By Meilin Quinn
Rough Rider (Honolulu, Hawaii)
He’s not a household name yet, but this young music maker is primed to do big things. While most students come home after a long day of school and immediately collapse onto their beds, sophomore CJ Park is in the studio–recording an album.
Yes, not a mixtape, not a compilation of cam-recorded music covers, but an actual album. The ambitious singer/songwriter is pursuing his music in hopes of getting signed by a record label, and fulfilling his life-long dream of becoming a successful performer.
“As a kid, I would watch these incredible musicians on TV–people like Michael Jackson and Boyz II Men–and I would just admire their success, and aspire to one day be like them. This is something I have always wanted to do,“ Park explained.
However, Park’s main inspiration is a little closer to home than Michael Jackson. As a matter of fact, the sophomore has his family to thank for his initial interest in music.
“I grew up with a very musical background. Both of my parents sang, my Grandfather performed with Ray Charles, and my dad was actually a DJ. I was basically exposed to music at a really young age,” Park said. “And my parents are part of the reason why I’m pushing myself so hard with all of this. I know they want the best for me, and I know how supportive they are of my goal. They give so much to me, and I’d like to one day become successful and return the favor.“
The sophomore, who has been writing music since the age of 12, uses singing as his platform for cathartic expression.
“When something is weighing heavy on my mind, I write about it. I’ve probably written over 150 songs,” said Park. “ Most of my music is inspired by real-life situations, whether that would be relationships or certain experiences. Actually, that’s why a lot of my songs are so meaningful to me: because they are about special people.”
After working nearly a year on the album, the recording studio has become Park’s second home.
“I’m always in the studio; 24/7, day and night. Even when I’m tired, I’ll just be up at 1 a.m. working with Nobu, my producer, putting together the songs. I pretty much live there now, “ Park said.
Producer Nobu Takahashi met Park in church, and arranges the beats and melodies of the songs.
“CJ has a great ear for music; He’s really creative when it comes to writing verses,” Takahashi said. “His potential for success is very apparent in his voice and ideas.”
The currently untitled album is set to release in June 2015 on Spotify, ITunes, and SoundCloud. It will consist entirely of original songs, mostly of the R&B, alternative, and hip-hop fusion genres.
“I just want to put my music out there for world, not just for my friends and family to hear,” Park said. “Within the next year, I see myself touring the world, promoting my album, and pretty much performing. All I want to do is perform. I really can’t see myself doing anything else in life.”
Image Source: Rough Rider