Musical Interlude


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Like most 16-year-olds, Jin loves music. So, when it came time to work on his wish, he knew what he wanted to do: record a song. “Jin knew from the first interview that he wanted to record music,” says James Donnelly, Jin’s wish granter, who assisted him throughout his wish journey. However, Jin still needed some time to learn how to put his thoughts into lyrics. “He kept saying he was not ready to record because he did not want to waste this opportunity. It took two years of preparation for Jin to feel comfortable and ready to unveil the song he wanted to record.”


James and Jin worked together over the course of three years to perfect his wish.

To help Jin on his way, James brought his friend Martina Bingham, an opera singer who works with the University of Hawai‘i music department, on board to coach Jin with his voice. James also arranged for slam poet Sterling Higa to teach Jin about the art of slam poetry and how to release one’s inner thoughts. Later, One World Tribe worked closely with Jin, showing him the ropes in the studio.


Image plays a big part in the making of a music star, and Jin is no exception. Stylist Crystal Pancipanci helped Jin ˚ nd the right wardrobe from stores at Ala Moana Center to create his look. Then, photographer Joe Marquez captured Jin’s rock star look with a shoot in Kaka‘ako. “It was amazing!” Jin’s mom, Fumiko, recalls. “I see a grown-up young man shining through as the star that he is. That was a great opportunity for him.”

With image set, music and lyrics down, it was time to record. James arranged for Jin to record his song at Village Studios in L.A.

“They set us up in what is, without question, their best studio space,” James says. Studio D is where Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Eminem and Lady Gaga have recorded—and now Jin.

“The most enjoyable part of ful˚ lling my wish was to record and create my song,” Jin explains. “The song I recorded is about how I am, and a little bit of the struggles I’ve been having. I will be continuing to become better at it and make more!”

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