You have to be ready 365 days in a year. You have to be ready every minute of every year, because you don’t know when the opportunities will come.
— Jackson Wang
Jackson Wang is a singer-songwriter, rapper, and a fencer.
Although he debuted in a K-Pop boy group, Jackson Wang’s music is more rough, more raw, more underground.
The contrast makes him particularly special in the market. The K-POP, Western pop music, Hip-Hop, Chinese elements that he and his music embody all made him cross-cultural singer with an adventurous spirit.
Jackson Wang announced on his new album gratitude party in Shanghai on December 8, that one album each will be released in the first half and the second half of next year.
On October 25, Jackson Wang’s first digital album MIRRORS was released exclusively on NetEase Cloud Music. MIRRORS sold 90,000 copies in one minute, 100,000 in two minutes, and sales exceeded 10 million yuan on the fifth day, breaking the highest sales record on NetEase Cloud digital albums, and won the top of the daily, weekly, annual and overall list of Netease Cloud album sales. As of December 18, sales reached a total of 12.15 million yuan (810,000 copies).
Regarding his goal in the entertainment industry, Jackson Wang made it clear that his goal is to be a musician and not an idol.
In fact, Jackson Wang collaborated with Gucci Mane, a pioneering rapper famous for Trap music on “Different Game” in November 2018. His recognizable voice, sense of swag, flow, excellent rhythm all prove he’s born for Hip-Hop.
He loves using Chinese elements in his music videos. The Chinese flag, white wine, roast duck, flute, folding fan, red lanterns add to the calm and swag.
In the world of Hip-Pop, Jackson Wang has more than proven himself.
Jackson Wang has a unique appeal to fans overseas. MIRRORS not only made him the highest-ranking Chinese artist on the Billboard 200 list (32nd) but also the first-ever Chinese singer whose album made the Rolling Stone Charts Top 200 Albums (35th).
The first single of this album, “BULLET TO THE HEART” trended on twitter, topped iTunes R&B/Soul chart and ranked second on the Global 100 chart within 30 minutes of releasing. The music video trended on YouTube at 29th place. Wang also became the top Chinese singer according to Chartmetrics’s Cross-Platform Performance ranking. He also has a large fan base in Chinese students studying abroad.
Jackson Wang has the most Instagram followers among all Chinese singers. He frequently posts high-quality content on Instagram, indicating his care and ambition for the international market.
Twitter is another one of Jackson’s favorite places to interact with fans. He recently retweeted a picture of his surprised face when he saw his boss JYP dancing in a transparent raincoat with Hwasa. The hilarious retweet got more than 1.68 million comments and more than 1.65 million likes.
Jackson Wang also does well on Spotify. As of December 17, he had more than 2 million monthly listeners, making him the third most popular Chinese artist on Spotify. The first is Higher Brothers, 3.2 million monthly listeners, and the second is Lang Lang, with 2.2 million monthly listeners.
CMBN once interviewed a musician service manager at one of the largest streaming platforms in the world. He said he believes Jackson has the potential to successfully represent C-Pop in international markets.
He has solid music writing skills, strong stage presence, cross-cultural background, and a healthy and bright image.
Born in 1994, Jackson already achieved so much in different areas at such a young age. He has also established himself in the fashion industry by collaborating with brands like Fendi and Ray-Ban.
Even so, Jackson still has anxieties about his career. He’s afraid that he can’t do enough while he’s still young and capable of expression and creativity. In the interview, he keeps repeating to us that he has “no time, not enough time, it’s so hard to make time.”
He told us that his goal is music and only music, and he is a singer. He knows exactly where the ship is heading.
Here’s the organized transcript of CMBN’s interview with Jackson Wang before his performance at Simple Life Music Festival:
△ Simple Life Music Festival in Chengdu
“This is the first time I perform at a music festival. Many people say your first performance is very important. But I think it ’s the “performing outdoors in Chengdu” that makes it very special. I’m very honored to be here. I hope everyone can have a good time. I can’t eat spicy hot pot, but I still like the city of Chengdu very much. I made plans to have a concert in Chengdu next year. Of course, it’s just a plan. I don’t have specific arrangements yet. But I hope you will come by then (laughs).
My first solo album MIRRORS was released this year, and the sales exceeded 10 million yuan. People thought it won’t sell this much because after all, it was the first time I released a paid digital album. Personally I didn’t expect much from the album. I’m very thankful for my fans and my team, who made it successful.
I spend half of my time overseas, half of my time in China, running around, traveling the world. So, it took me nine months to make this album, working on it every spare minute I could find. For example, I finish one activity and maybe the next is scheduled the next morning, and I have ten hours to sleep in the between. Then I had to use this time to record the album. Otherwise, the song will not come out.
I think this album made me half dead. Because of the time difference between China and the US, I sometimes feel like I was barely up and it’s already the next morning. My team is also exhausted, many of them have grey hair now. Everyone works with a fire of passion for the job. I’m very thankful for them.
For me, the writing part wasn’t too hard. The most difficult part was mixing. I usually write the music first and then the lyrics. The mixing part is difficult because sometimes you write a song, it sounds good, and the things are just right, but whoever mix this song can give it a completely different feeling. You don’t know whether the mixing engineer would get your point so the best way is to do it with them.
I have a very full schedule so I have to listen and tell them to make revisions over and over again. Sometimes I get so tired of hearing them, different songs start to sound the same. The main reason for this difficulty is the lack of time.
The MVs are also difficult to make. There was a one-shot music video I had to practice dancing for so I learned and memorized the whole thing in one or two days. I’m used to it, doing as much as my time permits. MIRRORS can’t come out, this year, it has to wair until next year. So I think we need to make good use of every minute and every second so that we can finally release it this year.
In the entertainment industry, the thing I’m afraid the most is not to achieve what I can achieve 100% while I’m still young and capable. Because I am already 25 years old, I am not young anymore. It’s not because of insecurity around fame in this volatile industry. I think popularity is a meaningless concept. I believe in the end, it’s my work that will define me. I’m going to be different when I’m 26 and 27. I’m going to see things differently. So I want to express everything I want to express while I still want to express them.
I was an athlete and my family are athletes. At a young age, I was already super competitive, like my dad. Why can he do it, why can’t I? he can, why can’t I? Who said so? The Korean trainee system is just totally my thing. If you can’t make the cut, you are eliminated. But if you survive the system, you’re awesome.
It sounds cruel, but it’s useful. If you really have the fire, the high-pressure system can really help you. Many people leave because of the pressure. But the Korean companies really focus on the basic skills that make it easy for you to do anything afterward. Sometimes you do the same dance routine for years. It’s like laying the foundation of a house. It was very helpful.
In the past few years of appearing in Mainland China variety shows, many people know my face and my name. For that, I’m very grateful. I like doing variety shows very much, but at the same time, I want to pursue my original passion. Whether my career fails or succeeds, I will always identify as a singer.
When I was doing variety shows, I had been writing songs in my spare time, but I never had the opportunity to publish them. At that time, I could not have musical activities apart from GOT7. Opportunites doesn’t just appear when you’re ready. You have to be 365 days in a year. You have to be ready every minute of every year, because you don’t know when the opportunities will come.
My opportunity came. My opportunity was starting my own company. Jacky (Jackson Wang’s fandom name) knows. They witness my songwriting getting better and better with practice. I proved myself.
∧Gratitude party in Shanghai on Dec. 8th
In my career as an entertainer, I analyze what my environment is and what I am. I can’t change the fact that I spend half of my time abroad and half in China. But what can I do when I can’t change that. I have a goal. How do I get closer to my goal?
I have to be at my 100% when I’m abroad. I have to be at my 100% in China. Music is not something you can create out of thin air. You have to give up something. So I chose to give up sleep.
I have only one goal. That’s music. I’m getting closer to that goal. I have a long way ahead of me still. But I’m getting closer.
I love Jay Chou, Aaron Kwok, JJ Lin. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson. I saw many things, listened to a lot of music. I’m digesting and making them my own. I hope one day I will have my own page in this history of music just like they do.
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