Young and talented Sungha Jung and Megan Lee both turn sweet sixteen this year, but these two YouTube stars have probably done far more than most teens their age.
The pair are performing six songs live at Singapore’s Men’s Fashion Week 2012 for two nights on April 18 and 19, during the fashion shows at Marina Bay Sands. We talk to the two teen stars on their YouTube fame, upcoming plans and more.
Here’s five quick facts about the duo:
Megan Lee and Sungha Jung in Singapore, for the Men’s Fashion Week 2012
1. They both started performing at the age of ten
Sungha was just ten years old when he uploaded his first video on YouTube. The guitar seemed so oversized on the slight boy from South Korea, who was nonetheless able to play skillful covers in fingerstyle guitar. His videos have garnered over 455 million views on YouTube and he already has two acoustic guitar albums to his name.
Megan, on the other hand, has been acting, singing and dancing, since the tender age of ten. Her major breakthrough came with the help of YouTube, two years ago. She’s now popularly known for her YouTube covers of chart-topping hits by 2NE1, Adele, Bruno Mars and more. Since then, she’s been on the popular MBC Star Audition in South Korea, earning the tutelage of pop star Lena Park too.
2. She was his fan, long before the two started collaborating together
In fact, the success of YouTube stars like David Choi and Sungha had inspired Megan to start her YouTube channel.
Megan also initiated the first of many collaborations with Sungha. She first wrote to Sungha in February 2011 to request to meet and perform in Seoul; she happened to be in the city for the MBC Star Audition then.
While Sungha was performing in Scandinavia at the time, the two finally met in Seoul to perform together: Megan sings the vocals while Sungha plays the guitar accompaniment.
The duo’s top hits? Covers of Adele’s 'Someone Like You', 2NE1’s 'Don't Cry' and more.
3. Fame changed both of them but the transformation is more apparent in Sungha
Megan has become more passionate about pursuing singing as a career: prior to her YouTube fame, she was more keen on acting, as she had starred in television ads and programs since she was ten.
Admittedly, the change hasn’t been drastic; she’s a natural performer who “loves working” in show business.
Sungha, on the other hand, “didn’t expect to become so famous”, so fame has had a more profound impact on him.
When we met him on Wednesday afternoon, Sungha appeared to be quite reserved but he’s still practicing his English skills. He is indeed much more comfortable conversing in Korean with his manager, who acts at his translator, but he does make an effort to respond in English, where possible, and always with a smile.
On stage, Sungha’s still the same cool and collected guitarist, whether on YouTube or in front of a crowd of hundreds. In fact, Sungha admits that he actually prefers performing for a large audience: he says a small concert is intimidating; it’s almost “too close for comfort”.
The most significant change so far? His manager quips that Sungha has become much more fashion-conscious since coming to the world’s attention.
Sungha Jung and Megan Lee's pre-performance outfits
On Wednesday at Marina Bay Sands, the teen star donned ear studs, with a grey and black ensemble, matched with grey sneakers — “he has a lot of sneakers!” adds his manager. We notice his nails: they’re painted white.
Sungha misses his friends and family terribly too: he’s being home-schooled while travelling around the world on concert tours. “Flying around is the hardest part (of performing) for Sungha,” says his manager.
4. They’re big fans of Korean bands Big Bang, 2NE1
Sungha is a huge fan of Big Bang: he feels that they’re one of the most talented Korean acts around. Collaborating with the band would be a dream come true for Sungha. The teen guitarist hopes to work with more Korean singers and groups too, in the future.
Megan on the other hand, loves 2NE1. For her, meeting 2NE1 was her “pinch me, this is happening” moment. She was ecstatic to meet the girls in person, when she attended one of their concerts in 2011. “They’re so sweet and amazing,” gushes Megan.
She shares her admiration for fellow YouTube star David Choi too. They’ve become good friends through the internet but have sadly lacked an opportunity to perform together.
5. Sungha attracts more intense fans than Megan
The most bizarre fan request that Sungha has received? A fan wanted him to carry her, like a groom would carry a bride over the threshold. He didn’t: he freaked out.
Megan says she hasn’t had to deal with many unusual situations but she does often get recognised on the streets in South Korea. Her appearance on MBC Star Audition has won her fame in the country: she is currently based in Seoul.
She does have one very passionate fan, who would actually travel around cities just to see her live in concert.
Both Sungha and Megan love their fans and admirers: they’ve provided encouraging wishes to aspiring musicians.
From the video performances that his fans have shared, Sungha says that some of them seem even more talented than he was as a child. They should “never give up” and just keep practicing.
Megan gives equally optimistic advice to new singers and performers. She says to “love the haters” and “never let anyone or anything put you down”.
Megan Lee and Sungha Jung will be performing live at Men’s Fashion Week 2012, Exhibition Hall F, Marina Bay Sands at 7pm on April 19. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/FideFashionWeek?ref=ts. View the full event schedule at fideproductions.com/mfw-events-2012.