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Meet Joony (Jun Lee)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joony (Jun Lee).

Joony, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in a musical family. My father was a choir director and my mother was a good singer. They both really wanted me to have a strong musical background so one day, I would become a musician. They saw that I was musically talented at an early age and introduced me to a wide range of music, such as piano, drums, singing, guitar and even some indigenous instruments from Europe.

Because my parents are missionaries, I’ve lived in many different regions such as Romania, Hungary, Spain, South Korea, Atlanta, St. Louis and finally settled in California when I was 18. Everywhere I lived, I learned their music and culture through music schools, professors and private teachers. The combination of all these backgrounds eventually shaped me to become who I am today, a versatile music producer that produces a wide variety of genres and crossover genres of R&B, Pop, K-pop, Future Bass, Classic, Hip-Hop, Soul, Rock and so on.

Before I was 20, I didn’t get a chance to learn about computer music (DAW’s and music technology). But when I came to California, I met people who were producing music and I was blown away by the things you could do through DAW’s. So I started to really dig into it and put my music together. It was simply a joy to hear how my ideas came alive in a song. The more I produced music, the more I realized how my multicultural upbringing is a unique gift that I can use to create exceptional music.

Has it been a smooth road?
Although I was in love with creating music in my 20’s, I struggled to find the time and energy to make music. I came to California as an international student which prevented me from working. I also came to the States without any help from my parents. I had to make my own living and pay for my college tuition all through under the table jobs (server in restaurants) and teaching countless private music lessons (piano, singing, music production). I would literally have to make about $30,000 a year while being a full-time student because a student loan is not an option for international students like me. Finally, when I was 28, I got married to my beautiful wife and my life settled enough to be able to do music production full time. I couldn’t believe that I could do music full-time while making money.

Starting a music production studio was not an easy job. I only had few clients and I barely had any network in the industry. However, I knew that the quality of my music was good and I believed that if I continued to work with professionality and high-quality music, doors will open up to me. I still remember my first client when I started working at a studio (M400 studio in Orange County). She was a tone-deaf singer who couldn’t find the right notes to sing. After our first meeting, I wrote her an email saying that I just won’t be able to produce for her. Right as I was about to send the email, I thought to myself, “Do I even have anything better to do?” and I decided to try working with her.

I produced her tracks, helped her record, vocal produce sang all her melodies and harmony. Somehow, with many days of vocal editing and pitch correcting, we made an album. And one day, she introduced me to a talented rapper named C-Tru. After four years of working closely with C-Tru, he got a call from Snoop Dogg saying that he loved our song and he wanted to collaborate with us. One year later, I produced C-Tru and Snoop Dogg’s song called “California Party” that was released in 2018. Who would have known that producing a tone-deaf singer could lead to working with Snoop Dogg?

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a freelance music producer, songwriter, mixer and keyboard player. In the span of seven years of working professionally, I have placed over 200 tracks/songs (both in Pop/K-Pop industry and TV music). Among the notable credits, I’ve worked with Snoop Dogg for the song “California Party”, my tv show tracks have been released in shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Undercover Boss,” and “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back.” Recently, I started to have breakthroughs in the K-Pop industry, with over 15 placements to groups like Super Junior’s “Shadow,” Block B Bastarz’s “Help Me,” Jeong Sewoon’s “When It Rains,” and many more.

I’ve also placed numerous songs in the Philippines (Lani Misalucha “I Can’t Give Anymore) and Chinese popular music industry. I am currently signed to 153/Joombas publishing company (shout out to my fam!) affiliated with Warner Chappell music. I love to work with different artists, as I believe it’s my forte to listen to their stories and to produce music that best fits who they are with a touch of trendy-cutting edge sound. I also enjoy collaborating with different producers and songwriters and creating something that best expresses the dynamics of different talents. Shoutout to JJ Evans, awesome singer and songwriter, who has referred me to this interview!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
My dream is to be able to continue doing what I love, to create music with like-minded, talented people and to share it with the world. I don’t want my music to be something that just entertains people but I want it to have a positive influence in people’s lives. My message of music is “love.” I believe a true expression of pure love is a powerful tool to heal and refresh people’s hearts and minds. I believe music can bring people together for peace and restoration. The world is flipped upside down right now with COVID-19. This is when we must all realize that we need each other, we need to take care of our world and there is nothing more important than our friends and family. I believe music will have a strong role in helping us unite and stand up.

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Image Credit:
Photo credit: Jayden Park

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