(photo credit http://davidchoimusic.com/)
So the team from AT&T It Can Wait Campaign reached out to me and asked if I wanted to do an exlusive interiew with David Choi so of course I said "YES!!" The interview was yesterday and it was an awesome experience. He's very personable and I was really nervous at first, but after awhile I found him really easy to talk to and affable. He often says he doesn't smile a lot but during the interview he was smiling a lot and joking around and serious/contemplative at other moments depending on the question.
Here is the transcript from the interview:
Tell us about your upbringing. What were your parents like?
My upbringing… I grew up in a musical family, my dad’s a musician and my mom was the business woman of the house. I grew up playing piano. I discovered song writing when I was 16 and I’ve been doing it ever since.
I read they were very strict, and wanted you to practice a lot. How did it affect you?
Well I hated music in the beginning (laughs), hated music growing up but I found my passion which was actually creating music and my parents were not very supportive in the beginning, neither were they anti… probably more on the anti before. I think most parents would say that “don’t pursue music for a career.”
But after a while they realized that is what I’m suppose to be doing and now they are fully supportive.
(Laughing when saying "Can't support a family...")
What were some of their reservations?
Can’t support a family while doing music, especially when someone wants to turn it into a career.
So you grew up in California in Anaheim?
That’s where I was born but I grew up in Garden Grove.
So did you experience what it was like being a minority in California?
Yep, I had no Asian friends. All my friends were Caucasian.
Was always a minority growing up.
Did that affect your identity?
I didn’t realize I was Korean until elementary school.
How did that affect your personality? Were you more quiet and shy?
I was always quiet shy, that's just my personality I guess.
How did that affect your song writing and how did it translate into your music?
I guess when you are a shy person you think a lot to yourself.
"Just my personality I guess"
Going back to your upbringing, when you become a parent what are some things you would do differently than your parents?
Um.. hmm. From what I heard the kids always end up becoming like the parents whether they like it or not in the beginning, so if I’m like my parents… (laughs). You know what, there are things that I would change, just because I’m not as traditional. I would definitely be more open minded about pursuing dreams. I think I’d be a cool parent. I think. I hope. We’ll see.
Maybe a little more laid back..
A little more laid back, of course you need to discipline them once in awhile but I think that would be my approach.
Tell us about your journey to success. You uploaded this video (on YouTube) and overnight YouTube puts it on their homepage. That was the beginning for you. What has that experience been like?
YouTube man uhh its been a roller coaster, like the
(laughs). Can’t really explain it in this one interview but been fortunate to have a lot of great opportunities. It's a lot of work too. I def work very hard and just try to make it work for me. It's a lot of pressure too at times. For the most part I feel very fortunate to be able to do this.
photo credit www.youtube.com)
SO I saw the
Thank you. It was a lot of pressure. I’m very glad I did it. I was gonna quit the day before.
("was gonna quit the day before")
Are you serious? You looked so calm. You didn’t break a sweat!
I was really scared.
It’s a company I really respect and that I watched for many years. Even though its not the real TED, it was a lot of pressure. I didn’t feel qualified to speak on there.
I liked how you talked about being the shy kid and you’re doing song writing and then thrust into the lime light. How has your success affect your personality?? You said you were really shy? In what ways has it challenged you?
Forces you to open up and forces you to get to know people and understand people. You interact with a lot of people on a daily basis.
SO that in itself helps to develop your more social side.
Also you have responsibilities too.
Yea I def have responsibilities with the audience I have I can share different messages. Like the It Can Wait Campaign. I can tell people to text and drive and hopefully some of them will listen to me (laughs).
("Hopefully some of them will listen to me")
So there’s a face to what you’re saying. If you were just song writing no body would know you.
Yea so I’m the face. As bad as it sounds, I don’t always want to be on my best behavior. Because it's a lot of pressure having to think about every single thing you say. There’s no freedom in that, but at the same time I do know that I have an audience that I can impact. That's why I do things like the It Can Wait Campaign where hopefully I can make a difference.
What has that transition been like? How is it like to carry that responsibility.
Um I kinda accept it. Try to do the best you can without letting it drive you too crazy.
Since your success have you faced any sort of racism?
There are always people who are not nice in the world especially on the internet and you just kind of had to deal with it. No one wants to hear anything negative about you. Just turn your face and don’t let it affect you.
What are some things that ground you and keep you focused, you have all these things, song writing, touring, traveling?
Things that keep me grounded… my friends. I think I’m pretty grounded in general because I don’t really care for superficial things. I hope that helps to keep me grounded. I’m pretty simple. Like food.
So you’re a foodie!
Yea I’m a foodie.
So you partnered with the It Can Wait Campaign and you wrote an
, what was your conviction to partner with this movement.
Well ATT or ICW reached to me and wanted to partner with me in spreading the message “Don’t Text While Driving” Because it is very important and its a huge prob here in the United States or probably in the world and just so that its not worth doing, so I wrote the song Chill Tonight.
("You want to write a decent song")
What was the process like?
Well you want to write a decent song, something that will be impactful at the same time. So I wanted to write something that was catchy and something people can listen to again and again but also be reminded that they should not text while driving. It’s a very simple song but hopefully people got the message and pple will continue to listen and not potentially get into an accident. So I hope you don’t text and drive.
I joined the campaign too! I did a whole thing on my blog about Don’t Text and Drive.
O you did? Good.
Do you have any other plans to come to Hawaii?
Definitely. It’s my favorite place on earth right now.
Seriously wow! If you ever need a place to stay we have an extra room!
Thank you! Hawaiians are so kind. (laughs)
Can you write something that says Deachoong Mama because I don’t think people will believe me.
Sure, how do you spell it?
There (shows the post-it). Cheese (smiles)
Thank you so much!
Thank you! Bye!
SO that was awesome! It was a great conversation and he was fun to talk to. More than that I have a lot of respect for him as someone who is using his platform to make an impact for good. He took the opportunity to offer his skills and talents to advance the It Can Wait Campaign. Please check out the campaigns website at
and take the pledge to NEVER TEXT and DRIVE!!