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Interview: Introducing Aziatix
A rapper from Queens, a Mandarin pop star and a NYU singer-songwriter harmonize this year's breakout group
This video was produced in association with Project Obangsaek.
“Do we consider ourselves a group? Yes, we are like a super idol group that has never been seen before,” jokes Nicky Lee, about the identity of new urban group Aziatix.
Comprised of three Korean-American artists Flowsik, Eddie Shin and Nicky Lee, Aziatix garnered a surprising amount of attention domestically and overseas since their debut last March.
Produced by former R&B group Solid member Jae Chong, who also masterminded JYJ’s first global album “The Beginning,” Aziatix dropped their first single "Go" on iTunes on March 28 and their first EP on May 17. The EP went on to claim number five on the iTunes R&B/Soul album charts in the United States.
“We each started out as solo artists, but we all wanted to try out new things” says Flowsik, on how they came together. “Our producer had a vision of forming this group after seeing what we were capable of doing.”
Although teen idol groups such as TVXQ, Big Bang and Kara have been leading the “hallyu” (Korean wave) charge of K-Pop in Asia, language barriers and extreme stylistic differences have proved to be a major hurdle in breaking into the mainstream American audience.
So, one reason K-Pop producers and industry insiders are particularly interested in Aziatix is because the guys seem to possess not only the evident talent, but also a track record of global appeal on a much larger scale than what current K-Pop acts have been able to amass thus far.
Flowsik, the rapper of the group, was born and raised in Queens New York and has already built a strong following in the underground hip-hop scene in the United States. He has not only collaborated with American rapper Ice-T, but also with mega K-Pop idols JYJ.
Nicky, who grew up in Los Angeles and was a member of R&B group “Voice”, has a large following in the Chinese music scene. To date, he has released five solo albums in Mandarin and was awarded “Best Male Singer” at the 2007 Mandarin Pop Music Awards.
With his long locks and model-like looks, NYU student Eddie Shin is probably the member set to appeal most to the ardent K-Pop idol devotee. His vocal prowess and songwriting skills, however, are distinctly superior to those featured in the idol “hook songs” that currently dominate the scene.
The recent successes of Far East Movement (the first Asian-American group to hit number one on the Billboard 100) and Charice Pempengko (who appears in the American hit show “Glee”) have been spurring the ambitions of many a Korean producer, and Aziatix has thus emerged as an important group to watch in the entertainment scene.
Along with their latest music video, the group's first official album will be released at the end of July. Their next performance is slated to be at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Korea on July 30.
“We can’t wait to start promoting,” says Nicky about their upcoming activities. “In the United States and Asia -- we’re going to be heating up everywhere. We’re just starting now and we thank everybody for their support. We’ll see everybody soon.”
CNNGo spoke to Aziatix at the Plaza Suite of THE PLAZA, Seoul
For Part 2 of the interview in Korean, click here