We all know that the showcase would not be possible without the staff and the support of our sponsors and fans. Along with six amazing finalists this year, we also have a great lineup of guest performers and judges who’ve helped pave the way for Asian Americans in the entertainment industry. They are inspiring individuals who not only believe in Kollaboration’s mission, they live it every day. So let’s meet the special guest lineup for the 10th Annual Kollaboration Chicago Showcase!
Show MC – Jun Sung Ahn
Jun Sung Ahn, winner of Kollaboration Chicago 2012, is a YouTube violinist under the name JuNCurryAhn. He covers many popular songs and his specialty is K-Pop! With over 600,000 subscribers and 60 million views on YouTube, Jun Sung is building a strong online presence. He recently graduated from Northwestern University and plans on pursuing YouTube more in the future.
Run River North
In the course of several months, Run River North went from playing a handful of hometown shows in Los Angeles to performing to an audience of millions on late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! It was an explosive trajectory for the sextet, whose uplifting anthems march to the beat of drums, jangling guitars and a rapturous string section. The rapid ascent from obscurity launched a new chapter for the band (then called Monsters Calling Home), whose upcoming full-length self-titled debut ventures further into effervescent rock anchored with a down-home aesthetic. Like so many adventures, the troupe’s own journey began in a car.
In 2012, the cash-strapped band decided that instead of expensive studio space, they would record a song entirely inside of their Hondas. The simple experiment filmed in those cramped environs became a viral sensation. The people at Honda noticed and invited the band to perform at the executive offices. Then, the truth emerged. Instead of playing for Honda, they were booked as the musical guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The surprise performance charted a new course for the band. From their gritty beginnings on tour — where the band’s singer/songwriter Alex Hwang says they’d sell burned CDs and crash at the homes of gracious audience members — to now selling out Los Angeles’ legendary venue, The Troubadour. The band is currently working on their next album.
JRodTwins is a twin brother singersongwriter duo, based in the Northwest. Born in Seattle, WA, Jason and Justin is of Thai-American descent, and fame found them on their cover video of “Call Your Girlfriend”. It received well over 100,000+ views within their first week of upload. This launched their place in the YouTube community and to date, have aggregated over one million total views.
Paul, the winner of Kollaboration Chicago 2014, was born in Illinois, grew up in New Jersey and is now back in the Chicago area. The singer, songwriter and guitarist lists his biggest musical inspirations as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Buckley, The Civil Wars and John Mayer. If he could choose just one person in the world to perform with, however, it would be the legendary Prince.
Look out for Paul’s new EP “Villian” coming out in late August!
David Namkung is the Founder and Managing Partner of Clarity Partners, LLC, a Chicago-based management, technology, and trial consulting firm recognized by Inc. Magazine and Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the fastest growing private companies in America, ranking number 35 in Chicago.
Mr. Namkung currently chairs Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s Asian American Advisory Council, having previously served on her transition team. He is also a member of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s U.S. Senate Campaign Finance Committee. Mr. Namkung is active in the community, serving as Board President of Hanul Family Alliance, on the board of the Asian American Action Fund, and as a member of the Council of Korean Americans.
Jargon Dyonisis, or just Jargon, is a rapper from Chicago. He found his calling as an off-the-top freestyle battle rapper. But once the whole written battle rap era started, he focused his time writing songs instead. His biggest claim to fame might be one of the most unplanned events of his career. In 2011, his single, Ride with Me (aka Talk 2 Me), ended up on a leaked version of Lil Wayne’s Carter IV Mixtape, which saw over 40 million plays on YouTube alone. As a result, Jargon received the biggest paycheck of his life, signed by Cash Money Records, Universal Music Group.
Christine Minji Chang originally hails from the San Francisco Bay Area but now resides in LA. As Global Executive Director of Kollaboration, Minji oversees 13 city chapters, hundreds of volunteer staff and national programming efforts to elevate and empower Asian American artists, leaders, and grassroots community groups. She has witnessed the power of artistic expression and unified efforts in inspiring individuals to make real positive change.
Paul, the winner of Kollaboration Chicago 2014, is back this year to guest judge the 10th Annual Showcase! The singer/songwriter was born in Illinois, grew up in New Jersey and is now back in the Chicago area. He started singing around the age of 3 and started guitar at 15. Look out for Paul’s new EP “Villian” in late August!
Nikki AKA NIKKI X is a Chicago based DJ/Producer signed to Scratch NY. She recently DJed the Andy Grammar and ECHOKIDS concert as well as for Mario Tricocii and Ralph Lauren, among many other celebrities. Aside from her corporate clients, NIKKI X has DJed at the top spots in Chicago. She has also produced multiple chart topping remixes that have been played on B96 and Kiss FM. Her “No Boyfriend” remix was
recently signed to Sony Music.
Excited to meet these folks in person? Buy your tickets for the 10th Annual Kollaboration Chicago Showcase today! Come by for lunch or drinks at 12:15pm. Show starts at 1:30pm. Don’t miss it!