ASHEVILLE, NC--(Marketwire - Nov 30, 2012) - When it was time for Roy Kim '12 to meet the final challenge on Superstar K4, the Korean equivalent of American Idol, he looked back to his days at Asheville School. After the three judges asked him to perform an original song, Kim recalled a song he'd written during his time at Asheville School when he was writing and recording songs in Anderson Hall and hosting his own Internet music channel on YouTube.
"I wrote this song while studying abroad," Kim told the judges. "I wrote it on the spot to comfort my friend who just broke up with his girlfriend then."
Turns out, that song he'd written in Asheville helped him win the competition and claim the $500,000 prize, which includes money for professional music production, a Nissan Cube, and the opportunity to perform at the 2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) on November 30 in Hong Kong.
"I really love and appreciate this song, so I feel happy about the chance to perform this song in public and hope you like it," Kim told the judges.
The contestants performed twice during the finale. Each performance was judged separately. Here is a link to the full episode, where Kim performs LeeSsang's Whose Life is This For at the 46 minute mark, and his original song Passing By at 1:05. The judges praised his original song and performance and awarded Kim 282 points, which was enough to claim the championship, according to Korea.com.
Kim plans to donate his prize money to charity. "I haven't decided on an organization yet, but I think I'll be spreading the money out to many different charities to help as much as I can," Kim said. He and his father made this decision in the preliminaries, according to okpop.com.
Asheville School's community was excited to hear the news of Kim's winning performances, especially since nearly 2 million people auditioned for the show. The school knew he was rising to stardom as they watched the view count on Asheville School's YouTube videos of Kim skyrocket; his chapel talk, a graduation requirement for seniors at Asheville School, has over 140,000 views. Most of Asheville School's YouTube videos that Kim is in have over 10,000 views.
"I was taken aback the first time I saw Roy perform on stage," said Assistant Head of School for Advancement John Thorsen. "He was playing a Coldplay song and reading the lyrics from a scrap of paper, yet his delivery was awesome. He just has that uncanny ability and energy to make it happen."
Asheville School senior Avi Goldstein also recalls Kim's performance of Coldplay's The Scientist as his most memorable. Goldstein is another ambitious and outgoing musician, and was a member of the a capella group Kim created at the school.
"Everything we did with the Ashefellaz was a highlight for me because it was an entirely new concept for the school, the first a cappella group ever, and it was awesome to be a part of that with Roy. I think a quality that Roy exhibited in the group was his ability to carry a song forward as a lead vocalist," Goldstein said.
The Ashefellaz debuted at a trustee dinner last year, performing Journey's Don't Stop Believin' in Head of School Arch Montgomery's house. Goldstein credits Kim with being the voice that gave the Ashefellz their unique sound.
"He definitely has confidence in his stage presence, and I think that helped him reach higher in his singing abilities and on Superstar K. I'm really excited to see that Roy has become so successful doing what he loves."
It wasn't long ago that Kim shared his musical talents on Asheville School's stage in Western North Carolina. Director of Residential Life and Humanities teacher Burt Gordon '87 was Kim's faculty advisor, and notes Kim's changes throughout his time as a student. As a freshman, Gordon recalls Kim being "hyper, full of energy, and smart" while participating in JV Soccer and Swimming.
"In his senior year, Roy still did very well in his classes. He didn't play soccer or swim anymore because he became more deliberate; more focused. He was totally focused on his music. Roy is determined, ambitious, and goal-oriented," Gordon said. "I am so happy for Roy; pursuing his dream to sing and record music. It is so nice to see students who work so hard enjoy success. He gave so much of himself to Asheville School, and he found his passion!"
After winning Superstar K4, Kim emailed Gordon and asked him to share a message with the school, letting them know he will visit as soon as his schedule settles down. Kim said, "Please tell everyone that I thank all of them for all the support along the way."
No matter the location of the stage, what language he's singing in, or how many people are in the crowd; Kim conveys his passion for music and connects with the audience in every performance.
A nationally acclaimed co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school, Asheville School enrolls approximately 275 students from across the country and overseas. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, NC State, University of Virginia, Emory, Duke, and Wake Forest, among others.
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Roy Kim, who graduated from Asheville School in 2012, recently was crowned champion of the hit Korean TV show Superstar K4.
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