Jang Han-byul, who cut his teeth in a K-pop band, is competing in a Malaysian singing competition, Big Stage.
Jang was a vocalist on LEDApple from 2011 to 2014, finding considerable success with singles like Run To You, Time Is Up and Let The Wind Blow, before venturing out on his own.
As a solo artiste, Jang has over 10 albums under his belt.
The 29-year-old shares why he decided to foray into the Malaysian music industry: “Doing different things is what keeps me motivated. Performing for different fan bases in different countries, it’s always a different experience. And letting them listen to my original songs, that’s every singers dream.”
The singer, who was born in Brisbane, Australia, adds his Malaysian venture on Big Stage won’t be just a one-off affair.
“Even if I don’t win, I plan to sing Malay-language songs and release them here and have lots of performances here. I may not be here 24/7 but becoming an entertainer in Malaysia would be perfect,” he says.
For now, Jang’s goal is simply to focus on the competition.
Big Stage, which first premiered last year, is an Astro reality series comprising burgeoning singers, who have made their mark on social media platforms, and are looking to take their careers to the next level.
Season Two ups the ante by introducing four contestants from abroad (out of a total of 12 contestants) in the mix.
Besides Jang, the show’s international lineup includes Thailand’s Chaleeda Gilbert, Indonesia’s Dinda Permata and Brunei’s Aziz Harun.
Indonesia’s Cakra Khan and Judika take turns judging the contestants alongside Malaysia’s well-loved songbird Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza.
Jang first heard about the opportunity from a talent manager based in South Korea, who was contacted by Astro.
After nailing the auditions, the singer shares how he prepared for the show: “I have a lot of friends in Australia, and many of them are Malaysians so they introduced me to a lot Malay songs. I also researched on the show’s previous contestants and judges.”
Jang’s first performance on the show saw him singing his own single Shooting Star (which was included in the soundtrack of K-drama Sassy Go Go), as part of the week’s theme – songs performed by the artiste which has garnered a million views and above on social media.
Last weekend, Jang took on his first Malay song, Nabila Razali's Vroom Vroom (catch it on the 2 hour and 12 minute mark here), and earned a standing ovation from Siti and Judika.
“Malay pop songs are very melodic. They’re very catchy,” he observes.
Asked who he views as his biggest competitor on Big Stage, the singer responds: “I think my biggest rival is myself because I’m challenging myself, singing in this language. We don’t see ourselves as competitors but as friends.”
Should the singer receive any harsh feedback, Jang says he will embrace them: “I look forward to them. The negative comments are the ones that help me improve as a singer.
“If nine out of 10 people like my performance but one person doesn’t like it, I try my best to fix my performance for that one person as well.”
Big Stage Season Two airs live every Sunday at 9pm on Astro Ria (Ch 104).