Before his career as a K-pop idol, Jackson Wang was a sabre fencer for Hong Kong’s fencing team and won first place at the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in 2011. He then pursued a music career, auditioned for JYP Entertainment, and became a member of the K-pop group GOT7.
During his time under JYP, Wang took the initiative to create his own record label, TEAM WANG, in 2017. The label conducts business in music, production and artist management, and Wang serves as the creative director and designer.
Wang’s contract with JYP Entertainment ended at the beginning of this year and the singer has parted ways with the label. Since leaving, the 27-year-old musician has been busy with TEAM WANG and working to produce new music.
During the first few years of his solo career, he mainly performed hip-hop and rap. However, with every release, Wang continues to evolve both musically and personally, showing his true colors and the person he is becoming.
Some of Wang’s music videos act as a vehicle for the musician to share a part of his culture with his fans. He shows the audience who he is, and he carries his identity with him as he continues to grow more popular in America.
Wang’s single “100 Ways” is sung in English, but the music video seems to evoke an ancient Chinese “Romeo and Juliet”; the video blends supernatural elements with the genre of Chinese fiction that revolves around the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. Though the song is about not being able to control time and love, the music video depicts a heartbreaking love story between a warrior and his long-lost lover. The artistic set-up accompanied by the eccentric choreography helps showcase the cultural aspects of the video. By putting different elements together into one project, “100 Ways” truly feels like a masterpiece.
Wang and Galantis collaborated on “Pretty Please.” The music video for this track is a ‘90s Hong Kong love movie theme. The singer directed the music video himself and called it the modern version of the love story from “100 Ways.” It has the classic love story trope where the boy sees a girl and falls in love at first sight, but does he get the girl in the end? While the music video is strongly focused on the musical performance, it still heavily features the whole “’90s Chinese love story” concept, which is exactly what Wang intended to do. He also meant to give the fans a mini plot twist. When listening to this edgy, upbeat song, the visuals are not what you would expect to see.
His most recent release is “LMLY,” and the music video has a similar plot and setting to “Pretty Please.” However, the story is a more straightforward cinematic narrative. Just like “Pretty Please,” Wang also self-directed “LMLY.” It is apparent that the singer is truly dedicating a lot of time and effort to expressing himself with the power of visuals, seen by his confident leadership of his artistic team. By taking creative control, Wang is able to fully impart a concept that’s closely related to his identity.
Wang’s reputation and influence in the music industry are undeniable — he is definitely making a positive impact on Asian representation in Western media through his work. With his identity as a former K-pop idol, Wang is opening new doors for his fans and allowing them to see a more authentic side of him. He is also sharing parts of his culture through his music videos that are heavily influenced by classic Chinese films. Once viewers pay closer attention to the smaller details, they will be able to see the cultural and historical significance.
Wang has taken part in many interviews with media outlets such as Buzzfeed and iHeartRadio, and he even appeared as a guest and performed on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” On top of that, the artist continues to promote in China as well, and his hard work is definitely paying off as he consistently evolves and accomplishes great things.
Wang is also reportedly featured on an original soundtrack for Marvel’s highly anticipated “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” a film starring Sima Liu. Though it has yet to be confirmed, many fans are convinced that it is the singer’s voice in the trailer.