By SERENA LOW

 

K-Pop, K-Dramas and K-Food have been sweeping the globe, with fans all over the world joining the community of Korean culture lovers. With news of K-Pop star G-Dragon from BIGBANG recently visiting New Zealand, did you know we also have Kiwis represented in the Korean music scene?

David Shin, better known by his stage name Microdot, is a Korean rapper with roots tied to New Zealand. At only 23 years old, he has toured seven countries and collaborated with some of the hottest artists in the K-Hip hop industry.

So how did this proud Kiwi make it to the great stages in Korea? We got the chance to hang out with Shin himself to find out how he rode the Hallyu Wave into success.

Photo supplied by Culture Think.

Shin was born in 1993 in South Korea. At the age of three, Shin’s family immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, where he spent most of his childhood.

In his first year of intermediate school, Shin moved back to Korea after being scouted to create a Korean hip hop duo with now well-known rapper, Dok2. The duo was named ‘All Black’ after New Zealand’s iconic rugby team, and the duo quickly gained fame throughout Korea. So much so, that Shin was often followed by fangirls on his way home from school.

Unfortunately, a few years after their debut, disputes arose with their label and the duo broke up. Shin’s partner Dok2 remained in the Korean music industry, eventually becoming one of the most popular rappers in Korea.

Shin, on the other hand, moved back to New Zealand to be with his family.

Despite leaving the limelight in Korea, Shin does not regret his choice to move back under.

“I was too young, I had no idea what was going on. I came back to New Zealand, not to disappear from the public eye, but I needed to grow up. I’m thankful for it, though. Having that spotlight from a young age and having it constantly there, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Shin continued music as a “Bedroom MC,” however did not find much success within the New Zealand industry.

After encouragement from his brother, Sanchez, who is part of Korean hip hop trio Phantom, Shin returned to Korea in 2015 to join the televised rapping competition, Show Me The Money 4. With his prior history in the music scene, Shin’s fanbase rapidly grew, and despite not expecting to get far in the competition, he made it to the Top 10.

David Shin with his brother, Sanchez. Photo supplied by Culture Think.

After the competition, Shin remained independent but his popularity continued to grow.

“I really appreciate when people come up to me and freak out and all that stuff. Most people would consider it annoying, but being independent, I’m really grateful for that. It’s an indicator of people still considering me, [that] they still have interest in me as an artist. Which is good, I don’t have people always looking at my stats, how many times my music played and all that, I just enjoy it.”

Since Show Me The Money, Shin has released two EPs: Microtape and +64 *note the area code*.

You might have noticed that Shin likes to integrate references to Auckland or New Zealand here and there, even on collaborating tracks.

“AK, AK. That’s that Auckland city lifestyle.”

“Young fat boy straight outta New Zealand…”

“The hip hop [artists] I grew up with always repped their hometown, so that influenced me. I could represent the city [where] I was born in Korea, but I didn’t grow up there. Auckland City is really my hometown. I like to represent it a lot. I like to be loud about what I represent. I represent Auckland City ’cause whenever I’m there, I’m stress-free. I’m always happy.”

But music isn’t all there is to the rapper. Shin also has his own clothing label, formerly played in the New Zealand Premier League for soccer, and graduated from AUT with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business, Law and Economics. Shin was even awarded a postgrad scholarship for his outstanding grades, however he decided to pursue his music career in Korea instead.

So, with all of these accomplishments under his belt, what could be next for the Korean-Kiwi rapper?

Some fans might know that Shin runs a Facebook page called Fishing Experience NZ where he shares his fishing adventures. It seems that the rapper’s favourite past-time has now been integrated into his career. Shin recently began filming a fishing show with “legendary A-Class entertainers and actors.”

Alongside Shin, comedian Kyung Gyu Lee and veteran actor Deok Hwa Lee, both renowned pioneers in the Korean entertainment industry, will be going out on the waters and their fishing escapades will be broadcasted on national Korean television. But this isn’t the first time Shin has been on a reality show. Shin was also recently on Law Of The Jungle, where they filmed nine episodes in ‘wild’ New Zealand.

정글의법칙 와일드 뉴질랜드 ?? 를 통해서 정말 리얼 좋은사람들과 짱좋은 제작진분들만나고, 함께 즐겁고힘든촬영을했지만, 최고에 파트는 이사진윗쪽에 "SEOUL" 이라는 도시를 우리가 최초로 직접 허락받고 설치 했습니다. 뉴질랜드에서 3살때부터 자라왔는데 음악 통해 이런 영광스럽고 자랑스러운것을 할수있을진 몰랐당. 뉴질랜드 사는 분들, 언제가게되면 Cape Reinga 에 Seoul 표시판을 우리가 찍었다는걸 알길 바래. Grew up in New Zealand since as far as I can remember.. but honestly who knew an Auckland City raised kid would get this far, but through Law of the Jungle with permission we Stapled "SEOUL" in the city compass up in Cape Reinga… as a Korean Kiwi this was a huge honor. @sbs_jungle Shout out to 민선홍 PD. 오늘밤 마지막회! #정글의법칙 sbs 11PM. 아… 먼저떠나고 끝까지있던 맴버들 보고싶군 ?

A post shared by 마이크로닷 ? (@microdot) on

Shin is also in the midst of producing his first full-length album. We got the chance to talk to Shin about this upcoming album, the Korean music industry, idols, and a few other exciting endeavours he will be adding to his musical profile. Keep an eye out on TEARAWAY for Part Two of our interview with Microdot!

 

SERENA LOW is an International Business and Public Relations major who dreams of becoming a polyglot, loves making raw vegan durian cheesecakes, and is an expert in staying up past her bedtime. Here are some more samples of her work:

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