by JAMES S. KIM
She’s not a superhero, but Megan Lee is a fairly super 19-year-old. Over the last 10 years, Lee’s amassed a resume that includes actor, musician and singer/songwriter with a YouTube following of over 220,000 subscribers. Oh, and she also released a K-pop single back in 2014.
Lee has shown spunk ever since early childhood. Even at the young age of 10, the young singer-songwriter was already asking her parents for permission to join a talent agency. They initially refused, but had a change of heart when Lee brought up the subject with her mom during a car ride.
“I told her, I want the power to be able to say good messages, good positive messages to other people,” Lee told KoreAm. “I wanted to be in the industry to do what I loved, but at the same time … be a role model to be able to speak good words to people. That’s what made my mom finally support me.”
Nearly 10 years later, her parents remain supportive of their daughter’s artistic endeavors. For her interview with KoreAm in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, Lee arrived alongside her mother, who recounted her daughter’s first appearance in the magazine as part of a September 2010 spread with other Asian American YouTube personalities, including Ryan Higa (nigahiga), Clara Chung, Just Kidding Films and Wong Fu Productions.
Scrolling down the list of videos on Lee’s YouTube channel is like looking at snippets of her entire career. Her earliest work includes random commercials, followed by song covers that she recorded with a camcorder and or webcam. At the time, Lee says she didn’t know how to use anything, let alone audio/video editing programs.
Her cover songs and original songs become increasingly polished, and many of them include collaborations with other YouTube artists, such as Jason Chen, Sungha Jung and Arden Cho. There’s even a duet with Jason Mraz himself after Lee won a contest with her song cover.
“I think the [YouTube] community has become even bigger than it used to be,” Lee says. “Now, YouTube is such a huge part of this digital world. I’m so happy and honored to be a part of that.
“Because of YouTube, I was able to expand that knowledge in music and experiment more with singing and [collaborating]. In that aspect, YouTube has given me opportunities; it’s opened that window for me to explore the music world.”
The videos also showcase her K-pop era, which includes appearances on MBC’s Star Audition and her music under Soul Shop Entertainment. Although Lee’s tenure at Soul Shop was brief, lasting a little over a year, it wasn’t long before she went back to the grind.
Last February, Nickelodeon announced Lee as one of the leading characters for their musical comedy show Make It Pop. In the series, Lee portrays Sun Hi Song, an aspiring pop star and social media maven.
The filming schedule for the musical comedy’s first season was a particularly grueling one: two episodes per week and two musical numbers in each episode, which tallied up to a total of 40 over the course of 20 episodes. But it helped that Lee enjoyed the songs.
The 19-year-old is back in Toronto to reprise the role of the dramatic but endearing character Sun Hi. For Make It Pop’s sophomore season, viewers can expect even more music and perhaps even some romance on the horizon. With new songs and more complex scenes to act out, Lee’s schedule is bound to become more demanding. However, Lee knows how to keep herself grounded.
“My motto is to always follow your dreams and never give up. That’s definitely the phrase that has been with me my entire life,” says Lee. “My fans who have followed me from the beginning, they’ll know that there have been lots of ups and downs. And I’m pretty sure there still will be many dynamic moments in my career and life,” she continued. “But I’m thankful to have many inspiring and close people in my life to tell me that.”
Featured image via hellomeganlee.com