Exclusive Interview with Brian Joo and John Lee – 3rd Wave Music


This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing the handsome men behind 3rd Wave Music! Woo-hoo! It was such a pleasure!

Oh wait, so let me back it up a little! What is 3rd Wave music? 3rd Wave Music is a project started by Pastor Johnny Lee. By using music as a platform, Johnny had invited Brian Joo, Siwon Choi, and Vanness Wu to promote the worth of God by making this album and bring people together for this joyous occasion. This CD – “3rd Wave Music- I Will Be There”, comprise of 11 brand new songs written and composed by Johnny himself, along with Dove Award Winner- Lenny LeBlanc and Grammy Award Winner- Tom Hemby who also worked on the album together, is not only a worthy note to be mentioned, but also a definite album to have in your CD shelf! That’s right! YOUR SHELF! If you don’t have a shelf, buy one or MAKE ONE! No excuses here at Soompi.com ok? ;P The album’s target audience is the English speaking culture that are fans of K-pop! Oh wait!

And what do we like here at Soompi?

We like K-pop!!! Hey, that would be US!

So Let’s get on with the interview already! What are you waiting for?!

Alright…aright!!!! OK!


Antonia: First of all! John and Brian! Thank you for taking your time for the interview! We are very anxious to know about 3rd Wave Music! Fans of K-pop are gonna flip! —Flip up and down for joy!!! ^^

Antonia: So please let us know, what is the origin of your name “3rd Wave Music”?

Johnny: In the 1700’s preachers such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, and John Wesley were gripped by the Holy Spirit to share the message of Jesus to the world.  The effects were so powerful that a “Great Awakening” took place on a global level. This world-wide movement of God was the FIRST WAVE.

In the “Second Great Awakening”, world leaders such as D.L. Moody, Charles Finney and others were zealous men for the gospel and went to great length to share the message of Christ.  Their service to the Lord produced an outbreak of world revivals in the 1800’s.  The ramifications of the SECOND WAVE were seen in the hearts of many moved to a saving knowledge of Jesus and a life of committed to serving the Lord.

3RD Wave, as part of the universal church, is committed to seeking God for revival for this generation in prayer and worship. Born out of love for God we are seeking to bring all of creation to the worship of our gracious Lord, Jesus Christ through the power of music.   We eagerly await for a global outbreak of revival once again that will surpass the first and second great revivals, a 3RD WAVE.

Antonia: Oh I see! It must be hard starting a project AND writing the music! So, what is the greatest challenge as a composer and an executive producer?

Johnny: The greatest challenge as a composer-  Really finding meaningful words and the sound of music to come together is challenging. Content and Presentation always need to go together.  Both need to be relevant and up to date.  If one lacks I find it bring down the other part.

As an executive producer- I find wearing many hats challenging.  The production always has 3 basic parts.  The Pre-production is making and creating the songs from scratch, finding the right people (that is artists and musicians) to get involved and then finding the investment.   I actually love this part because it’s the dreaming and ideation part.  From here we move to Post-production.  This is the shortest part.  It’s executing the recording, mixing, and mastering of the product.  The last part has always been the most difficult.  It requires a skilled person to promote and market the project.  As a content creator, I am strongest when I can be released from this part.  This part is finding the financial routes to get a great product to the people.

Antonia: What are some places you have given the opportunity to perform?

John: Seoul Korea, NYC… they are solo performances.

Antonia: So Brian, greetings! It must be fun working on yet another awesome project! What is your initial reaction, when you were given the opportunity to work on this album?

Brian: First of all, I was very honored that Pastor Johnny wanted me to be on the project.  I’ve never been on a Christian project before and I’ve always wanted to do Christian/Gospel music.  Of course, I love doing pop/R&B as well, but it was always something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  I grew up in a strong Christian and God loving environment, and I felt it was a calling of mine to do just that.  Just thinking back on that very day, still puts a big smile on my face…

Antonia: Being a singer, giving yourself into the feeling and singing a song is very essential. So if you can choose one song from the album to quote, which one would you choose, and why?

Brian: I would want to quote “Everything To Me”.  The song pretty much speaks for itself.  The sad truth is, a lot of people have no hope or dreams.  I honestly can say, with Christ, hope is a given.  We should never let what others say about us bring us down, cause in the end, it’s all about you and God.  Amongst all that is around, nothing is more important than God and the relationship that you have with Him.  I do try my best to live the way I sing about in this song.  But, I do make mistakes and I’m only human, we are all sinners, but we will always be forgiven, we have to remember that, and not think that “bad things happen to us because we sin”, or because “my life has no meaning.”   Everyone is here for a reason, we’re no accident.  For whoever is reading this, please remember that.



Antonia: So John, being a founder, composer, and producer for this project, what is the message you are trying to spread with your music? 

John: 3rd Wave firmly believes that their purpose and existence is to promote the Great Commandment of loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul.  Furthermore, it is our goal to use music as a platform to passionately promote the worth of God and rally worshipers to the Great Commission.  Music is one of our greatest means to accomplish the dual goal of loving God and loving others-mercy and justice. As artists we feel it is our responsibility to rally this generation to the heart of God and to help people to fulfill the purpose of His mission. We hope to ignite a love in action that compels people to be drawn to the gospel truth and to live it out in the world. 

We hope that our purpuse would strike a cord in the hearts of many others who believe that music is a powerful tool to help us experience God.  Thus, it is our intent to use music to promote the heart of God across continents, ethnic boundaries, languages, etc.  As we cause people to be attracted to Christ, we believe we help people to be caught up in the wave of world-wide missions.

In short, it’s our hope that we can raise a whole new generation to serve God purposefully.  People are looking for hope and a purpose.  We believe if we can connect people to the revealed will of God’s message, the Great Commission, we think people will be more content and satisfied.


Antonia: Pastor John, who were your major influences in music?

John:  When I was growing up loved Rock groups like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, and Asia. As I became a Christian I listened to groups like Petra, Michael W. Smith, Steven C. Chapman, etc.

Antonia: We have a lot of K-pop fans here at Soompi, can you tell us what genres of music is the CD consist of?

John: This is a great question.  It should be noted that there is virtually no CCM genre in the secular markets of South East Asia.  So we placed our song in the POP/ROCK category.  Originally I wanted everything to move in the direction towards ROCK, but our producer made a wise decision.  He advised that we shouldn’t use a R&B or ballad vocalist on a ROCK album.  It’s also true that we shouldn’t use a ROCK singer on a R&B album.  So we mixed the music a little differently so that it would lean towards a Pop/Rock feel.  

Antonia: These are some great news! I can’t wait to hear the album! Brian, is this the first time you work with Johnny, Siwon, and Vanness? What new insights have you gained by working with them?

Brian: Yes, this is the very first time we all worked together.  The biggest insight for me is that I now know that there are other people like me with the same struggles and hopes in life.  Everyone always thinks, once something bad happens, that they are the only ones that go through what they go through.  In reality, who all face problems and we all go through hard times, but with a little bit hope and optimism, we can fight through it all.  Thanks to Pastor Johnny, Siwon, and Van, I now know that we are all in this battle together… 

Antonia: I noticed that there are also some notable names that also worked on the album, such as Dove Award Winner- Lenny LeBlanc and Grammy Award Winner- Tom Hemby.  How did their experience and style of music influenced the album?

John: Having seasoned veterans only added to the overall quality of the project.  What you see is a Christian album in Asia that I believe can be accepted in the western markets.  We hope that in the near future Asia will contribute to the global Christian music market.

Antonia: Brian, being one of the leading Christian K-pop singers today, is there a time when you have to face anti-fans that are discriminatory to your beliefs? How did you have to deal with it?

Brian: Oh yeah, I guess on behalf of all the Christian singers in the world, we all will have anti-fans.  People who aren’t Christ believers, will look down on us no matter what, it’s inevitable.  But we all deal with it in our own ways with Christ. I honestly pray about it, surround myself with strong Christian friends and talk it through with them as well. I never pray that bad things would happen to those who think bad thoughts about me, but my prayers are always prayers of hope. Hoping that one day those who look down on me will have an open-mind and also accept Christ as their savior.

Antonia: When we buy the CD, I understand that part of the sales will go to support charities. Which charity is this money going to and what are the charities about?

John: The finances are going to Food for the Hungry Int’l – Ivory Coast. We want to support their school and medical projects.  But there is a heavy focus on Children’s education. We want to find the children a hope and a future.

Antonia: What are some advices you have for those who would like to pursue the love of music?

John: There are probably two things I want to say: One, never Give-up.  Music is like wine…it takes time to develop.  What most people probably don’t understand is that music is almost like a science.  It’s very mathematical.  You can apply different formula’s and methods and the results are very different.  So you need to know what formula and method you are going to use.  You can only understand those things only by growing in those areas and become an expert.  Two, learn another discipline or have other hobbies.  In other words if there are other talents you have don’t forget to develop those other giftings you have.  Making music as an occupation is probably not the most financially stable income.  It’s very hard to become stable in music as an overall comment.  So having a back-up plan is important.  With that said there is a more important underlying principle.  Other disciplines give us insight into what we’re doing presently. 

Antonia: Is there a funny or interesting story you can share of when you were working on the album?

Brian: Well, the funniest thing for me was when I was in Nashville.  I think it was the second day of recording and you have to remember that  both me and Pastor Johnny flew in from Korea a few days before, so our jet-lag was pretty bad.  I was dealing with it pretty well, but Pastor Johnny was exhausted, pretty much the whole time we were there.  So, he and I both were in the recording booth area together, because he wanted to be observant and supportive while I was recording my vocal parts.  So after about 20 mins of recording, the engineer stops the track and asked me if I heard a weird sound in the background, and so I said, “Yeah~ but I thought it was some cool sound effect that was apart of the song.”  Apparently, it wasn’t and then we decided to just forget about it and re-do the part again, but right when started to record again, we both here the same sound, but it was louder, so we look over at Pastor Johnny to ask him if he heard anything, and he was knocked out, sleeping on the back couch SNORING louder than anything.  We the engineer and I thought it would be funny not to wake him, but to record a video on our phones to shows his lack of participation while we were working hard in the studio… hahahaha… Gotta love Pastor Johnny!

Antonia:  Are there any recent groups or singers that you have caught your recent attention in Korean music?

Brian: The honest truth is, mostly all the groups in K-pop catch my eye.  For two reasons, ONE: I came to realize that so many people have great talents and I am amazed everyday I turn on my TV or listen to the radio.  I support all the singers out there.  TWO:  another reality is that I have to work harder to stay in the game.  I can’t ever think that I am better than any one individual or group, having pride is important, but to a certain extent where your pride doesn’t turn into conceited thoughts.

Antonia: So Brian, being in the K-pop industry for so long, is there a time you thought about giving up or moving on to other professions?

Brian: Well, I’ve always wanted to do other things with entertainment, but the thought of giving up never really crossed my mind. Acting is still something I really want to get into.  Here in Korea, or the States.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to do music for as long as I can, cause I love to be on stage and perform, but I’ve always had acting on my mind since high school.  I was active in my school plays, thinking one day, I’m gonna be on TV, whether it be for singing and/or acting.  So let’s all keep our fingers crossed. 

Antonia: Alright we will! We are all curious, what personal projects have you been working on lately besides with “3rd Wave Music”?

Brian: Well, my newest album, which is a mini-album was the biggest thing I’ve been working on.  That should be out pretty soon.  I’m not sure if people will like it, but I am satisfied with all the music I put out.

Antonia: I’m sure we will love it! If you may,what message do you want to share with your fans?

Brian: I want my fans to know that I’m doing what I do, not only because I want to and cause I was given the opportunity, but I feel I was called to be where I am RIGHT NOW.  Although I make mistakes and will continue too, God gave me this chance to show others that hope isn’t a made up word or just a thought…  It’s a reality, I believe I am a living example of how great of God is.  And so is everyone in the world.  We always have to know that, and remind ourselves everyday.  Most importantly, don’t let what others say about you bring you down or try and get revenge on everyone who makes you feel discouraged.  That’s not gonna make you a better person, nor will that make you a respected one either.  Just pray for everyone around you, even those who try and take you down, because the most important thing isn’t who you conquer, but who’s souls you save and help turn to God… 

Antonia: How can fans keep up to date with your projects? Do you have a twitter or facebook?

Brian: Oh yeah, fans can follow me on twitter at @brianjoomuzik or facebook www.facebook.com/brianjoomusic....  my website as well www.brianjoomusic.com …. only my twitter is spelled differently, cause of a simple accident s while back, my @brianjoomusic account got deleted and I couldn’t get it back so I had to change it to @brianjoomuzik… for those who don’t see the difference, MUSIC used to be S-I-C but now it’s Z-I-K…hehe^^

Antonia: And Pastor John, how can fans gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?

John: You can go to Facebook.com/3rdwavemusic

Or www.3rdwavemusic.org

Both have a player loaded onto the page. You can listen up to 90 secs of each song.

Antonia: What is your plan for 2011?

Brian: My plan would be to perform as much as I can with the new album, and to just do what I’ve been doing pretty much.  Go on shows, make people laugh, do music programs, continue to do Christian events as well.  Hopefully, go on tour with my album or the 3rd Wave album.  I just love being on stage and to make people smile.  And my biggest step, would be to go into acting for real this time… I’ve been talking about it and mentioning it in other interviews, but haven’t gotten to actually do any acting.  So, for any casting directors out there, who happen to be reading this interview, please, take me into consideration^^

Antonia: What about you, John? Any plans for 2011? This is a great album! Is there going to be another one? If there is, can you tell us about it? Please please! 😀

John: Presently, we are working on our Live Album project with Lenny LeBlanc and Brian Joo. We have another full album after the live album.  For this album project we’re looking forward to have some very special guest to be part of this project.

Antonia: OMG! So there are gonna be more 3rd Wave albums! I’m so excited! I WONDER WHO WILL BE IN THE NEXT ONE!! 

Soompiers! You needa stay tune and find out! Don’t change the channel!! ^__^v

Thank you again, Pastor John and Brian for answering our questions! God bless you both with more more and MORE—of EVERYTHING!!

Of course for more more MORE— information, you may visit: www.3rdwavemusic.org

The album is on sale! NOW! So don’t forget to get your copy!! ^^