James Pak, better known by his stage name Nyukyung, has never had an easy path to success. From the time when he was 8 years old, music has been a cornerstone of his life. Growing up as an Asian American, Nyukyung was often ostracized in his community for pursuing his art. His endeavors were considered satire by his peers, and his music was not taken seriously because of his appearance. Although faced with many different obstacles like bullying and low socio-economic conditions, he has become a voice for his generation’s youth.
Nyukyung was born in Tacoma, Washington, a place not known for producing musicians. He grew up in a home where his mother worked long hours to provide for the family while his grandparents stayed home to care for him. Living in a low-income area Nyukyung’s family was often robbed, leaving his family helpless and the situation even worse. He still recalls that part of his childhood. He said, “My whole childhood was a challenge. There were days my mom wouldn’t come home because she would have to sleep at the store. As an eleven-year-old kid, I used to pray at night, hoping that my mom would come home safe. We used to get robbed almost every week, and it did something to my soul, watching my mom struggle.” He knew he had to find a way out; his hopes laid in his athletic career.
Much of Nyukyung’s early life was spent as an athlete, playing multiple different sports throughout his childhood. Between all his options, his favorite sport was football. After having an incredible high school career, he was offered a scholarship to play football at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C. He made the most of the opportunity to complete a 5 year career at SFU and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Social Justice and Criminology. Despite urges to go pro, Nyukyung decided he wanted to pursue his real passion, which is music.
Despite being criticized early on, Nyukyung has had an impressive career as a musician. He began getting noticed while competing in nationwide rap contests. After finishing first place in a couple contests, he began to respect people in the industry. He knew he had to get to work, spending countless hours on his craft. Working alongside his producer Gabriel Nguyen, Nyukyung started crafting a self-made sound that has reached thousands of listeners worldwide.
After spending months preparing the project, Nyukyung released his album “Trap Harmonix” last June. The project debuted at #3 on the iTunes hip hop/rap charts, making the release a monumental accomplishment as an independent artist. He made his debut on many different major media outlets with the project’s success, which spread his music around even further and gained him a large number of new fans. Nyukyung finally caught a big break.
Using the momentum from his project’s success, Nyukyung created Dream Music Productions with his partners Suzanna Lam and Gabriel Nguyen, an independent label focused on artists. He has been using his platform to help other artists on their come up, encouraging them to get past the same mental battles he faced during his rise.
Through his struggles, Nyukyung found peace. His determination and work ethic come from mirroring values he saw in his mother while growing up. Driven to improve himself as an artist and person, Nyukyung has become addicted to the grind. He wakes up every morning with a drive to be better than he was yesterday. His attitude has gotten him far and is going to take him even further. Nyukyung wants to be an example for other artists struggling with the same things he’s been through. He said, “I want to give inspiration to others through the way I live my life. The only limits we have in life are the ones we place on ourselves. Don’t let a circumstance define who you are.” Nyukyung is just beginning to write the first chapters of what will be a long story.
You can find out more info about Nyukyung on his social media: @Nyukyung253