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If you haven’t heard of Jackson Wang yet, it’s only a matter of time.
The singer has become one of the few Chinese stars to top the US iTunes chart with the track ‘Fendiman’ – a huge feat for an Asian musician.
America is a notoriously hard country to crack for international musicians – not even acts like Kylie Minogue, Take That or Oasis managed to make it in the US no matter how hard they tried.
But Wang is a different story.
The singer, who is part of K-pop band GOT7, has a huge following in Asia who have no doubt bolstered his success in the iTunes chart.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 24-year-old rapper.
Wang auditioned for South Korean talent agency JYP Entertainment in 2010. He passed with flying colours and was packed off to Seoul a year later to undergo rigorous training as a K-pop singer.
At the time, he turned down a scholarship at Stanford University and even the chance to join Hong Kong’s national team for the London Olympics as a fencer to start from the bottom as a pop trainee.
After more than two years of intensive singing classes, dance practise and Korean lessons, he made his debut as a member of GOT7 – a K-pop band manufactured by JYP – with their first single ‘Girls Girls Girls’ in 2014.
The hip hop band is made up of seven members. There’s also JB, Mark, Jinyoung, Youngjae, BamBam, and Yugyeom along with Wang. GOT7’s first EP Got It? topped Billboard’s World Albums Chart. Since then they have released three full-length albums – Identify (2014) Moriagatteyo (2016) and Flight Log: Turbulence (2016). They’ve found success in both Korea and Japan as well as winning countless awards.
Wang comes from a sporty family – his father was a former coach for the Hong Kong national fencing team and his mother was a gold medalist at the World Gymnastics Championships.
He speaks fluent English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Korean and Japanese.
Wang’s Chinese name is Wang Ka Yee, which is shortened to Gaga. If you watch a GOT7 video, you might hear someone yell out ‘Gaga’ in the background. Yeah, they’re calling out to him.
As well as singing, Wang found fame on Korean reality TV show Roommate, which featured celebrities living together in a house Big Brother-style. In 2017, JYP Entertainment announced they would be releasing his debut solo album in China.
He quickly released his first single, ‘Papillon’, which was followed by other solo efforts including ‘Okay’, ‘(V)ision’ and ‘Dawn of Us’.
Wang attended the MTV Europe Music Awards as an Ambassador of Great China and at the beginning of 2018 was appointed as envoy of Hong Kong Tourism.
Wang was asked by Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi to create a song that would appeal to a younger crowd. He told South China Morning Post: ‘FendiMan is a word I created. It represents a fearless spirit that respects differences. The millennials have the same view as each one of us is a unique individual who is irreplaceable, which also echoes the spirit of the brand.’