Korean Singer Dean is The New R&B Heartthrob
The next R&B sensation hails from South Korea. 23-year-old singer Dean, born Kwon Hyuk, is ready to creep into your “Smooth Jamz” playlist. His ’90s and early 2000’s American boy band influences are undeniable, and many have called him the South Korean Bryson Tiller, which he finds flattering. Dean (who also goes by the moniker Deanfluenza when songwriting for K-Pop artists) picked up his name from the 1950s American heartthrob James Dean. After watching a few of the singer’s romantic music videos, like “Bonnie & Clyde” or “I Love It,” it’s pretty evident how fitting that name is–Dean is a total heartthrob.
The R&B singer was discovered by Hyuk Shin, who co-wrote and co-produced Justin Bieber’s track “One Less Lonely Girl.” Since then, Dean has also worked with Eric Bellinger, the same Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter who co-wrote “Halo” for Beyoncé. Dean’s debut EP 130 Mood: TRBL made it to No. 3 on Billboard’s World Album charts, and he was the first Asian to perform on the Spotify stage at SXSW this year. As you can see, he’s been making waves. Read on to find out how Dean got into R&B, his must-listen bands, and the details on his awesome performance at SXSW.
Most of your songs are very romantic, or have this boy band-esque vibe–in the best way. Would you consider yourself a hopeless romantic?
I never found myself as a hopeless romantic. My music is my self-expression, and my artistry.
How did you get into R&B? Did you listen to a lot of classic boy bands growing up?
I used to listen to NSYNC, lol. I also listened to a lot of 90’s and 2000’s R&B and music producers like Pharrell Williams, the Underdogs, and Timbaland.
What bands are you listening to right now?
There is a hybrid R&B group named THEY. Their music is very interesting.
Are there any artists in America that you’d be interested in collaborating with?
I’d like to collaborate with THEY. [Singer] Gallant is also very impressive, so I hope to work with him one day too.
How was playing at SXSW this year?
It was amazing. Everybody was so passionate about experiencing live music. It was crazy to see so many people singing along to my songs already. Then seeing the reviews of people comparing me to Drake, Usher, and Bryson Tiller was unbelievable. I think festivals and events that create that atmosphere and love of music are really important. It was such a unique experience and something I will never forget.
How did your nickname Deanfluenza come about?
I also love writing and producing for other artists. When I got started I wanted my music to spread like influenza.
Congrats on your EP 130 Mood: TRBL making it to number 3 on Billboard’s World Albums Chart. How did that feel?
I was very excited and surprised. I’m happy that so many people could relate with my artistry and the story of my album. It was very motivating. It’s another reason to work harder and to always try to create better music.
Images courtesy of Joombas Music Intl.
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