There have been a number of notable K-pop debuts over the years, but first ever openly gay K-pop singer is about to give the industry its most unique debut yet.
In a new interview with NBC News, singer Marshall Bang revealed that he was met some resistance almost immediately when he moved from New York City to Seoul to pursue his music career, saying that he had people telling him that gay people didn't actually exist and that it's a "Western thing."
That didn't stop Marshall from continuing to pursue his dream though, and after five years of working his way through the Korean entertainment industry, he is finally preparing to make his K-pop debut as its first openly gay singer. Despite not being deterred from his dream, Marshall has admitted that he doesn't know what awaits him when he debuts, but he thinks it will be worth it if just one person ends up listening and connecting with his music.
While Marshall is pursuing a career in South Korea, the singer says that his music is intrinsically linked to his experiences as both a gay man and a Korean-American, saying that it is important for him to deal with those issues through his work.
"A lot of immigrant children, third-culture kids, mixed-race children, and people who are in the LGBTQIA community, we kind of have to grow up quicker. We're kind of forced to deal with our identity issues a lot sooner than I feel like the general public would. I feel like in doing that and simultaneously doing music it fed into each other. Which is why I feel like the music that I'm making now is so important not just to me but just to everyone in general."
While Marshall has yet to release any of his own solo work in Korea, fans can expect a distinct a distinct R&B influence as the singer has named artists like Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Teddy Pendergrass, and Patti Labelle is his inspirations. Having said that though, fans may have heard Marshall's voice already when he was featured as the vocalist on Djfriz's "Resist" or when he appeared on the Korean singing competition show "Star Audition - The Next Big Thing 3."
Despite working with some of the biggest Hip-Hop and R&B in Korea, Marshal does still harbour some concerns about how everyone will receive him, especially the gay community within Korea.
"Even within the gay community here in Korea I don't know if they'll accept me. It's kind of like, 'So who made you our representative?'"
As for when he will make his debut, Marshall has not revealed a specific date other than he is aiming for a Summer release. But while he may be making waves as K-pop's first openly gay singer, Marshall says that it's all about the music at the end of the day.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, Marshall Bang, and we can't wait for your debut!
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