Jae Jin, the up and coming artist out of Baltimore, Maryland is fighting along side the underdogs to create a new music culture to reshape the industry. Coming from a diverse background, Jae Jin has seen life from both sides of the track. Growing up as an immigrant with a struggling mother to make ends meet, then as quickly as life changes, he was experiencing the privileged life with his new father. Even with this change and being able to afford a better life, he never changed the values of his roots.To this day Jae Jin appreciates the hard work of creating a L3gaci and doesn’t seek the easy way out. After his break through recording of a Sam Cook cover, “Nothing Can Change this Love”, surfaced and record deals were pouring in, that was not the route he wanted to take. Jae Jin is a true artist, seeking his voice to be heard on his terms. Being led by his faith, culture and heritage, his music will triumph on his mission to bring joy and create his L3gaci… to see the underdog rise.
L3GACI- Let us first find out more about you, having quite a different upbringing, with Korean roots and breaking into music, how has your family culture shaped and challenge your growth?
Jae Jin -My family culture is quite a unique and diverse one. The first half of my life, I grew up as an immigrant under a single mother who worked 5-6 jobs to raise me on her own. During this time, I got a chance to experience what it was like to be less fortunate. To be “poor.” Some neighborhoods I grew up in were mostly black and Hispanic folks. The second half, I grew up under a white stepfather who I consider my real father. He is a wonderful guy who was able to teach me so much about life. Some would say I grew up “privileged” during this latter half. To be able to see both sides, has added to my ability to relate to all folks across all walks of life. In this same way, the different folks I’ve come across in my life thus far have all influenced my taste in music and my musicianship.
L3GACI- As well, how has these challenges shaped your worldview on your goals?
-My goals aren’t too complicated. My goals are not related to buying a house, obtaining degrees, reaching the top of a specific career, or having a big family. My goals are a lot more day-to-day. I don’t waste my days, and I aim to love those I come across, no matter where they come from. I look to live outwardly. I look to give back and to help those less fortunate than myself. I aim to be joyful despite my circumstances. My faith has a lot to do with that, and It’s my hope to transfer this peace to others, and if it’s through music and relationships, all the better.
L3GACI- Not only are you musically talented, you are well educated, how does your education help shape your music?
Jae Jin -I am absolutely blessed and privileged to have even had the opportunity to receive a top tier education. The experience attending Johns Hopkins University definitely taught me a lot about preparing myself for the real world, and also taught me a lot about another group of people out there. I saw many of my peers get on the path toward success and financial stability. But so many years later, I’ve learned that even when you’ve obtained some of those goals, some folks can still be very unhappy. It’s really about perspective and doing what you truly are passionate doing. In terms of how this shapes my music, I’ve found that music is the one language that is truly universal. In this politically charged era, there are very few things most people agree on, but music is something everyone either loves or is moved by. Thus, music is a very powerful tool to be able to encourage others through.
L3GACI- In past conversations had with L3GACI, you made it very clear that money is not the forefront on your mind when working, what drives your passions?
Jae Jin -Money indeed is a tricky enigma. You definitely need it. If someone says they don’t’ need money, they’re lying. You gotta pay the bills, buy food, stay clothed, etc. Now, the real gem of truth is that you don’t necessarily need a lot to be happy. And then from there, it gets interesting because you learn that the more you have or obtain, the more you want. I’m also a firm believer that financial stability will follow when you put 100% into your passions or work. And if you’re able to align both of these two things, you’re even more fortunate. Thus with music, passion drives me to continue to incorporate music into my life, but I know my music will be influenced by the life I live. By the work I do. By the people I love. By so many things that are not of myself.
L3GACI- As well, you give back to the community and fight for the underground, how has your experience now in Baltimore, Maryland help shape this?
Jae Jin -I have lived in Baltimore for over a decade, and every year, my heart grows for this city. It is an underdog city and there is so much brokenness here. The majority of my job, is pretty much social work. It is about providing human services for those who are under-represented. Every day, whether it is through my work or walking the streets of Baltimore, I see misfortune, but I also see opportunities to love. I see opportunities to heal. I am a firm believer in perspective and when you stop to really think about all the things you have, you realize you don’t even have all that much time to think about the things that you’ll pity yourself about. I’ve been very humbled, speaking to folks who have so little, yet are still so thankful. This keeps me moving and continues to open my heart to wanting to encourage those who need to be encouraged. God willing, I hope to live out my days doing this. And yes, if another vessel by which to carry this out is music, all the better!
L3GACI- If you can start to describe what you hope to accomplish with your music, what would you say?
Jae Jin -I hope to share my words and my gifts with those who will listen. I hope that more folks will listen not just to my music, but to the things I have to say. I hope that I will be able to make friends through the journey, rather than through the products. It really is about the journey. So I know much will be accomplished, and some of it, I may not even see the fruits during my lifetime.
L3GACI- Hearing you talk about your experience, were all of a sudden people are reaching out to you from record companies about signing with them, you seemed surprised, what was your reaction to the industry responding so well about your music?
Jae Jin -I was very weary. Honestly, there have been opportunities before, so even with the WorldStar bit, while I was thankful that others found the video to be encouraging, I was weary of all the promises thrown my way. I got emails and messages from all sorts of people promising this and that. Most were promises of money and fame. I’m not going to say these promises were all empty, but the only thing I knew for certain was myself and to a degree what I knew I wanted and didn’t want. I knew money and fame were not things that I am driven by.
L3GACI- Your fight is for the underdog, what are the steps you are hoping to take in your process to see the underdog get ahead?
Jae Jin -I want to be able to accomplish some music-related goals, through non-traditional means. I want to make it more about the journey than about the end result. I want to connect with like-minded people. I want to extend a positive mindset and encourage others. My music will never be about superficial things. I’m not saying I’ll always have happy music. Suffering is something that every individual goes through. It’s just a matter of being able to relate and find comfort in that the suffering isn’t without reason. I just know that my message will always be one of positivity and looking beyond what we see. It’s about faith.
L3GACI- What advice can you give to young individuals struggling with music or education who might not be as fortunate as others might?
Jae Jin -I think the best advice I’ve learned is that when it comes to life and the cards you’ve been dealt, you can do anything with what you have. How? Because nobody can do anything alone. We’ve been given a very valuable gift in the form of relationships and people. These are the ways we’ll be able to accomplish great goals. It’s not just 100% hard work on your end. You cannot go about a journey alone. You need others to inspire and push you forward, but also, you need to give of yourself. You need to help others reach their goals too. This collaborative spirit will always lead to results… and some you may not even have planned from the get-go.
L3GACI- What L3gaci do you hope to leave behind?
Jae Jin -I hope to leave this world a better place than I found it. That may sound cliché, but the world includes people too. SO every person I come across, I hope to have encouraged them to be better, to heal from something, to gain insight or wisdom, and even to help them along to the next person who will do those things. Connect others. Connect with others. Love others. Live for more than yourself.