After hearing Justin Park’s single “Mi Vida,” fans would be forgiven for wondering whether the Korean American artist has some hidden Hispanic roots. In reality, Park’s decision to incorporate Spanish into his music stems from his experiences growing up in Los Angeles.
“The thing about L.A. that’s special is that it’s a huge melting pot,” he said. “In L.A., I have a fanbase that’s [predominantly] Black, Mexican, white.”
That following has only grown in the past six months. Back in December of last year, the 5A Label-signed musician caught the attention of none other than BTS star Jungkook, who shared that he was listening to Park’s 2018 track “On the Low.” Park went on to release “Mi Vida” in February and just dropped his latest album, “I Can See the Stars From Here,” on May 13. Character Media caught up with Park shortly before “Mi Vida” went public to learn more about Park’s inspirations and the drive behind his music-making process.
Although Park got his start as an R&B performer, he shared that his music has evolved over time to encompass multiple different styles and genres, reflecting the diversity of his audience. “My style of music started with R&B, and now it’s transforming into all sorts of stuff,” he said. “R&B pop, funk, hip-hop, rap, rock, we do everything.”
However, Park’s original inspirations may surprise some. He might never have pursued a career in music were it not for the global success of—you guessed it—K-pop. “Especially being Asian American, there were challenges and a lot of hurdles I had to get over,” he said. “Having influences who were in the K-pop realm, people who look much like me but weren’t from here; they served as a great tool to remind me how powerful we are. Having those kinds of influences who were Korean … it really did propel me to want to do it here.”
Watch the full interview above for more, then head to your nearest streaming service to check out “Mi Vida” and “I Can See the Stars From Here.”