January 26, 2022
BEIJING – It’s 9 o’clock on a Monday night. Most people are winding down, relaxing at the end of a busy day. Jackson Wang is not one of them. He is not ready for a break, just yet.
It’s been a hectic time for the Chinese singer-songwriter and it’s going to get much more so.
I want people to know that there’s a Chinese kid who loves music and is going after his dreams. I hope to inspire others to go after their own.
Jackson Wang, 27, Chinese singer-songwriter
Turning 28 this March, he has already attracted a large fan base in Asia with more than 30 million followers on his Sina Weibo platform and about 26 million fans on his Instagram account.
On Jan 11, the singer-songwriter released a single, aptly named Jackson Wang. The song, written by Wang, tells his story, that of a former professional fencer who later pursued a music career.
“The song defines me and is 100 percent about me,” says Wang, adding that it’s been his longtime wish to release a song telling his story. The song will be part of the singer-songwriter’s upcoming new album, which will be released in Mandarin and English.
The new song opens: “I didn’t think too much about it and left my home at 17 years old. With three pieces of luggage and a one-way ticket, I had nothing in my pocket but my music dream.”
He explains that it took about three or four days to finish writing the song. “You can see that there are no fancy words, nothing polished, just some simple lyrics, which tell an honest story about me,” he says.
It resonated with fans. Many said that they related to the song about a young man’s determination and struggle to pursue his dream.
“I want people to know that there’s a Chinese kid who loves music and is going after his dreams. I hope to inspire others to go after their own,” Wang says.
He was born into a sporting family in Hong Kong－his father was an Olympic fencer and his mother a gymnast. Wang trained to become a professional fencer, and was en garde, from the age of 10.
As a promising young athlete, he won medals at national and international sports events and was offered scholarships to study at top universities.
In 2011, his career plans were suddenly diverted, taking him in a different direction. He joined an audition organized by South Korean talent management company, JYP Entertainment, made an immediate impression, and was offered a chance to join an all-male pop group, GOT7, which made its debut in 2014.
“Even when I was a child, music was my motivation. Music was an inspiration and was always there for me. I had to follow my heart,” Wang says.
“For a kid, whose dream was always about winning as an athlete, the idea of following artistic pursuits was not an easy decision to make,” Wang adds. “My parents freaked out. If I was in their shoes, I’d have the same reaction.”
In the new song, Wang sings about the fact that his parents were concerned, but they still supported their son.
“This bet ain’t got no preview and my dad and mom helped me pack my bags, though they were worried,” Wang sings in the song.
He also recalls pursuing his music dream in South Korea. One day, Wang, who was homesick, went to a restaurant that offered Chinese food and he ordered a bowl of fried rice. He talked with the owner of the restaurant, who was also from China.
“She knew that it was not easy for a young man to pursue his dream alone far away from home. She didn’t want me to pay for the meal and gave me more fried eggs,” Wang recalls, referencing the experience in his song. “On my way back, I felt very warm, though it was cold outside.”
Soon, the singer-songwriter established a name for himself in showbiz.
He says that his former career as an athlete certainly helped him to break out as a singer-songwriter.
“As an athlete, I gave it my all. I challenged myself every day,” says Wang. “It’s the same logic when I pursue a career in music. It’s just about changing skills, from the epee to the microphone.”
In 2017, Wang established his own label called Team Wang. Last year, he also announced the forming of new music group PANTHEPACK under his label, which gathers and displays talented young musicians.
He also launched a solo career as a singer-songwriter by releasing singles and albums. Last March, Wang returned to his homeland and has been based in China ever since, focusing on building up his own label. He has also expanded into fashion and design.
Wang says that, with Team Wang, he hopes to deliver a message which embodies spirit and legacy to more young people, with the slogan, “Know yourself. Make your own history.”
“It’s always stressful, working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but it’s a beautiful process, which makes me stronger. I will always fight for my dream,” Wang says.
“I think that the most beautiful thing is to watch something begin from zero. I want to realize my potential and see what kind of impact I can make.”