By Joy Fang
ASIAN acts seeking to make it in America, listen up: YouTube sensation David Choi says it takes patient cultivation from the ground up to achieve success.
"In America you kind of have to work your way up, build a fan base and a following. In Asia it's like once you're on TV, you'll automatically be famous overnight," said Choi, 24, who spoke to my paper in a phone interview from Garden Grove, California, where he lives.
Choi should know. The singer and video producer started off as a struggling musician, but became a hit after he posted a humorous clip of himself singing an ode to YouTube in 2006.
Titled YouTube, A Love Song, the clip has since gathered more than 2.6 million views.
Choi will be in town for the first time to perform two free shows at Timbre@The Substation tomorrow and on Wednesday.
He will also perform at Bay- Beats on Saturday at the Esplanade. Finally, he will hold a YouTube workshop on Sunday for the Timbre Music Academy.
The Internet sensation, whose songs focus a lot on love and failed relationships, certainly did not expect to garner such popularity online.
"I didn't expect anything at all. It's just amazing, what has happened to me through You- Tube," said Choi, who added that he posted his first video for fun.
The self-professed "emo" singer does not know why people watch his videos, saying that he finds it strange sometimes that people do.
"But I just keep putting stuff out and, hopefully, people will be entertained by them. I don't know a secret formula," he said.
Secret formula or not, Choi is currently the ninth-most-subscribed musician on the popular streaming site and the 50th most- subscribed overall.
He has over 490,000 subscribers and his videos have attracted more than 67 million hits.
The musician, who does his own recording, video production and CD distribution, said he is thankful for his success in this predominantly "white industry".
"It's hard for musicians as it is, but to be an Asian and a musician, it's even harder," he said.
"It feels good to be able to do what I do."
It is not all rosy for the selfmade artist though - he revealed that his videos still get hit with racist comments every single day.
"You just kinda learn not to read it and try to ignore it. Obviously you're a human being and sometimes it does make you angry, but these are things you learn to deal with," he said.
"You just write songs, produce music and just keep going," he added.
David Choi plays at Timbre @ The Substation tomorrow and on Wednesday at 8.30pm. Admission is free. For information on the workshop, call 6884-5920. For Baybeats, visit www.baybeats.com
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