Magnetic North + Taiyo Na are my family. We toured the states together, hit #2 on Japan's iTunes charts, built the Holla benefit concert platform (having raised over $30,000 to help fight child sex trafficking in South East Asia). But bigger than what we built, we got to experience what "movement" feels like. That feeling of discovering that strangers in different geographic locations are working towards the same thing you are. This album was bigger than music, it was a way of discovering our place in Asian America.
Honored to have served as: Producer, writer, music director, arranger, composer, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, pianist, vocalist.
Home:Word - Official Music Video
3 years and a million views later, it's a blessing to read through the stories, words, and reflections this simple song has inspired. What a lovely reminder that in our core, we long for that unassuming warmth we adore as "home". Our search for it, our creation of it, our cherishing of it. i'm so grateful that this song, which created a home for the Holla creatives, helped others find their home too. That in its simplest essence, home is the journey within, that feeling of acceptance, embrace, and gratitude. It is nomadic, and it has a place.
The music began its journey in a humble church on Chicago's westside, accumulating stories of joy and peace in the midst of an otherwise violent and turbulent inner-city existence. It was refined in the classrooms of UC San Diego through the poetic care and investment of a dear Motown-raised teacher, Kamau Kenyatta, who believed that music only exists to glue communities. It then found a platform at EMW Bookstore in Cambridge, at a 4am-sunrising jam session, amidst discussions of science, art and creativity with the extraordinary Dr. David Kong. Its hook coined by Samuel Kang in a beautiful San Jose garage, with a family of brave souls creating art to free the children of sex trafficked Vietnam. got cut in NYC with Magnetic North +Taiyo Na, rallying together a team of believers in one voice. And finally, finding its home in Japan, rising to #2 on iTunes, and speaking hope into the post-tsunami, post-Fukushima Japanese people. And of course, the belief of Wong Fu Productions to craft a visual narrative, crystalizing a necessary sentiment.
DANakaDAN is a community soul. The hardest-working and most productive man in show biz, pushing Asian American media forward as well as his own. What I love most about Dan is his desire to include and work with those he admires/loves/respects, and his loyalty to that process. What a gift to the community. This album, in particular, was written in the same season of discovering his biological family, including an identical twin brother who started rapping the same time he did! What a journey, and what a privilege to have been asked to be part of it. I was also privileged to contribute to the film score of his documentary, aka Dan: Korean Adoption Documentary Series.
Honored to have served as: Producer, co-producer, songwriter, composer, arranger, bassist, keyboardist, pianist, guitarist, drummer, drum programmer.
aka DAN: A Korean Adoption Documentary Story (Trailer)
DANakaDAN ft Sam Kang "afterwords" (official single)
3rd Annual DramaFever Awards
Times Square. Hudson Theatre. 1000+ in attendence. Stars from Korea.
It was an amazing experience being able to music direct the 3rd Annual DramaFever Awards (my second time directing, glad they liked us from last year!), with a great team of musicians:
Takenori Nishiuchi, Guitar Tonga Ross-Ma'u, Keys Abraham Kim, Drums Jonathan Lee, Sax
Of course, a pleasure working with the lovely Arden Cho as our incredible host for the night! By the way, she's got her own music out, support and listen!
This year was definitely a step up from last year's, having to score each and every part of the show so that there are no awkward silences, only musical threads weaving it all together. The team flew amazingly, what a ride!
Every once in a while, you witness magic. For this, it was facilitating the FacebookHQ-painting-millionaire-making-world-acclaimed artist David Choe alongside the children of South Central Los Angeles for a collaborative mural project, via the generosity of Upper Playground. What's not magical about unleashing the visions of children with the help of a world class artist? Or rather, an artist who left his pedigree at the door, uplifting their imaginations, their hands.
Our canvas, a 40 foot wall at A Place Called Home, centrally located within a campus holding 400+ children daily.
Just watch the videos, you'll see the very best of humanity.
Honored to have served as: Co-producer, author (published).
APCH David Choe Mural
Who's David?- APCH Mural
Turtles in Love- APCH Mural
Mr. Pops - APCH Mural
A Lesson- APCH Mural
BAIT + Saucony
The incredible, vegan "Cruel World" shoe was the fruit of this collaboration. It was a privilege to be a median between BAIT and Saucony, whose "Cruel World" social impact campaign raised over $15,000 for A Place Called Home's Food Justice Program. A friendly reminder that social impact and good business can co-exist.
Honored to have served as: Strategy consultant.
Harvard Educational Review
My article, "We're Still Here", got published in the Spring 2013 edition of the Harvard Educational Review. It meant volumes to me specifically because the edition was entitled, "Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education", a topic near and dear to my heart. And on an even greater note, I got to write it with on of my heroes, long-time community artist/activist, Nobuko Miyamoto.
If you'd like to read further, check it out here. Oh, and please, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk about it!
Honored to have served as: Author.
In this cross-generational dialogue, authors Charles Kim and Nobuko Miyamoto engage in a creative exploration of community-based art, contemporary Asian American identity, and the possibilities of creativity within educational spaces. Using the ideas of John Dewey as a foundation, Kim and Miyamoto offer their dialogues, experiences, and analyses as a window into the processes of creating, making an argument for the need for education to return to the context of communities, and sharing a hope that art will “reclaim its place in the everyday lives of ordinary people."