Did you know that JUNNY’s new single was from a TikTok challenge?
Korean-Canadian singer-songwriter JUNNY is finally releasing his new single INVITATION (Feat. GAEKO) three years later. Appropriately for the times, the single is from a TikTok challenge contest held by Codeshare titled #8barrelay. JUNNY didn’t expect that his TikTok challenge video would reach over 3 million views, but the algorithm worked its magic, and fans were urging him to release the full-length version of the track. As proof of the hype, it was the most requested song during his European tour this past Spring.
How the collaboration with GAEKO came to life started when JUNNY became a big fan of his works since his high school days. “Just being a big fan of him, I thought it would be amazing to have him on the song and be a dream come true kind of thing,” the singer-songwriter stated, paying homage to one of GAEKO’S earlier works in the verse he wrote for INVITATION.
In college, he studied music production and took a leap of faith by traveling to Korea after finishing his degree. It was in Korea that JUNNY’s career took off after Luhan, a former member of EXO, bought JUNNY’s song after he was putting out demos. With the check cashed, JUNNY used the funds from the sale and moved to Korea not long after. The rest, as they say, is history.
SONGWRITER TO THE STARS
JUNNY may not be a household name (yet), but the songs he has written for other artists are. His discography includes writing and composing for some of K-pop’s biggest names. NCT U’s From Home and Kai’s Mmmh are a few singles he’s credited for. While there can be a challenge when it comes to writing for another artist’s perspective to fit their needs, Junny doesn’t see it that way. “When I write for others, the perspective is already given structurally. They give me criteria for what they want. To me, personally, it’s easier that way.”
As for his music, JUNNY turns to his life, and his imagination. “I’ve only lived so much. Sometimes you gotta use your imagination and pull things out of your mind [or someone else, a movie]. Pretty much inspired from anywhere. Most of the time it’s reality but I do take hints here and there from imagination”, the 27-year-old says.
“I’m looking forward to the future more and it’s giving me positive vibes rather than just like ‘Oh man this is getting very tiring,’ ’’ JUNNY comments on what’s inspiring him currently. “I’m at this pace at where I’m running a marathon and I’ve found the right spot. You just gotta keep going.”
Aside from being a pro on the stage, JUNNY is also flexing his mic skills as a regular host for Dive Studios’s GET REAL podcast series along with PENIEL (of BTOB) and Ashley Choi. In this podcast series, they discuss things that touch on real-life experiences and other personal anecdotes that listeners and viewers can tune in to. This past Spring, JUNNY had the opportunity to co-host HWAITING Season 2 with Ashley. Artists in the K-Pop realm, namely BM (of Kard), WayV, and The Boyz competed against each other through a series of challenges.
“It gives me a lot of confidence. In terms of music, it gives me ideas when being in that environment,” shares JUNNY on the similarities with hosting and making music. “Being a part of “GET REAL” is awesome because I was able to hear other artists’ perspectives on what they thought about music. Just talking about life and hearing how they live in Korea.” Building off on what he said, it allows him to relax and not think about work. It feels less like a job, and more like a hangout with his friends.
GROWING AND MATURING
While JUNNY made his trip to Korea in his 20s, he didn’t know what it meant to be an adult until he moved to the country. Living alone in Korea proved to be one of the greatest teachers he’s ever had. “I’ve grown and matured a lot. Getting used to being alone gave me super hard training to be a grown man.” Being surrounded by musicians and other talented creatives in Korea pushes JUNNY to give his best work.
JUNNY shares that staying positive and keeping himself moving forward alleviate the stressors while staying consistent toward his goals in the music industry. And one of his main sources of strength is his dog, Leo. “He’s been a main priority. Sometimes he gets me tired. But he’s been a life-changing thing,” he gushes. More than just a buddy in Korea, Leo showed JUNNY what it meant to care for someone else. “I only thought about my life for the longest time and now I have to think about him as well.”
As JUNNY continues to pen bops for A-list stars, so too does his career continue to grow as one of Korea’s most promising singer-songwriters. He’s taking every new experience with stride as he learns to be a better artist. “I’ve learned to enjoy it. The older you get, the more days you live. I think that’s gonna affect my music as well.”
Photos courtesy of MAUVE Company