I first got to know of Dawen Wang (aka Dawen 王大文) from his project "Declare INDIEpendence: How Sweet the Sound, an Asian American showcase of four Chicago singer songwriters" in 2008 (continuing on in 2009 and 2010) and have been a fan ever since. Looking at where he is now (and getting there in a relatively short amount of time), I can't help but think he's a prototype for Asian American artists who decide to go back to Asia to fuel their talents and in the process become successful.
Starting in Chicago, then to California, Dawen now lives in Taipei and is signed to Universal Music Taiwan. He's touring. Getting great write-ups. Collaborating with other artists. Two of his songs have been on popular dramas with one of them being the theme song.
It's a long way from the Midwest and hitting up small blogs to help get some exposure for events - but hard work: uprooting himself, working on YouTube videos, going to and winning events like Kollaboration, playing gigs, re-inventing and re-imagining his music (translating pop songs into Mandarin) - and a little bit of luck (with his covers highlighted by Carson Daly) along with some great talent - it's all paying off.
Here the videos for "Beautiful" and "Let's Work It Out" that have over 5 million combined views.
Let's Work It Out