When you hear the name J. Sheon, you may be reminded of British singer-songwriter Jay Sean, but he is actually a Taiwanese rising star, rapper and producer first rose to fame on YouTube. Before his appearance in the Billboard Radio China Live in Hong Kong 2018 with Rita Ora on January 18, Billboard Radio China sat down with him at our Hong Kong studio to discuss how his experience in both sides of the world lead him to where he is now. It was a night of accolades as well, as the singer received the Billboard Radio China award top new artist 2017.
Spending 8 years in New York, J. Sheon has been exposed to different genres of western music, which help him so much in creating songs of his own unique Hip-Hop style. What drove him to go back to Taiwan instead of developing his music career in the US? “I have always been a fan of music since I was a little kid. I moved to New York when I was 19, and at some point I just started to buy gears to produce music, just because I was bored. In 2012 or 2013, I just suddenly decided to take this music career more seriously than ever, so I moved back to Taiwan. I did cover like See You Again in Mandarin version, people liked it and I got views and hits. Maybe big labels saw it and thought this guy could make it, so I signed with the label and I got a chance to put up my album.”
While his road to success seems easy, J. Sheon did pay a lot effort as an independent artist. “Back then we had nobody to back us up, so basically we had to learn everything. We learnt how to write songs, do remaking, use the camera to shoot the mv and all that stuff. You were like a one-man army to do all the jobs a label or record company needed to do.”
J. Sheon fans probably all agree that crossing the boundary of traditional C-Pop music by bringing in a lot of Hip-Hop rap is the reason why they love his work. This never-before-seen style in the C-Pop music industry is actually the idea of him and his producer. “We wanna strive a balance between Chinese ballad and more westernized songs. If you go straight for Hip-Hop or R&B, the audience won’t accept that because we have different cultural background. I love my new album as it’s kind of in between. Most of the the Mandarin audience will understand what I’m singing, they will think this is fresh, but not to a point that they cannot accept.”
Nowadays many people want to shoot to stardom by sharing their own music on social media platform. Starting out as a YouTuber, J. Sheon has some advice for his fellow dream chasers. “People are not only listening to your music, they want to understand your life, what you are eating, who you have been hanging out with, that's what interest them. So you've to periodically update your information. This is the daily stuff that can show your audience you’re still active, you’re still putting stuff in. Have fun with it and people will enjoy your life and music. We’re talking about the music industry, it's a business, you have to know how to sell your stuff.”
J. Sheon is now working on his next album. A lot of collaborations will be put out this year, and also more concerts. As the most high-profile new Taiwanese star in 2018, this multi-talented artist is going to rock the C-Pop market with his unprecedented music.