K-Pop would be nothing without the producers who passionately create the songs. One such producer is a household name, having worked with top celebrities like IU and IVE as well as SM Entertainment groups like aespa, Girls’ Generation, and EXO.
His name is Ryan Jhun, and he’s the mastermind behind hit songs “Celebrity,” “Dun Dun Dance,” “ELEVEN,” “Girls,” and more.
But how did such a genius start out in the industry? He shared his story in an exclusive interview with The Korea Herald.
According to the 43-year-old producer, he didn’t have it easy. His dream of becoming a singer-songwriter then a composer started at the young age of 15. However, he had no choice but to give up on it after his family moved to New York in 1996.
As he aged, he took on a wide variety of jobs. He was an automobile salesman, a club DJ, and an entrepreneur for a chicken business. But he could never shake off the desire to pursue a musical career, so he made the decision to quit everything.
My eagerness for being a composer pressed emptiness to my heart and it was so painful. … I was an automobile salesperson, a club DJ and even an entrepreneur running a quite successful chicken business. I quit everything one day to officially begin a musical career. Instead of playing someone else’s music as a DJ, I wanted to make my own.
— Ryan Jhun
Unfortunately, he faced racial discrimination in the US when he approached local music labels, so he flew to the other side of the world to try his luck there. He arrived in Korea in 2008 with just 200,000 won ($140) in his pocket.
After being rejected by several K-Pop companies, he struck gold with SM Entertainment. He signed a contract with them to make songs for TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, aespa, and EXO.
And the rest is history! Ryan Jhun went on to create multiple hit songs, becoming a well-respected figure in the K-Pop scene.
Hear more from him in the article below.