In the latest edition of Forbes Japan, released this March 2024, JAKOPS, the Executive Producer of XG, shares insights into the group’s global success in a feature titled “Let’s Talk about ‘New Leaders’.”
JAKOPS, Executive Producer of XG: Forbes Japan’s March 2024 Special Feature
The March 2024 issue of “Forbes Japan” presents a unique feature titled “Let’s talk about ‘new leaders’.” This year marks a decade since Forbes Japan’s revival in June 2014. To celebrate this milestone, the magazine has embarked on a project focusing on the theme of “leadership.”
This initiative aims to positively influence and reshape the global and Japanese economies, which are on the cusp of significant transformation. The feature explores the evolution of “new leaders” and the changing dynamics of leadership. By gathering insights from 100 influential leaders, Forbes Japan strives to craft a “new leadership textbook,” offering guidance on the approaches and mindsets required in the current era.
Exploring Leadership with JAKOPS
Cultural Roots and Career Path
Born in Seattle, USA, to a Korean father and a Japanese mother, JAKOPS grew up in a diverse cultural environment. Transitioning from an artist to a music producer, there was a strong desire to bridge the cultural gap between Japan and Korea. The moniker ‘JAKOPS’ is a blend of ‘JA’ from Japan, ‘KO’ from Korea, and ‘P’ for produce, combined with ‘S’ for Simon, symbolizing this cross-cultural connection.
In 2017, after extensive preparation, JAKOPS initiated the XGALX project. The journey involved rigorous work with the XG members, balancing strictness and kindness while maintaining a forward-focused approach. This project represents a critical challenge, with the ambition to establish the world’s most formidable and impressive artist. The primary objective was clear: to form the strongest R&B hip-hop girl group globally, underpinned by an unwavering core strength.
Initial Leadership Approach
In the formative stages of “XGALX,” the leadership style was predominantly directive, with a “follow me” approach. The leader had a distinct vision for the project and actively shared this enthusiasm with the team and group members. However, throughout the nurturing and debut of XG, there was a focus on making strategic decisions and providing forthright feedback. The training and production were characterized by stringent standards and an uncompromising attitude, sometimes bordering on excessive zeal.
Adapting and Growing with the Team
Over time, experiences and growth led to an evolution in leadership style. The current focus is on effectively communicating this passion, guiding the team in the right direction, and fostering an environment of collaborative discussion and progress. This period is one of their collective journey’s most emotional and significant phases. Furthermore, this process has cultivated a deep sense of trust, unity, and solidarity within the team, contributing to forming their unique “DNA.”
Challenges and Responsibilities of Leadership
In this context, a critical aspect of leadership is the ability to unlock the full potential of exceptionally talented artists, aiming to elicit not just 100% but perhaps 120% or even 200% of their capabilities. A leader’s role is pivotal in catalyzing the artists’ spontaneous awakening of their explosive potential. Additionally, motivating the team to support these artists is essential. This task is challenging, and continuous effort and improvement is ongoing.
XG’s Rise to Fame
XG, a Hip Hop/R&B girl group, debuted in 2022 after a rigorous five-year training. They’ve gained international acclaim, performing at major music festivals across the United States, Australia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Their remarkable achievements include a historic first for a Japanese female artist or group on the U.S. radio chart “Mediabase Top 40 Radio Airplay Chart,” where they held the longest consecutive ranking for an Asian girl group at 13 weeks. Furthermore, they broke records by topping the U.S. Billboard chart “Hot Trending Songs Powered by Twitter,” a first for Japanese artists. In the past year, XG has been featured on the cover of U.S. Billboard magazine, a first for a Japanese girl group, and appeared on the covers of prestigious magazines like Forbes Japan and VOGUE JAPAN.
Read the exclusive interview on Forbes Japan.
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