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David Choi

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David Choi

David Choi
Choi performing live
Background information
Birth name David Choi (최데이비드)
Born (1986-03-22) March 22, 1986
Anaheim, California, US
Origin Garden Grove, California, US
Genres Rock,pop rock, alternative, soul
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 2002–present
Labels Unsigned
Associated acts Wong Fu Productions
Kina Grannis
Ryan Higa
Kevin Wu
Chester See
Website David Choi Official Site

David Choi (born March 22, 1986 in Anaheim, California, US) is an American musician and YouTube video producer based in Los Angeles.[1] Choi's original songs and pop covers have been heard on NBC, FOX, VH1, MTV, A&E, E!, Travel Channel, Style Network, PBS, Food Network, Disney, as well as in commercials internationally. He has worked with companies such as Kellogg's, Starburst, the American Cancer Society, General Electric, Samsung, J. C. Penney, and Asian online fashion and beauty retailer YesStyle.[2][3][4][5]

Choi released his debut album, Only You, in October 2008.[6] His second album, By My Side,[7] was released on May 19, 2010, and his third album, Forever and Ever was released on October 25, 2011.

As of December 3, 2012, David Choi's YouTube Channel had 929,061 subscribers, 117,774,875 total video views, and more than 13 million channel views.[8] As of November 2011, he was YouTube's 15th-most-subscribed musician and 62nd-most-subscribed user overall.[9][10] As of March 7, 2013, he has 120,385 followers on Twitter account.

Choi previously worked as a songwriter and producer at Warner/Chappell Music, which signed him on after his participation in an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) workshop.[1]

His humorous song "YouTube, A Love Song" has received over 2.8 million views. The music videos for his singles "Won't Even Start" and "That Girl", which are posted on both his and producers Wong Fu Productions' YouTube channels, has received a total of over 5 million views. He also posts non-music vlogs on his second channel. Choi often appears in online videos with fellow YouTube personalities, mostly playing a humorous character with a straight face. YouTube personalities, like Shane Dawson, Eric Feng, and Wong Fu Productions, often use Choi's music in their videos.

Early life and career

Childhood and education

Choi was born in Anaheim, California, on March 22, 1986.[11] He is of Korean descent and comes from a musical family: His parents, Ray and Jane Choi, own a music store named "Grace Store," and his father plays the autoharp.[12] With an artistic mother and musical father, Choi was surrounded by music growing up and does not think he would have pursued music today without these influences.[13]

At a young age, Choi was required to play the piano and violin, an experience that he did not enjoy. In fact, David would get in trouble by his parents for not practicing. He said that his parents would yell at him to "Go practice in [his] room for 30 minutes or [he would be] in big trouble!!!!" Choi claims that if he did not practice he would get physically punished. He does not remember much about practicing his violin; however, he does recall wanting to smash it several times. The Internet star says that his hate for practicing made him hate everything about the violin and piano to the point where he even began to hate music itself. Even though it was not his favorite thing to do, Choi does admit that it was nice when he got to leave class twice a week to attend his orchestra class. David says that class was easier for him than it was for some of the other kids because he had already covered some of the material through his private lessons. The unlikely musician thus became the concertmaster of his school orchestra.[12] He would play classical and jazz music, and never being exposed a pop song until sixth grade, when he heard Smash Mouth's "All Star". Soon after, he discovered "All the Small Things" by blink-182 and attempted to play the song on guitar. David began to listen to more and more pop songs and fell in love with the Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, and Japanese pop. In junior high David would stay up late listening to the radio, recording the songs, and began to make his own mix tapes. David then began to write his own songs and his first instrumental piece was a song titled "Lost Memory", written on the piano.[14] Even after discovering pop music David stayed in the school orchestra. Pressured by his parents, David was forced to audition for the Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) orchestra. David rehearsed with this orchestra every Tuesday.

Choi eventually stopped taking violin lessons in high school and commenced jazz piano lessons in ninth grade. It is at this time that Choi began composing music, and won his first award after submitting an instrumental pop song for a contest.

Early career (2002–06)

Choi's original compositions were recorded digitally with the use of a program called Acid Pro. Choi taught himself how to use the program within several days of downloading it,[12] and he learned a few songwriting tips from a friend.

In 2004, Choi won the grand prize in David Bowie's Mashup contest, where David Bowie himself chose the grand prize winner. David appeared in USA Weekend Magazine alongside Usher, after he received the grand prize for the magazine's John Lennon Songwriting Contest for teens.[6] These achievements marked the start of Choi's musical career: He was signed to Warner Chappell Music, where he was initially placed as a staff songwriter and producer.[12]

Choi's humorous YouTube love song, "YouTube (A Love Song)", was uploaded on December 30, 2006, and brought him "overnight" fame. Choi followed the success of "YouTube (A Love Song)" with other humorous songs, such as "It's Rad To Pick Your Nose" and "I Think I Like You": "My Company" is considered a "half-humorous, half-love" song. Unbeknownst to him, his YouTube love song was posted on the homepage of YouTube. He found out when a friend told him.[12] He soon received requests for new songs, a live performance, and an album. He wanted to release his songs in an album, but as he was already technically a signed songwriter/producer at that time: He had to go through legal procedures and accept a variety of contractual conditions. Thus, he left Warner and stayed unsigned to carry on with his own album release.[12]

Only You (2007–08)

Choi released his first album in 2008. Entitled Only You, it contained mainly love songs, notably "Love", "Won't Even Start", "Something To Believe," and "Only You". In 2009, he released a Korean special edition of the album, containing three bonus tracks. "Won't Even Start" became his hit single, and he released a music video for it, collaborating with Wong Fu Productions in producing his first official music video.

By My Side (2009–10)

David Choi with Julia Chang in his music video for "That Girl".

On February 21, 2009, he performed at the annual Kollaboration talent show,[1] and within a space of half a year (4th quarter 2009 to 1st Quarter 2010), David compiled composed songs into his second album, By My Side, released on May 18, 2010. He released a music video for its lead single "That Girl" on the same day. The music video was produced by him and his friends via Wong Fu Productions. It starred Julia Chang as 'that girl' opposite him, and it was his second collaboration with the production company, and[15] He also released a Korean edition, with two bonus tracks: "Valentines" and "My Company". On January 14, 2014, he released the Indonesian-English version of By My Side with Indonesian singer Maudy Ayunda. The lyrics translated with the help of known book writer-musician, Dewi Lestari[16]

Forever and Ever (2011–present)

David sings "This And That" at the Esplanade in Singapore

During his 2011 tours, Choi sang two songs he wrote the year before, "You Were My Friend" and "This and That is Life". He has said that a third album will include these two songs.[17] On July 7, 2011, David released his third music video, for his single "By My Side", once again a collaboration with Wong Fu Productions. David also started to help his father, Ray Choi, in uploading YouTube videos of him playing the autoharp.[18] His song "I Choose Happiness", of which the instrumental version is used in KevJumba and Wong Fu Productions videos, was also chosen to be used in the 2011 film Lucky starring Colin Hanks. It was also featured in an episode of ABC's Make It or Break It. David Choi released his third album, Forever and Ever on October 25, 2011.


Choi's first tour,[19] from November 12 to 19, 2009, was in the West Coast cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, as well as in Vancouver, Canada.[20] In 2010 Choi embarked on his second tour singing live in the East Coast cities of Washington DC, New York, Boston, and Chicago as well as Toronto, Canada. The year after, he visited those few cities again.

In August 2010, David Choi went to Singapore for vacation and to tour. He was there for eleven days, and on his vacation day, he went to Sentosa and Night Safari.[21] In 2011, he went on a short tour around North America again: "Spring Tour" included Houston, Chicago, and Hawaii. He also frequented Korea.

In summer 2011, David announced another tour – his first continental Asia-Pacific tour (with a focus on Southeast Asia). He went to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. In Australia, David was supported by Australian acts Amelia Jae and Jayesslee. In Singapore, he had Inch Chua do introductory songs and sing his and Kina Grannis' "My Time With You". Again on this tour, David went to small venues, like the 245-capacity Esplanade Recital Studio.[22]

David Choi at a concert

On his tours, David has meet-and-greet sessions with his fans.[23]

In January 2012, David announced his Forever and Ever USA/Canada tour. He went to 20 cities across the US and Canada, starting in Phoenix on February 2 and ending in Chicago on April 2.[24] In May, David started on his third tour to the Asia-Pacific: Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Jakarta, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo. In September 2012, he and Clara Chung embarked on their Fall Tour presented by YesStyle, visiting 19 cities all over the US and Canada, starting in Los Angeles and ending in Orange County.


Genre and lyrics

David Choi's music genre falls mostly under the modern "ballad" genre, his songs being slow, mostly about love and relationships.[25] He describes his own music as "poppy with a hint of jazz and folk."[26] His songs have been described as "often to melt girls' hearts."

He often uses happy melodies, for example in "Something to Believe"[27] and "My Time with You".[28]

Public image

Choi has been portrayed by "netizens" and fans as sad and solemn person, with a poker face: Such perceptions were bolstered by the absence of images of Choi smiling. In response to such claims, Choi publicly promised that he would not smile until he reached 77,777 subscribers on YouTube (this goal was subsequently accomplished).[29]


  • Only You (2008; CD digipak and iTunes)
  • Only You (2009; Korean special edition CD)
  • By My Side (2010; CD digipak and iTunes)
  • By My Side (2010; Korean special edition CD)
  • YouTube Covers, Vol. 1 (2010; iTunes)
  • YouTube Covers, Vol. 2 (2010; iTunes)
  • Forever and Ever (2011; CD and iTunes)

In other media

Song use in other media

Year Used In (producers) Type Song
2008 J.C. Penney web ad "Back-to-School Interactive Initiative" "My Time With You"(with Kina Grannis)[30]
2009 Up in Da Club (Wong Fu Productions) 4-Part Series "Something To Believe[31]
2009 He Who Can't Marry Korean Drama "Something To Believe"
2009 We Got Married Korean Variety Show "Something To Believe"
2010 Playful Kiss Korean Drama "Won't Even Start"
"Happiness is Always Near"[32]
2010 Iris (Japanese version) Korean Drama "Something To Believe"
2010 Secret Garden Korean Drama "Love"[33]
2010 Agents of Secret Stuff (HigaTV and Wong Fu) Web Film "My Time With You"(with Kina Grannis)
2010 The Good Guys American Show "Something To Believe"
2010 Pasta Korean Drama "Happiness Is Always Near"
2011 Athena: Goddess of War Korean Drama "Enjoy The View"
2011 Strangers, again (Wong Fu Productions) Short Story "So Weightless"[34]
2011 My Princess Korean Drama "By My Side"
"Won't Even Start"
"Thief in the Night"
"Heaven's Ease"
2011 All My Love Korean Drama "Happily Ever After"
"해피 몽땅"
"My Time With You"[35]
2011 Samsung Zipel Grandstyle ad Fridge Advertisement "By My Side"[36]
2011 Renault SM5 (Samsung) ad Car Advertisement "Only You"
2011 Lucky Movie "I Choose Happiness"
2012 MBLAQ's Hello Baby (seventh episode) Reality Show "Something to Believe"
2012 To The Beautiful You Korean Drama "Enjoy The View"
2012 Hero Korean Drama "Something To Believe"

Filmography and TV appearances

Year Title Producer Role
2010 Funemployed (episodes 7,8,10 & 11) Wong Fu Productions Aaron (music teacher)[37]
2010 The Allergy Wong Fu Productions Henry's girlfriend [38]
2010 BEST CREW – The Audition Nigahiga Jeffery (the new member)[39]
2010 Interview with Channel News Asia (TV Appearance) Mediacorp Himself[25]
2011 Strangers, again Wong Fu Productions Donatello (Don)[34]
2011 THE ANNIVERSARY David Choi Music Himself[40]
2012 Textreme Wong Fu Productions Ethan[41]
2013 The Winner Is Talpa Media USA / Universal Television Himself[42]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated Work Category Result
2004 David Bowie Mash-up Contest "Big Shakin' Car" (Mashup of "Shake it" and "She'll Drive a Big Car") N/A Won[43]
John Lennon Songwriting Contest Himself Teens Won[43]
Songwriter Universe Song of the Month "Anything You Want" February Won[44]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Up And Coming Artist: David Choi". February 3, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ Chang, Richard (May 29, 2009). "Meet O.C.'s latest Internet music sensation".  
  3. ^ Yang, Jeff (June 4, 2008). "Asian Pop".  
  4. ^ Santiago, Arabella; Toy, Samantha (December 26, 2007). "YouTube, Land of the Brave Asian American".  
  5. ^ Quinton, Brian (July 21, 2008). "Starburst 'Shares' Candy Over the Web". PROMO magazine ( 
  6. ^ a b "David Choi". Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  7. ^ 5artychickens (May 20, 2010). "David Choi, By My Side " 5artychickens". Retrieved May 31, 2010. 
  8. ^ "David Choi – YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Most Subscribed Musicians". YouTube. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ Choi, David. "Bio". David Choi Music. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  11. ^ Date of birth found on the California Birth Index 1905–1995, under CHOI, DAVID YONG, on March 22, 1986 in Orange County.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "My Story". David Choi Music. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ """David Choi: "Work Hard. Be Good. Don't Burn Too Many Bridges and Just Have Fun. August 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ Lapeña, Carmela G. (May 17, 2012). "Singing about the good things with David Choi".  
  15. ^ "New Music Video Released!".  
  16. ^ "Maudy Ayunda Duet With David Choi – By My Side | Official Video Clip". Trinity Optima Production. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ David Choi Live in Singapore! (2011 Day 1 & 2) – David announces two new songs.
  18. ^ Ray Choi – The Four Maries on Autoharp‏ – YouTube. Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  19. ^ "David Choi Tour – San Diego". YouTube. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  20. ^ "David Choi's past events".  
  21. ^ David Choi in Singapore « David Choi | Official Site | Shows | Pictures | Videos. Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  22. ^ "Asia Pacific Tour". David Choi Music. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  23. ^ Melissa Tan David Choi, offline. June 24, 2011
  24. ^ Choi, David. "Forever and Ever US/Canada Tour 2012". Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Channel News Asia | VideoPlayer. Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  26. ^ {"YouTube Phenom Singer-songwriter David Choi Schedules IRL Show at Cafe 939." N.p., n.d. Web. .}
  27. ^ David Choi – Something to Believe on YouTube
  28. ^ David Choi & Kina Grannis – My Time with You‏ on YouTube
  29. ^ David Choi Smiles!‏ on YouTube
  30. ^ [1]
  31. ^ Up In Da Club – Part 4 – Wong Fu Productions‏ – YouTube. (February 20, 2009). Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  32. ^ Episode 9 – Playful Kiss – in English subtitles – Watch Korean TV – ViKi. (June 7, 2011). Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  33. ^ Episode 4
  34. ^ a b Strangers, again‏ – YouTube. (April 20, 2011). Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  35. ^ Choi, David. "David Choi Songs in TV Shows!". Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  36. ^ [CF] Samsung Zipel Grandstyle 840-Zipel_30s‏ – YouTube. Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  37. ^ "Funemployed" Web Series‏ – YouTube. Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  38. ^ The Allergy‏ – YouTube. (August 30, 2010). Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  39. ^ BEST CREW – The Audition‏ – YouTube. (September 20, 2010). Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  40. ^ THE ANNIVERSARY featuring David Choi, Shane Yoon and Kat Gardiner‏ – YouTube. Retrieved on 2012-02-21.
  41. ^ "Textreme".  
  42. ^
  43. ^ a b Richard Chang (June 8, 2009). "David Choi has more subscribers on YouTube than Miley Cyrus". (from The Orange County Register). Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  44. ^ Dale Kawashima (2010). """David Choi's "Anything You Want" Named February "Best Song of the Month. Songwriter Universe. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  • '유튜브 가수' 데이비드 최, 세계 네티즌 열광. (in Korean). May 29, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
  • Lam, Ray. "A-Profiler: David Choi". AArisings. Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
  • Lee, John. "Interview with David Choi". Retrieved June 23, 2009. 

Side&, My. "Bio " David Choi | Official Site | Shows | Pictures | Videos." David Choi Official Website. N.p., n.d. Web. February 19, 2013. . time, this. "David Choi’s Story « David Choi | Official Site | Shows | Pictures | Videos." David Choi Official Website. N.p., n.d. Web. February 19, 2013. .

External links

  • David Choi official website
  • David's primary's channel on YouTube
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