be the the Beyoncé & Jay-Z of Korea: Tasha & Tiger JK.

Fresh out of their previous contract with Korean record company Jungle Entertainment, MFBTY, a trio consisting of Tasha, JK, and Korean rapper Bizzy ventured to establish their own label, Feel Ghood Music.

Following the dinner, their entourage of 22 people – 24 including me and my mom – headed to Paramount Recording Studios, home of artists such as B.o.B., Lil Wayne, Kelly Rowland and Skrillex.

Inside studio “The Cave,” as the name suggests, I was dazzled by its warm colors and ethereal ambience, which certainly helped put my nervousness at ease. As R&B is my strong suit, I sang songs of that genre ranging from the modern to the classics. I sang a total of seven songs, from Musiq Soulchild to Reverend Al Green, to showcase my knowledge and versatility.

Long story short, I was set to open for them during their company launch gala just a few days later. We agreed upon me performing “Eyes, Nose, Lips” by Taeyang for a number of reasons. The backing track was tailor made for me by my uncle Adam Lee and incorporates a lot of elements that are unique to me. My version mashes up an English track, which made it that much more appropriate as the event caters towards the Asian-American community.

The Audrey Magazine & KoreAm Journal’s 13th annual gala “Unforgettable” honors the achievements of Asian-American personalities from within the past year. I was humbled to share the stage with Arden, David, MFBTY, and k-pop artist G.NA.

(From left) Tiger Jk, Howard Chan, Tasha Reid, & Bizzy at The Audrey Magazine & KoreAm Journal’s 13th annual gala in LA. Photo by Hemi Yip

I’m currently in talks with Tasha about potential tracks that I could jump on. It’s a matter of getting the right feel for the song, as most of their records are fast paced while mine are slower. Most of the songs that I’ve been presented with have already sparked a link, and I think our two styles balance out nicely.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that if you work hard enough for your ambitions, there’s no reason for it not to become a part of your reality. But those who strive and thrive are the ones who are surrounded by people who believe in them. Fans come in many shapes and forms, whether it be your family, friends, or a stranger behind a computer screen. But one thing they all share is that they support you – and for that reason and that reason alone – should never be taken for granted.

I thank my family, friends, Instagram stalkers, YouTube commenters, Arden, David, MFBTY, and the lovely people who make up Feel Ghood for believing in me through this crazy journey.

Check out the cover that got me noticed!

Author: Howard Chan

Howard Chan is a Senior and the Entertainment Editor for The Eye. This is his second year as a journalist and eighth year at SAS. In his spare time, Howard enjoys singing, making videos, and going to the gym.

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