DEAN has amassed millions of views on his YouTube channel based off his smooth blend of R&B and Hip Hop. The video for his “Bonnie and Clyde” video has garnered nearly 1.6 million views in just over a month. The Korean-based singer made his debut in the United States at SXSW after bolstering himself in his home market.
“SXSW was crazy,” he says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “It was great to see a whole city filled with live music and people who wanted to hear and experience live music…. or maybe they all just wanted to party and drink, either way it was dope. The energy was amazing. The people there really wanted to enjoy music so the atmosphere was crazy and passionate all day long. It was crazy to see so many people singing along to my songs already. Then seeing the reviews of people comparing me to Drake, Usher, and Bryson Tiller was unbelievable. It is hard to explain the feeling of being on stage and connecting with the crowd. I think festivals and events that create that atmosphere and love of music are really important.”
DEAN, who recently released his 130 Mood: TRBL EP, has helped his American crossover by collaborating with Anderson .Paak on “Put My Hands On You” and Eric Bellinger on “I’m Not Sorry,” which was his first English song. DEAN says that his label, Joombas Music Group, got him in connection with the Aftermath signee and Grammy Award-winner.
“Anderson .Paak has a really unique voice and style that I love so I wanted to try to blend it with mine in our record,” he says. “And Eric is a great singer-songwriter so I knew if we collaborated we could make a dope record.”
The singer is also a producer and writer and actually got his start as a rapper in the same crew as Keith Ape, who has drawn comparisons to OG Maco for his street sound. Ape has been able to crossover into the American market with his “It G Ma.” Epik High is a rap group who has been able to make waves overseas as they were the first Korean performers ever at Coachella last month.
DEAN believes that music has the ability to transcend culture and the quality of music is what has enabled himself and others to reach a global platform.
“I believe it comes down to the music,” DEAN says. “I think a dope record will be respected and given credit regardless of what language or culture it is based. We are called ‘Artists’ because music is art. If we create something that is authentic and connects with people emotionally, they will appreciate it. It might take some time for people to get familiar and accept the other aspects of the culture that it came from, but hopefully the people will eventually appreciate that too.”