INTERVIEW: Aimee Lee Lucas on Working with BIGBANG, 2NE1, and now, for Herself

By: Hannah Waitt
moonROK Founder and Editor-in-chief

 

To say that Aimee Lee Lucas is a triple-threat would be an immense understatement. At just 28 years old, she has held the titles of professional dancer, blogger, artistic director, choreographer, entrepreneur, CEO, and more. After spending 2007 – 2010 choreographing and directing concerts for YG Entertainment artists like Big Bang and 2NE1, Aimee returned to Los Angeles, California, where she is now a local celebrity in the K-pop community. Aimee now runs M.V.P (Music Video Party) dance workshops, where she teaches eager students the choreography routines to their favorite K-pop songs. She is also the desinger and CEO of her own brand and clothing line, which she just recently released. Aimee took the time to sit down with moonROK Editor-in-chief Hannah Waitt to chat about her experiences with YG artists, her industry insight as a professional choreographer, and her current and future projects.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What is your personal history, and how did you get involved with dance and with K-pop?

A few have heard and read my story but when I was younger, I was everything from a victim of bullying to a model child, a teacher’s pet to a prom queen, and ran away from home after graduation. Since then I’ve been on my own and living life one day at a time. When I dissect my life decisions the following adjectives come to mind: impulsive, haphazard, and rewarding. I NEVER thought I’d be where I am today. I’ve had a career as a professional dancer, assistant, choreographer, artistic director, talent manager and agent, and now a CEO. It boggles my mind; it’s so surreal to sit back and think about where I came from. As far as my involvement in K-pop goes, it fell into my lap. I believe I was in the right place at the right time because I had no idea what kind of world I was stepping into 7 years ago.

 

You have worked with some of the best in the K-pop industry – who were some of your favorite artists to work with and why?

Yes, all thanks to YG! Every artist I worked with was my favorite including Uhm Jung Hwa, Se7en, Big Bang, and 2NE1. They each have a unique story and I have fond memories with each individual. I was also able to sit side-by-side with YG, Jinusean, Teddy, Danny Im, Choice37, Masta Wu, and the rest of the artistic team that makes magic happen at YG Entertainment. They invited me in like a family member and it became normal to stay up until 6am in the studio, go out to eat, get food delivered, and go out to dance at NB. I would go out with the famous stylists and even train the Kwon twins. 

 

Having worked with various K-pop artists, you’ve no doubt become close with some of them. What is something interesting or funny about K-pop idols that fans might not realize?

K-pop artists are very different on stage than they are in real life, and there are so many different scenarios that come to mind with this question. I went shopping one day with Teddy and Taeyang and it was my first time inside Louis Vutton. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed watching the guys shop. They were trying things on and asking for my opinion. When they were checking out, I was at the counter looking inside the glass case at a few wallets and Teddy asked if I liked it. Of course I smiled and nodded. When we walked out of the store they handed me a box and inside was that wallet! They said it was a gift to me from the both of them. I still have it and treasure it. 

 

As many already know, you’re Filipina, not Korean – was it hard communicating with the various Korean artists that you worked with? What was it like trying to work around that language barrier?

Oh definitely! Luckily, Big Bang had had a few English classes when I started working with them, so they could understand but couldn’t really translate it when words came out. There were a lot of choppy conversations! Thank goodness dance has existed for centuries and is thus a universal language. I learned  “hana, dul, set” almost immediately! Obviously, as the years went by they improved dramatically and by the time I worked with 2NE1, they all knew English. 

 

What is the creative process for choreographing a pop song like? How involved are the artists themselves in creating the choreography? Do you come in with a set routine for them to do, or do you create it together?

The process for choreographing a song has evolved. In the beginning we received the song without lyrics or translation. We would ask our Korean friends to come over and help translate key words but they would also get confused. It was a whole different ball game when we were able to fly to Korea and work with the artists. We could develop the style of movement and make things tighter. I felt like that’s when things changed. We were creating an American, genuine feel in K-pop. Female back-up dancers were touching the artists and really clawing and grabbing. The hardest thing was choreographing an elaborate routine, presenting it to YG, and changing everything to a simplified format right then and there. He would give comments and demonstrate what he wanted. In the end, we worked all day and all night until it was perfect. 

 

A few years ago, you got a lot of heat from BIGBANG fans after a live performance of “Breathe” with G-Dragon. Can you talk a little bit about how it felt to be victimized by the fans and to be in the center of a controversy like that?

What a crazy experience! I went from being hated by fans to being loved by fans then being hated on again. Timing was weird because I went back home for the holidays and it looked like I ran back home when the controversy started heating up. I had to watch and read everything overseas and I felt so guilty. At that time we were turning Taeyang and GD into men and into individual artists which meant drastic changes and pushing envelopes (i.e. Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”). GD and I would mess around during the “bed scene” in rehearsals so no one knew what was going to happen until we performed it LIVE! I knew it was risky but I had no idea GD would almost go to jail. In the end I learned that bad publicity is good publicity. It drew attention to YG, GD, and me. 

 

What are some of your favorite routines of all time that you have helped choreograph?

I really enjoyed Number 1. It’s an obvious answer to many fans but the work behind the scenes was what I enjoyed the most. In LA, we were working with some of the best choreographer and dancers standing in as Big Bang. I was one of them playing both a male and female part. In Korea, we were slowly pulling Taeyang out of his shell and getting him to slap my booty without being shy. On set, they made me beautiful like a doll and spent a lot of time on my lip synching part. I felt like a K-pop star. 

 

 

These days you teach K-pop choreography at M.V.P. (Music Video Party) dance classes in Los Angeles – can you tell us a little about M.V.P. and how it got started?

The idea started when I was sick and tired of my 9-5 desk job as a talent agent in Hollywood. I thought it was time to strap down, be an adult, and get a normal job, but it turns out I wasn’t capable or ready to do so. I’ve always been more of a dancer than a choreographer because I lacked confidence in myself. I thought, “Why don’t I teach a FREE K-pop class” as an ode to my friends, Big Bang. This was a milestone because it was their first concert in America. Over 200 people showed up and I was freaking out. I was a one woman army doing all the heavy lifting from the advertising, marketing, branding, booking the studio, checking-in students, teaching, and any post production work. But I stepped up to the plate and everyone gave me the confidence I lacked in myself to continue this K-pop movement. M.V.P. stands for “Music Video Party” because I know people are intimidated by a dance class. I wanted to take some of the most listened-to songs and have a party!

 

What is your ultimate goal as a dancer/choreographer?

The ultimate goal in life is to find purpose. I believe K-pop opened many doors for me and helped me find mine. I am so fulfilled by teaching, traveling, and meeting fans around the world. I hope to continue being a positive influence, even if I can change just one person’s journey. One day down the road I want to be a motivational speaker and, possibly, write a book of my trials and tribulations. 

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young dancers and choreographers?

Believe in who you are, what you do, and share it!

 

Tell us about your new clothing line! How did it begin and where did you get your design inspiration from?

I was able to work with Wong Fu Productions years ago and learned that they were able to make big steps in the beginning from the revenue of selling merchandise. I’ve tested and tried several designs but I think I finally found the right formula with Deep Fried Productions. I know now that I could never sell anything I wouldn’t wear myself. I hope people are drawn to the designs as much as I am and I hope it’s what elevates the company. 

 

So you’re now a choreographer and a designer – what’s next for you? Any big projects coming up?

My mind is constantly tossing and turning so there are always projects in line. I know that I’ve been procrastinating at blogging and vlogging so I hope to connect with you further that way. I’m currently working on a little show that will be posted on YouTube in the very near future so stay tuned. Thank you again for all the love and support through the years.

 

moonROK would like to sincerely thank Aimee for taking the time to interivew with us. To learn more about Aimee, check out her Official Website, Facebook Page, Twitter, and her new blog!  

You can also shop Aimee’s new clothing line here, so make sure to check it out!

All images courtesy of their original owners
(Visited 421 times, 1 visits today)

Tags:
25 Comments
  1. SamiMoua 6 years ago
    The kpop group that I would want to work with is Akdong Musician simply because their singing and harmonization is incredible. Ever since winning they have become even more talented and why do I want to work with them, well a third wheeler wouldn’t hurt. Although I can’t sing that we’ll it would be nice to have three voices and get help on singing aspects. They also can hit amazingly high notes which is astounding when put together. I also love their songs and covers of other kpop songs, but what sets them apart is their great team work to be able to have their voices harmonize coherently. Working with them I think I can get voice lessons and be able to get better at singing.
  2. Khrisstyne 6 years ago
    There are many artists that are so talented that I always say that If I knew how to sing and dance I would completely love to collaborate with, but mostly I wouldn’t mind working with BEAST. I love their ballads and R&B songs. They kind of leave a really good feeling afterwords. I don’t think any group has made me have goosebumps (in a good way) like they have. They way their voices each blend together makes me wish that I could sing although I was not blessed to do that. BEAST’s choreography isn’t complex for someone like me, so it is easy to learn and fun. The group overall gives off a really good vibe that in the process of them making music I want to be there to soak it all up and to learn. All of their songs are eargasmic (?) that I wouldn’t mind working with the in any genre, but R&B and their ballads speak to me. Even solo’s do it for me as well.
  3. LaraMajcan 6 years ago
    I would love to work with Epik High. I listened to their songs and Tablo’s album over and over and over again and I could never get tired of it. Maybe they aren’t as catchy as most kpop songs but the meanings in them are so deep that even after so many listens you can still find new messages and new meanings and those are the songs that really inspire people so I would love to have that opportunity one day, even though it won’t happen xD
  4. SamiMoua 6 years ago
    I would want to work with Akdong Musician because of their good chemistry as siblings they offer a sense of originality in their music also besides singing well. Their song lyrics also offer a deeper meaning which I find important in songs because most of the song lyrics today don’t make sense, no originality. I find that if I did have the chance to work with them it would be an opportunity to also experience what it means to work closely with family. Maybe I can improve my family relations with my brothers being able to see true brother/sister chemistry. Along with other kpop artists, Akdong Musician is really an amazing kpop duo that is able to sing reaching my heart.
  5. Kwon 6 years ago
    The group I would want to work with most would be Block B because I love their crazy style and creativity. Korean hip hop is my favorite type of music, so having a chance to be able to work on a song with my favorite group would be an amazing experience for me. Though I like a lot of groups, I think they would be the most fun to work with because of their energy and originality. It would be great to learn how to produce music and make a song with artists as talented as them, and it would really help me to improve as a musician.
  6. SamiMoua 6 years ago
    As Aimee has said in the interview, “Believe who you are, what you do, and share it”. This is true to all music artists. Kpop groups love what they do and share it with people worldwide which is amazing because it all starts from something small. Just like Akdong Musician i believe that working with them I would be able to endorse that music here in the U.S. too. It would be a great change and cultural experience for everyone who loves music, to be able to work with those they love singing to and spread that music.
  7. Spirit Yong 6 years ago
    The group that I would want to work with is Infinite. I love that they have their own unique style, and each song they have represents the group. They are extremely talented at dancing in sync, and I would want to be able to work with them and see how well they can dance, and watch them go through the stages of learning the dance to being perfectly together. They are also funny and charismatic, so working with them would be an adventure. As a group, they have established themselves in the industry, so it would be amazing to get the opportunity to work with them.
  8. LavelyShai 6 years ago
    The group I would love to work with is Girls’ Generation. They are what got me into K-Pop and I have always admired their hard work and their fun personalities. Whether their choreography is simple or more difficult, they’re always in sync with each other. For a girl group to last as long as they have, it takes a hard work ethic and a drive to want to stay in the entertainment industry. Even with the recent changes, their passion hasn’t changed and it’s shown me why I continue to support them whether it’s all 9 together or apart.
  9. RiaShivam 6 years ago
    The artists that I would like to work with would definitely be AKMU. They have such a unique musical colour and I really admire them just being themselves and not succumbing to the latest trends and and being fashionable. They focus on the music and the messages they want to portray, and that’s what makes their work so amazing.
  10. linhzpac 6 years ago
    It’s Epik High who got me into Korean music. I’m amazed Every time I listen to their songs and read their lyrics. What I love about them is the originality and independence. There were ups and downs, but their music is still the same – touching and relatable. If I got to work with them, I believe that they would be able to tap the inner creativity in me 🙂
  11. YuriGalindo 6 years ago
    The artists that I would like to work with is infinite,they are great. Just watch them dance is fantastic i love their style i love how they sing and dance each song. Each song is perfect,they are very nice, talented, and just simply awesome. I love that they all get along very well as a family.
  12. BrendaGalindo 6 years ago
    Theres so many talented groups. But i would most definitely would like to work with BTS if i knew how to sing and dance. I love their hip pop style music. They have inspiring messages in many of their songs, for many young people. They’re are a group thats always up to learn, and they spired me to want to dance and sing. They have made it very far in just a short period of time! Since their debut. 🙂 i really admired them they make me want to be a better person.
  13. Bee. ✯ 6 years ago
    I loved her ever since she came out of Big Bang’s Number 1 videooooo! She was (and still is) sooo sexy!!! She is one of my dance inspirations and reasons why I keep on dancing! I want to be as lucky as her and work with BIG BANG & maybe even just TAEYANG! They have been my favorites the moment the debuted. Working with them would be such a huge honor. It would be nice to choreograph for them, but I would be totally fine to be a back-up dancer (even if you don’t see my face..LOL!).

    Basically, if I could catch a break in dance… I hope I make it big like Aimee! It’s hard to make people understand that K-Pop is the same as any other music you play in English. Music is universal. And dance is dance! And reading her story made me think that all she’s been through has led her to the path in helping K-Pop reach the fans (like me and most especially) in the US!

    Thank you for this post!

    -Bee. <3
    http://beekyoote.blogspot.com

  14. bokbunja 6 years ago
    I’ve always followed Aimee and her ventures thanks to Big Bang and her work with YG Family. I always loved how much of a star and celeb she looked like on stage despite being a dancer (not many dancers can share the light of the artist they perform with and so my first impressions were really cool!) If I had a fraction of her dance talent, I would honestly love to be apart of YG Family’s stages.. They got me into Kpop and their music matches my taste to a T! Watching Aimee work and be apart of YG Fam also encouraged this thought too ^^
  15. bokbunja 6 years ago
    Beast are definately a close second.. But they don’t usually put on stages with many back up dancers (during their recent promotions for We Up – part of their GOOD LUCK album I was so happy to see female dancers lol).. But their music style and choreography always adds to their performance, which I would be thrilled to be apart of. As much as I try and freestyle with YG music, I always find myself compelled to learn chorus moves of Beast.. They’re always so cool and dynamic, and you feel apart of KPOP more.. I also don’t feel as though I’m cheating on YG, seeing as Hyunseung was once in their Family ^^ lol I@ve always thought it’d be awesome if Aimee worked with CUBE too… Though I sensed SM would steal her at some point for her talents, I think she’d be awesome collaborating with CUBE artists!!
  16. taepyo 6 years ago
    The artist I wish to work with is Block B. Having watched several of their behind-the-scene-recording videos, I see that they are very relaxed and fun to work with, but also serious and attentive to details. This is the reason why their songs are always perfect and they have incredible teamwork. And yes, I want to be on that team.
  17. SamiMoua 6 years ago
    Well today’s the end of the giveaway so I wish us all the best of luck!
  18. Soojungahn 6 years ago
    The artist I would love to work with is f(x)! This is because the girls are like family, they’ve gone through thick and thin, have many laughs and much more. I would imagine working with them would really teach me a lot and gain new memorable experiences.
  19. Soojungahn 6 years ago
    I would love to work with Krystal! She is my ultimate girl bias 🙂 I love her because she ((and fx as a whole)) isn’t like most fluffy girl groups in Korea. They have a more edgy feel because of their weird, odd, and playful personalities. Most people say that Krystal is a cold person but she actually isnt! In fact, she is probably the dorkiest little child I have ever seen! She is really weird lol but because of that, she is such a sweetheart! Have you seen her smile? it really melts my heart ;~~; ((and her eyesmile too~)) Krystal isn’t the “cold” person that everyone thinks she is. She is only /slightly/ sassy but that is what I love about her! She has that fierce and serious work attitude that motivates me to do better at what I do! But seriously in general, Krystal is a very hard working girl despite her health condition, she still works very hard and to her best efforts. I mean like come on, she WON Kiss and Cry. That is HUGE. She has fainted multiple times because she is anemic, something I also have, but always pulls through and smiles for the fans even when she is sick. She is a very good example and a great role model! Krystal is a very hardworking member of fx and her beauty >< thus she is ~le face of fx LOL anyways, I'd love to work with her. She is such a big inspiration and motivation for me so working with her would be such an honor ;3;
  • bokbunja 6 years ago
    The female artist that I would love love love to work with would have to be 2NE1! I previously said YG Family would be the best place to start, and rocking a stage with the fierce foursome would definitely be an amazing experience! From all the vid’s I’ve see of their recent AON Tour, it really was spectacular! Their music is very much my style and thanks to BIG BANG I got to follow them since their debut ^^
  • Bee. ✯ 6 years ago
    Now I think about it, I would also like to work with EXO. Too bad, they aren’t a whole anymore though. But they were probably the next boy group that was making it big. Too bad they weren’t getting handled well 🙁 but I would love to work with them! They have mad dancibg skills no one can deny!
  • Bee. ✯ 6 years ago
    Bad girl, CL is also an excellent choice to work with! She has the moves, style, and attitude to rock the world! So happy she’s getting ready to take on the US! I’m excited! She can make it!!!!
  • zico 6 years ago
    If I had a chance, I would choose Block B to work with. I’ve always picturing myself in a studio with perfectionist Zico, nail-every-high-note Taeil, shy yet mischievous BBomb and UKwon, mood makers Jaehyo and Kyung, and fool around with adult baby P.O :3 They are easy-going, but with their close-knitted, family-like relationship, their products are perfect!!
  • Khrisstyne 6 years ago
    Beast is a group that I would definitely work with if I had the chance, but recently I have been listening to a lot of Korean hip hop and I dislike American hip hop so hard so it was a shocker for me because I found myself liking the songs. So, I would love to work with Okasian. I love his rapping style, he had recently released a remix of some American rapper and I love his flow when he raps. His verses are really strong and straight forward, so working with him and anyone in Hi-Lite would be fun as well. I’ve seen some of the process of one of the other artists from Hi-Lite Records making his album, I would like to try it, then again that’s if I possessed the talent in singing or dancing, but with Hi-Lite I want to rap. I could go on for hours about other artists that I’d like to work with. B-Free is also good too, I like the way he delivers his lyrics and his no BS attitude and expression when rapping. He does what he wants no matter what people think and that’s the kind of expression I want to have if I were to compose whether it’s in choreography and composing, but I would not be so cruel about it 🙂
  • Khrisstyne 6 years ago
    My favorite solo Korean singer is Hwa Yo-Bi. I adore her voice. Mostly, I like her older albums. It reminds me of Mariah Carey although slightly different. I would love to sing a duet with her on one of her previously released songs. Seeing her perform songs like tears gave me goosebumps when I heard it. I’m jealous that there are people with the natural ability to sing and dance, but thinking that If I had a chance to work with some of them that I Hwa Yo-Bi would be the first female solo artist that I want to work with. Her voice is so strong and soulful when she sings. Still, not a lot of people know about her yet it sucks, but It would be a dream come true to work with her.
  • Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    *

    CONTACT US

    We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

    Sending

    Log in with your credentials

    or    

    Forgot your details?

    Create Account