Following the Footsteps of Kanye – Goes From a Broken Jaw to Award-Winning International Hip Hop Artist
You’ve probably never heard of this Queens native, Brooklyn Tech alumni before. She’s a Taiwanese-American artist that’s making waves overseas in Taiwan. With the release of her Mandarin debut album Knock Out, she’s won “Best New Artist” at the 24th Annual Golden Melody Awards (2013), an event in Taiwan held in high regards comparable to that of the Grammy’s. During that year she’s accumulated other accolades such as;
“Most Potential” Award AMP Awards (2013)
“Best Hip-Hop Song” (nominated) Golden Indie Music Awards (2013)
“Best Hip-Hop Album” (nominated) Golden Indie Music Awards (2013)
“Best New Artist” (nominated) Golden Indie Music Awards (2013)
Knock Out reached #1 on local Billboard charts. It was crowned a Top 10 Album of The Year, and it managed to achieve high critical acclaim, despite Miss Ko’s lack of fluency in Mandarin.
In 2014, Miss Ko dropped her sophomore album XXXIII. It was received with mixed reviews because she introduced new elements of funk and disco into her sound. She challenged herself to experiment more opting to focus on Chinese lyrics over English in her songs. Her hard work led to the nomination of her music video Selfie Addict for “Best Music Video” at the the 2015 Golden Music Awards.
Then suddenly, just as quick as she came into the scene, Miss Ko disappeared from the spotlight. So where did she go? We have to look where Miss Ko’s roots come from to understand who she really is, and where she really dwells from.
Coming from a traditional Chinese moral house-hold, Miss Ko faced many of the same pressures a first-born generation adolescent goes through. Having a Father with two PhD’s doesn’t make it any easier. Like majority of asian parents, Miss Ko’s parents ideally wanted their daughter to follow the path of a more stable career.
In their eyes, they envisioned their daughter becoming a lawyer or doctor, but it wasn’t until her Mother saw her perform live at the 24th Annual Golden Melody Awards did it really sink in that this was a viable career path. But winning awards and performing on live TV was not enough to convince her father. He gave her two years of this lifestyle before telling her to come back to New York to attend New York University for her Master’s Degree.
The path to success has been a non-conventional one for Miss Ko. Growing up in New York, she was exposed to Hip-Hop culture at a very young age. Her earliest memory being around the age of 5, she remembers her babysitter cranking up the stereo to the tunes of Kris Koss’ iconic song “Jump” and following true to the song’s lyrics, frantically jumping on her mother’s couch. She states her favorite song is “Changes” by Tupac, but credits Lauryn Hill as her influence to start writing. A lot of her inspiration comes from growing up in the 90’s and listening to artist such as TLC, Michael Jackson, A Tribe Called Quest and LL Cool J.
During her university years, she collaborated with artist Flowsik of Aziatix. She then later went on to perform on NY’s infamous Hip-Hop radio station Hot 97’s Night of The Rising Stars. Miss Ko then released her mixtape Industry Makeover, which independently sold several thousands units in Asia. This then prompted her to take her career overseas.
While attending classes to learn Mandarin at the National Taiwan Normal University, she entered a song writing contest for a local brand. When the song was uploaded to YouTube, it is was discovered by Dela Chang, and she subsequently signed with his label, Kao Inc. Records.
In November of 2011, tragedy struck and Miss Ko was involved in a traffic accident that left her immobilized with a broken jaw. It was during these months she wrote her Mandarin debut album Knock Out. Her story sounds eerily similar to that of artist Kayne West, but like the saying goes – the rest is history.
After her sophomore album, Miss Ko had fulfilled her contract with Kao Inc. Records and decided to leave the label. Upon leaving, she returned to New York to pursue other interests. Despite taking the time off, she still continued her passion for songwriting and in 2016 when she decided to come back, she signed with Universal Music Taiwan record label.
She came back roaring with her 3rd album, self proclaiming herself, Queen of Queens, a double entendre for her position as a female in a typically male-dominated industry and for her hometown. The album peaked at #1 and remained there for several weeks on numerous music charts including Spotify and Apple Music.
Her hit singles “Queen of Queens” and “Till Next Time” off the album showcases Miss Ko’s growth as an artist. Her music video for “Queen of Queens” was shot in Queens, NY and Taiwan where she resides interchangeably and touches on how she now represents both. Her song “Till Next Time” is a dedication to her childhood friend John Tran, whose untimely death inspired her to turn her life around.
In the past few months, she’s been one of the key faces for Nike’s “Kiss My Air” campaign and she’s been invited to perform at SXSW, CMJ, and Glastonbury.
A nod to Hip-Hop’s less recognized Queen, keep doing your thing.
Be sure to follow her social media accounts for more updates.