Say hello to Korean R&B sensation, Dean
If your idea of Korean music stops at the bounds of Psy’s Gangnam Style and a couple of tracks from BTS, you’ve barely scraped the surface. Lesser-known to the global audience but armed with a disarmingly dedicated following nonetheless, are Korea’s R&B artists. Not quite idols, this faction of music-makers delivers smooth vocals, honest lyrics and more often than not, a sound that evolves with every album.
One of the frontrunners is coming to local shores this weekend. Meet Dean.
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Perhaps it’s the chiseled jawline and oft-coiffed hair, the candid balance between artsy and goofy photos that punctuate his Instagram or it could be the rebellious vibe (that has arguably multiplied a hundredfold with his more recent releases) that snugly fences in his persona––it's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, but something about the artist reminds of a softer, modern-day James Dean. In fact, he named himself after the quintessential bad boy.
Unlike other artists who cloak themselves in pseudonyms and images that don’t carry over behind closed doors, “Dean” isn’t a wall the singer (born Kwon Hyuk) hides behind. His music––sometimes tender and dreamy like in tracks D (Half Moon) and Come Over, other times heavy with tightly-wrung rap and dense beats like Bermuda Triangle, a collaborative track with fellow musicians Zico and Crush––hardly takes on the same form twice. That’s the beauty of it: it transforms, it grows. It isn’t held back by what his previous albums dictate he should sound like nor anchored on the melodies the public wants to hear from his mouth.
Dean’s discography is a diary. His music is a look inside his head.
The result? A stunning body of work and a sound that is both sultry and electric, chameleonic yet familiar.
This is the sound Dean is bringing to Manila. The show falls right on his 26th birthday too, so you can expect to hear us busting our lungs a little extra this weekend.
Art Alexandra Lara