The Unforgettable Gala bridges memories of the past with powerful moments from the present — in celebration of the future.
With a timeless approach and ambition for change, Kore Asian Media dares to dream a bigger dream for Asian American culture. We celebrate and honor the essentials of our collective identity: creativity, diversity, and growth at the 16th Annual Unforgettable Gala.
Leonardo Nam has gained global fans through his role as the lab technician Felix Lutz on the critically acclaimed, award-winning HBO series “Westworld.” Based on the original 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name, the series brings to life a futuristic amusement park intended for rich vacationers populated by robotic “hosts,” ultimately indulging their wildest fantasies and desires. “Westworld” premiered its first season in October 2016 and received a slew of highly esteemed nominations, including these accolades, which include: 2017 Golden Globe Awards: Best Television Series - Drama (nominated), 2017 SAG Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (nominated), 2016 Critics Choice Television Awards: Most Exciting New Series (won) and Best Drama Series (nominated), to name a few.
Nam is also working on a variety of additional projects including: a supporting role in the indie feature “Puberty” for Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder Films opposite Abbie Cornish a supporting role in the new Netflix original film “Happy Anniversary” (written and directed by Jared Stern) and a guest star role on the new Comedy Central series “Hampton DeVille.”
Born in Argentina to Korean immigrant parents and raised in Sydney, Australia, Nam attended Sydney Technical High School and studied architecture at the University of New South Wales. To pursue his dream of becoming an actor, Leonardo moved to New York at 19. There he studied drama at the critically acclaimed HB Studio and also worked with the New York Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park company and Sigourney Weaver and Jim Simpson’s The Bats Theater Company. His breakout role came in the Paramount comedy “The Perfect Score,” starring Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Erika Christensen. Since then he has starred in a string of movies, namely “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” 1 & 2, “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” “Vantage Point,” “He’s Just Not That Into You,” “One for the Money,” and most recently in the Sam Raimi production “Murder of a Cat.”
Maggie Q stars as F.B.I Agent Hannah Wells on ABC’s hit drama “Designated Survivor,” currently in its second season.
Maggie Q starred opposite Dylan McDermott on CBS’ drama thriller series “Stalker.” Best known for her role on CW’s successful action series “Nikita,” where for four seasons, “Nikita” chronicled the story of a rogue assassin (played by Maggie Q) who returns to take down the secret organization that trained her.
In March 2014, Maggie starred as Tori in Summit Entertainment’s box office hit “Divergent,” alongside Shailene Woodley and Theo James, and returned in “Allegiant” which was released in March of 2016.
Maggie also starred in the independent cyber thriller “Jekyll Island,” alongside Minnie Driver, Dianna Agron and Ed Westwick. Additional film credits include “Mission Impossible III,” “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Decpetion,” “New York, I Love You,” “Balls of Fury,” “House of Harmony,” “Rush Hour 2,” “The Warrior and the Wolf” and Daniel Lee’s “Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon,” “Dragon Squad,” “Naked Weapon” and “Gen-X Cops2: Metal Mayhem.
Maggie Q is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii. She is an animal and human rights activist through her support of programs such as PETA, Best Friends, WildAid, Kageno and the Washington D.C. based PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine).
Ross Butler is emerging as a prominent player in Hollywood’s next generation. Variety Magazine named him one of 10 TV Stars to Watch in 2017. Butler currently portrays the popular basketball jock, Zach Dempsey in the binge-worthy Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why”. This high school drama-mystery has become one of the most watched shows of all time for the live streaming conglomerate and became the most tweeted show of 2017. Butler’s dedication to his craft and urge to break free from typecasting has earned him extraordinary praise and created a much bigger conversation about Asian Americans in diversity.
Butler first began his acting career in 2010, when he left his path toward chemical engineering at Ohio State University for a life in front of the camera. He made his acting debut opposite, Zendaya, on Disney Channel’s “K.C. Undercover,” and the Disney’s smash hit “Teen Beach 2,” MTV’s most watched series and cult classic, “Teen Wolf,” and most recently as Reggie Mantle in The CW’s critically acclaimed series, “Riverdale.”
Nora Lum, known by the moniker, Awkwafina, is a rapper, comedian, television host and actress from New York City. Born to a South Korean mother and Chinese-American father, she was raised primarily by her grandmother in Forest Hills, Queens where she attended LaGuardia High School of Music & Art for the trumpet.
Awkwafina is best known for her breakout single and music video “My Vag,” which went viral on YouTube in 2012. After self-producing and releasing her first album “Yellow Ranger” in 2014, she was added to the cast of MTV's “Girl Code” and “Girl Code Live.” Later that year, she began filming the first season of her web series “Tawk,” which was named an Official Honoree in the 2016 Webby Awards. She was cast in her first film later that year with Seth Rogen and Zac Efron in “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.” The part led to roles in three more films, including a lead role in the highly-anticipated summer blockbuster Ocean's 8, alongside Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna and others. Last spring, she was added to the cast of "Crazy Rich Asians" as the part of Peik Lin.
Filmmaker and actor, Justin Chon richly deserved the major attention he enjoyed at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for his film “Gook,” taking home the Next Audience Award. Set during the 1992 L.A. Riots, the film centers on the relationship between an African American girl and two Korean brothers who own a shoe store in Paramount, California. The film was inspired by events from Chon’s own childhood. He was born in South Korea and grew up in California’s Bay Area, where he helped out at his parents’ beauty supply store. In August 2017, the limited national release of “Gook” opened to widespread critical acclaim and a positive public reception.
Although Chon is known worldwide for his role as Eric Yorkie in the “Twilight” series, he has also appeared in a recurring role on the ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken” and will star in the new and highly anticipated ABC drama series “Deception.” Chon also wrote, produced and starred in his own independent film “Man-Up.” Other starring film credits include “Soul Searching,” the Martin Scorsese executive produced feature “Revenge of the Green Dragons” and “21 and Over” from the creators of “The Hangover.” Other credits include “From the Rough” opposite Taraji P. Henson, “Crossing Over” opposite Harrison Ford, and many others.
Chloe kicked off the 2016-17 season winning Gold medals at the Copper Grand Prix and LAAX Open, pushing her consecutive event win streak to eight. She went on to win Bronze at X Games and the first World Cup Crystal Globe of her career. Chloe finished the season defending her Gold medal at the Burton US Open, cementing her status as the top female halfpipe rider in the world heading into the 2018 Olympics.
During the 2015-16 season, Chloe won six Gold and two Silver medals. Chloe season highlights included defending her X Games Gold medal, becoming the first X Games athlete to win two Golds before the age of 16. Chloe continued to break new ground in women’s snowboarding, becoming the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s and score a perfect 100.
Chloe made history during the 2014-15 season when she became the youngest competitor (at 14 years old) to win a winter X Games Gold medal.
2013-14 was Chloe’s breakout season. The year began with a Bronze medal at the Dew Tour and continued with Chloe grabbing Silver at X Games. She finished the season with another Silver at the Burton US Open – all at the age of 13.
Chloe has had just as much success off of the mountain as she has had on it, being featured on Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2017, TIME’s 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016, and espnW’s 2015 IMPACT25 list. In addition, Chloe has been nominated for an ESPY, Kids Choice Sports Award, and two Laureus World Sports Awards.
Chloe qualified to make the 2014 Olympic Halfpipe team, but due to her age and IOC rules, was unable to compete, setting up her debut on the Olympics stage in Korea in 2018. Chloe’s first tracks on a snowboard were at the age of four and she began competing when she was six. Chloe, whose parents emigrated from Korea, now lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Daniel Dae Kim continues his string of multifaceted and stereotype-breaking roles as an actor, director and producer. Prior to his seven-season portrayal of Chin Ho Kelly on “Hawaii Five-0”, Kim was best known for his role as Jin Soo Kwon on the hit TV series “Lost,” for which he shared a 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble, and was individually honored with an AZN Asian Excellence Award, a Multicultural Prism Award and a Vanguard Award from the Korean American Coalition, all for Outstanding Performance by an Actor. In 2009, he was recognized with the prestigious KoreAm Achievement Award in the field of Arts and Entertainment, and has twice been named one of PEOPLE Magazine’s "Sexiest Men Alive."
Born in Busan, South Korea, and raised in New York and Pennsylvania, Kim discovered acting while a student at Haverford College. After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he began his career on stage, performing in classics such as "Romeo and Juliet,” “Ivanov,” and "A Doll's House," Despite early success, he decided to deepen his knowledge of the craft by enrolling at New York University's Graduate Acting Program, where he earned his Master's Degree. After receiving his MFA, Kim's film career began in earnest with roles in "The Jackal," "For Love of the Game," "The Hulk," "Spider-Man 2" and "The Cave," as well as the Academy Award-winning "Crash.” Most recently, he created the role of Jack Kang for “Insurgent,” and “Allegiant” of the “Divergent Series.”
Most recently, he received a Broadway Beacon Award for his role as the King of Siam in Lincoln Center’s Tony award-winning production of “The King and I,” as well as the Theater Legacy Award from New York’s Pan Asian Repertory Theater. Outside of his artistic endeavors, he actively pursues interests in the community at large, having most recently served as Cultural Envoy and Member of the U.S. Presidential Delegation for the United States at the World Expo in Korea.
Grace Park is a fan-favorite for her starring roles on the critically acclaimed series "Battlestar Galactica," in which she played not one, but two leading roles (Boomer and Athena). Her performance garnered her a place in TV Guide's "100 Most Memorable Moments in TV History.”
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Canada, Park received a degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia before turning her attention to film and television. Her performance in "The Border", earned a nomination for a Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Dramatic Role.
Solidifying herself as a staple in the entertainment industry, Grace Park’s seven-season-run on “Hawaii Five-0,” brought heart, suspense, tragedy and sensuality to the iconic role of Kono Kalakaua. As a result, she was nominated in both 2011 and 2012 for a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress: Action.
Park has earned a nomination for Outstanding Newcomer Award in 2006 by the Asian Excellence Awards for her artistry. In 2010, she received the Achievement Award in Entertainment from KoreAm. In 2014, Park was honored with the APEX Inspiration Award and inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame.
Dr. Mike Hong is a Korean American philanthropist and entrepreneur, who has been a long-time partner with Kore Asian Media. After founding the Dura Coat Products company in 1986, he has been widely recognized in the Chemistry and Biochemistry fields, receiving a distinguished alumni award from his alma mater, UCLA. Since graduating from UCLA in 1959, Dr. Mike Hong has given the commencement address as well at donating influential funds to the biochemistry and chemistry departments.
Alongside his massive success in business, Dr. Hong separates himself from the rest of the pack through his utter commitment to philanthropy and dedication to promoting and celebrating the Korean American diaspora. Honored by a number of publications and organizations for his trailblazing humanitarianism. Dr. Hong continues to pave the way for generations to come in his devotion to raising the bar in the Korean American community.
Ted Chung is a music industry institution. Since 1999, he has judiciously helmed Snoop’s creative and prolific career. Chung has also successfully launched profitable media companies, marketing agencies, and entertainment ventures. All along the way, he has exhibited a flair for street-level grassroots marketing. “I started out DJ’ing and producing music in high school, which led me to the business side: I began meeting guys who represented and promoted music to DJs, and they introduced me to the world of street-team marketing,” Chung recently told "Billboard Magazine."
A native of Palos Verdes, California, Chung is the son of Korean immigrants and graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with a specialization in Entertainment Marketing. He and his cousin Seung Chung co-founded the Cashmere Agency in a borrowed one-room office in 1998. Soon after, he started Stampede Management with Snoop as his longtime client. Cashmere Agency and Stampede Management is now generously housed in an enormous warehouse space in Playa del Rey with plenty of space for their 40+ millennial staff to work their marketing magic on brands like Red Bull, Adidas, Netflix, E!, Sony Pictures and the Korean mobile-games company Com2uS.
Jeannie Mai is a style expert, television personality and executive producer. Jeannie can be seen as one of four energetic co-host's on the Fox's Emmy Nominated talk show “The Real.” Bringing her sassy personality and her style expertise to the forefront Jeannie has been a recurring fashion correspondent for many popular shows such as “Today Show,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Insider” and “E! News.” Mai will also be joining TBS’ “Snoop Dogg Presents Joker’s Wild” as ‘Lady Luck,’ assisting both Snoop Dogg and the contestants on the popular game show. It has always been Jeannie's mission to inspire and empower women, recently, Jeannie was honored by Ciroc, Variety and WWD Magazine as one of their 2016 Women of Empowerment. She recently executive produced “Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking,” a documentary that investigates the international crisis of human sex trafficking from a deeply personal point of view.
Television personality, executive producer and style maven Jeannie Mai brings her energetic and infectious personality into homes across America every day as the co-host of the daytime syndicated talk show “The Real.” Now in its fourth season, “The Real” airs live on Fox and is broadcast on BET. Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Talk Show, Jeannie along with three other bold, diverse and outspoken hosts reflect the home audience by unapologetically saying what real women are actually thinking. Jeannie’s unique perspectives are brought to life through candid conversations about topics ranging from her own personal life to daily news headlines to beauty, fashion and relationships.
Prior to “The Real,” Jeannie was known as the sassy host of Style Network’s Emmy-nominated show “How Do I Look?” where she utilized her cheeky sense of humor to boost the self-esteem and life goals of women through their style choices. With a vision to empower women worldwide, she brought the success of this American show overseas and is now the executive producer and host of the lively and heartfelt series, “How Do I Look? Asia.”
In addition to her multiple hit television shows, Jeannie has been a recurring fashion correspondent for the “Today Show,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Insider” and “E! News” where she served as the primary style authority for trend reports and popular awards show coverage. Other credits include hosting GSN’s retro futuristic, skill-based competition series “Steampunk'd” and co-hosting Style Network’s live late-night talk show “Style Pop,” keeping viewers up-to-date on the latest lifestyle trends in fashion, beauty and pop culture. Jeannie was the color commentator for NBC’s Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions along with the red carpet pre-shows for the Golden Globe Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Grammy’s and Oscars. She was also the resident fashion expert dramatically transforming contestants on NBC's hit series “The Biggest Loser,” “Asia's Next Top Model” and more. Before “How Do I Look?” Jeannie hosted several specials for Style Network including: “Go Fix Yourself,” “Dude,” “Where’s Your Style?” and “Lucky Shops,” in conjunction with Lucky magazine and their series “Tips Today” conjointly with the “Today Show” opposite Natalie Morales. Prior to her work with Style Network and NBC, Jeannie was part of the beauty squad on the hit TLC series “10 Years Younger” and also was one of the judges on the TLC reality series “Miss America: Reality Check.”
Outside of her television career, Jeannie has been a brand ambassador for numerous companies including: Macy’s, Colgate, Yoplait, The Limited, Microsoft, Biogen, David’s Bridal, Ford, Avon, Splenda and Woolite. In the digital realm, Jeannie was the resident contributor to Perez Hilton’s fashion site Cocoperez.com. She hosted the first-ever stylist competition on YouTube Maker’s “The Next Style Star” and was the digital correspondent for NBC's “Fashion Star.” Her popularity on television and social media paved the way for Jeannie to become a frequent live event emcee for BeautyCon, which is America’s largest global beauty experience for millennials and digital content creators.
Before becoming a television personality and household style expert, Jeannie was a celebrity makeup artist and stylist from San Jose, California. Throughout her career, she has worked with many celebrities including: Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Aniston, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Osbourne. She premiered on the Emmy-nominated Asian American television magazine show “Stir.” After gaining attention for her spunky personality and knack for style, Jeannie became an entertainment reporter and producer of the WB’s “Daily Mixx” before moving to Los Angeles to host MTV’s “Granted” alongside Frankie Muniz. Her big break came when she was tapped to host “Character Fantasy” on USA Network and eventually became a regular correspondent for “Extra” alongside Mario Lopez.
Jeannie has made it her mission to inspire women. She has received rave reviews as a speaker at events such as Maria Shriver’s The Women’s Conference on the main stage alongside Jane Fonda, Jessica Simpson and Donna Karan. Recently, Jeannie was honored by Ciroc, Variety and WWD Magazine as one of their 2016 Women of Empowerment.
Jeannie’s passion to revolutionize women from the outside in stems from her psychology of style otherwise known as “Wearapy.” She defines Wearapy as her philosophy that personal style and wardrobe can have a transforming and healing effect on a woman’s confidence and mood. Rather than focusing on trends or labels, Jeannie teaches how this practice can lead to a more productive day and in turn a more fulfilling, purposeful life.
Deeply committed to charities that advance women’s interests, Jeannie serves as a board member for organizations, such as Dress for Success and Same Sky, to build the business potential for women. As a first-generation daughter to immigrant Vietnamese and Chinese parents, Jeannie strives to give back to her homeland by frequently traveling to Asia to volunteer her time with inspiring organizations dedicated to helping those who are less fortunate. For the past five years, she has served as an advocate to fight human trafficking. Currently Jeannie is an ambassador for the Pacific Links Foundation, an organization committed to rescuing women and children from sex trafficking and modern-day slavery by providing employment and vocational opportunities. She is also an ambassador for Step Up whose mission is to propel girls from under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential by empowering them to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women. Before that, she served as a missionary and ambassador to organizations such as Nightlight International, Not For Sale and Heartbeat Vietnam.
Driven by the power of unity in community, Jeannie travels frequently and uses her social media and blog, (www.theJeannieMai.com), to engage her audience in her daily conversations about social causes, personal style, family, faith, love and life. She is committed to using her voice to celebrate the potential of others. As Jeannie says, "There will always be somebody who can't see your worth. Don't let it be you."
Meet actress/model Karrueche Tran, one of Hollywood's most beloved starlets. Hailing from Los Angeles, Karrueche began her career in entertainment as a celebrity stylist. With her sweet demeanor and exotic looks, Karrueche leaves a trail of fans and admirers everywhere she goes. It was only after a big break with BET in 2014 that Karrueche began her career as an actress. After a handful of indie film projects, Karrueche eventually got her big break when she was cast in TNT’s “CLAWS” which premiered this summer to rave reviews.
Karrueche got her first taste of being in front of the camera when she hosted the BET Awards red carpet and multiple events during BET Weekend. The experience propelled Karrueche into additional opportunities with the BET family, hosting multiple 106 and Park episodes and BET specials. Over the past two years, Karrueche has continued to perfect her craft and continues to grow as an emerging actress with roles in the films “The Nice Guys”, “A Weekend with the Family”, “:Only for One Night”, and the SXSW award-winning horror film “Welcome to Willits”. Karrueche has also guest starred on the Centric hit series “Single Ladies” and the Emmy-winning series “The Bay.” In 2017, Karrueche co-starred in the Rashida Jones executive produced dramedy “CLAWS,” opposite Niecy Nash. She also completed principal photography starring in Lionsgate’s HONORED.
Karrueche has also had the opportunity to collaborate with some incredible brands including ColourPop, for the launch of her makeup collaboration KaePop, a line of high-end temporary tattoos with Tattify called K-INK, a capsule collection for festival season with This is a Love Song, as well as V/SUAL by Van Styles on a limited edition t-shirt line, which was exclusively sold at PacSun. Her love for fashion and beauty is complimented by her desire to give back through charity and philanthropic endeavors. "Helping those who are facing a challenge is extremely important to me. If you have an opportunity to lend a helping hand to someone in one way or another, you absolutely should."
Philanthropy has always played a significant role in the young star’s life. Karrueche currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Environmental Media Association’s (EMA), a non-profit organization committed to providing urban school gardens that inspire students to make healthier food choices and have greater self-confidence and leadership skills. As a young EMA board member, Karrueche especially plays a big proponent in inspiring youth. She has donated her time and own investment to the Green My School Program through her ColourPop cosmetics line, as well as currently spearheading The Watt’s Garden Project.
Over the course of her remarkable career thus far, singer/ songwriter Judith Hill has shared her musical gifts in a variety of ways. The Los Angeles native has been a background singer for such legends as Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ringo Starr, and the late Michael Jackson, serving as the latter’s duet partner on the classic ballad, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” which later became a highlight of Jackson’s posthumously released film This Is It. (Hill’s deeply moving performance of “Heal the World” was an indelible moment during the singer’s public memorial service.) She also appeared in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of several acclaimed background singers, including Hill, who earned a Grammy Award for “Best Music Film” for her participation. Post-This Is It, Hill appeared on The Voice, where she began to cement her identity as a solo artist with a series of knockout performances that showed her ability to put her own distinctive, captivating spin on familiar songs.
Hill’s global fanbase has gotten to know her through these high-profile performances. However her biggest champion these days, yet another music legend, did not. “Prince did not see me on This Is It. He had not seen 20 Feet from Stardom. He had not seen me on The Voice. He saw me on some random TV interview where I was asked who I’d want to collaborate with and I said him,” Hill says with a laugh. After doing a bit of research, Prince called Hill personally and said he’d love to work with her. “Right out of the gate it was an artist-to-artist conversation about music,” Hill recalls of the call, during which Prince also extended an invitation to the listening party for his latest album, Art Official Age and, a few weeks later, to his studio in Minneapolis. “There were no plans,” she says of her first time at Paisley Park. “It was just an invitation to come hang out. I jammed with his band. I played him some of my songs. That's when we began to start talking about music and creating. That's really when it all began.”
After hearing her original songs and watching Hill sing live, Prince knew he was in the presence of a genuine talent, just as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson realized before him. He offered to play on and produce her debut solo album, Back in Time, which was offered as a free download for two days in March on LiveNation.com and quickly attracted 200,000 downloads. The album is a showcase for Hill’s soulful, powerhouse voice and considerable songwriting prowess, with smart, deeply felt songs about racial injustice (“As Trains Go By”) and overcoming struggle (“Angel in the Dark,” “Beautiful Life,” “Cry, Cry, Cry”) nestled comfortably alongside supremely funky party jams (“Turn Up,” “My People,” “Wild Tonight”) that Hill says are a celebration of music, community, and Family.
“I had written some of these songs a long time ago and had been performing them for a while,” Hill says. “Prince helped give them a whole new makeover. He would say, ‘You can make a stadium song. Picture yourself in a big stadium singing this. How big is the song? Is it going to register to the person in the very back?’ There are ways to make that happen, like simplifying the structure or brightening up the chords. I used to play ‘Beautiful Life’ with minor chords. It was a bit more melancholy. Prince said, ‘Why don't we try it with major chords?’ All of a sudden, the song opened up in an epic way.”
Sonically, Back In Time’s amalgam of soul, funk, blues, and jazz has an appealing retro quality thanks to the duo’s production. “I told him that it needed to be a classic-sounding record,” Hill says. “I want people to feel like they're listening to something that was done in the ’70s. We did it all in analog, recorded to tape, the old-fashioned way. It was fun doing that with Prince. He would tell me old stories about how he recorded things. It was very cool to work with a legend who understands that world better than anyone. Oftentimes, newer producers are just trying to recreate a way of doing things. With Prince, it was the real deal. It was like a time machine. That's one of the reasons why the record is called Back in Time. The sound of the record, the style of it, the way it was recorded — all of it was back in time.”
Hill says the recording sessions at Paisley Park, which took place over a few weeks in January, often felt like flashbacks. “It reminded me of how I grew up, jamming with my family for hours. My brother was on the drums, my mom on the keys, my dad on the bass, and I would sing. So it was like going back to my roots.” Hill’s father, Robert “Pee Wee” Hill, is a pioneering funk bassist known for his work with such artists as Sly Stone, Jimmy Smith, and Bob Dylan, while her mother, Michiko Hill, is an accomplished keyboardist, with credits that include Rufus & Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, and Billy Preston. In addition to their steady session work, the Hills also own and operate Master’s Crib Recording Studio in Los Angeles. “My bedroom was actually the vocal booth for their first little home studio, so I always had singers in my room,” says Hill, adding that one visitor was Sly and The Family Stone’s Rose Stone, who became one of her early mentors. Hill wrote her first song at age four and eventually began singing in school choirs and in the studio with her parents. “I couldn't help but sing,” she says. “It really came from within.”
Her passion eventually led her to earn a degree in music composition at Biola University, where she wrote her first symphony as well as pieces for piano, vocal groups, chamber ensembles, and string quartets. After graduating, Hill spent a year in Paris, singing background vocals for French singer/songwriter Michel Polnareff. Then in 2009, Hill was tapped to join Jackson on his comeback concert tour This Is It, but the star died less than three weeks before the tour was scheduled to kick off. “Michael unlocked my imagination in a big way,” Hill says of her time with Jackson. “Seeing such an incredible show put together right in front of me made me realize that there's so much more to be explored and discovered as an artist, and that we, as artists, have the power to transform lives and impact them in a major way. Michael showed me that I can dream big. I began to ask myself, ‘What do I really want to say to an audience?’”
Hill considered that same question while making Back In Time. “I want people to remember good times when they listen to it,” she says. “It’s good old-fashioned music and I hope people will experience it that way. I want them to be happy. I want them to dance. I want them to feel encouraged. I want it to be the soundtrack to their lives.”
Epik High, formed in 2001, opened a new chapter of hip-hop in Korea. The group is composed of well known singer-song writers who compose both lyrics and music covering a wide range of genres. With each successive album, Epik High has taken a step towards the global music market by displaying a unique approach to music and original, literary lyrics.
Having proven their artistic skills in music, Epik High has been recognized by many other musicians and has a diverse following worldwide.
Not only has Epik High won numerous domestic music awards since debut, they have been ranked number one on the iTunes Hip Hop chart in US. In 2009, they successfully embarked on their first “Map the Soul” world tour, with concerts in Seoul, Tokyo, Kobe, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. In an interview Tablo had with CNN, Epik High was credited as being one of the groups that helped popularize hip-hop music in Korea. Beyond CNN, he was also featured in an interview with BBC worldwide news. Recently, Epik High has come back with their 8th album [Shoebox], and have seen success across the board taking No.1 on iTunes music charts throughout Asia and topping Korean charts. The album has been widely recognized as a masterpiece. Thanks to the album’s success, they are on an Asia tour “Parade 2014” which consists of 15 concerts in 9 cities. 11 years since debut, Epik High continues to shine as the iconic hiphop group of Korea.
The Kinjaz are a brotherhood of artists on a quest to fearlessly explore the depths of their imagination and artistic purpose. Although primarily known for their signature choreography style and creative storytelling, the Kinjaz have spent their recent years evolving and expanding their Brotherhood into a multi-faceted company which includes their own clothing line, dance studio, international live theatre show, and media production company. Most recently, the Kinjaz opened up their 2nd dance studio in Chengdu, China - Kinjaz Dojo China. Kinjaz are on a global mission to innovate, entertain, and positively impact the world through movement, media, and mentality. “Respect all, fear none."
As the longest-running theater of color in the country, East West Players produces artistic work and educational programs that foster dialogue exploring Asian Pacific Islander (API) experiences. Over its remarkable 52 year history, EWP has produced over 230 plays and musicals. As an advocate for Asian American talent and stories, EWP has been a home for world-renowned API artists, such as John Cho, Gedde Watanabe, Tia Carrere, George Takei, Amy Hill, Constance Wu, Randall Park, Kal Penn, Suzy Nakamura, and David Henry Hwang.
East West Players is honored to be a part of Kore Media's 2017 Unforgettable Awards and will be presenting highlights from their upcoming production of the Broadway musical Allegiance with cast members from both the Broadway and LA production.
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