By Olivia Wolf
16-year-old JP Vance marked his transition from Chinese to American pop music this summer with his new single This Is America.
The song was released around July 4th and addresses both the joys of living in the United States as well as the difficulties of being part of a multicultural society that is still wrought with discrimination and inequality.
The music video features patriotic images of the American flag and Mount Rushmore juxtaposed with footage of a civil rights protest and a child in a KKK uniform.
Coupled with these powerful visuals are reminders that the United States still has room for improvement. For example, one caption informs us that “the top wealthiest 1% possess 40% of the nation’s wealth.”
Speaking of the inspiration for this song, Vance told AsAmNews , “I have lived in both China and America. Both are great places. I see people putting down our country everyday. I thought it was time instead to show some love toward this great country.”
But, he continues, “No matter how great a place might be, there are still good and bad things that happen. We must stand together and make things right for everyone.”
Vance was born in Portland, Oregon, to a family of Korean heritage. When he was two years old, he and his family moved to China. Since turning 12, he has moved back and forth between the two countries frequently.
“I have no choice,” he laughed. “I am a minor so I go where my dad goes.”
Vance began recording music when he was five years old after being discovered by Bobby Taylor.
“Bobby sadly just died two weeks ago,” he said. “It was an honor to work with the guy who discovered and also mentored Michael Jackson.”
In addition to singing, Vance has also starred in the movies Christmas in Hollywood and the soon-to-be released The Underdog.
In terms of being Asian in the American entertainment industry, he said, “I have never experienced problems with being Asian American. Face it, both music and movies are very tough industries and anyone faces many uphill challenges. I think ten years ago there were more anti-Asian issues, but today it is different, and I find I am very accepted.”
Although only 16, JP Vance has already finished high school and will be starting college next month. He has plans for 15 new songs to be released, and his long term goal is to become the best singer in the world.
“My favorite thing to do is to sing. I will sing for anyone anytime at the drop of hat. Maybe it will take me a minute or so to decide what to sing, but besides that I am always ready.”
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. You can show your support by liking our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/asamnews, following us on Twitter, sharing our stories, interning or joining our staff.