Prepare for TRBL


And make it double. Korea’s Multi-Platinum Songwriter and R&B artist finally visited our shores!

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#DeaninMNL finally happened thanks to MCA Music. The REBELS were very excited about it, myself included, really. I- CAN’T- EVEN. #FINALLY

My best friend was the one who introduced DEAN’s music to me a year before. I’ve always enjoyed listening to R&B and hip-hop kind of music and my first thought was that his alternative R&B music was good, he had a soothing voice like honey butter and well, he looked sooo fine. He was very different from the Korean Pop that everyone was used to. He also did not conform to the usual KPOP image. He was a breath of fresh air. Crossing over music scenes both in the US and Korea, his style of music is described as raw, rebel and root. 

Deciphering DEAN

The analysis behind his name, DEAN TRBL is from the actor James Dean while TRBL stands for “trouble” and was taken from DEAN’s nickname ‘DEAN TRBL’. For his album, 130 Mood: TRBL, 130 was from the number painted on the actor’s Porsche 550 car bonnet, “Little Bastard”.  130 mood: TRBL is first of the 130 mood series.

The whole album  is in reverse order of one man’s love story, from falling in love with a 21 year old girl to suffering heartbreak. I remember in his May 2016 interview with Cho Hana, ‘Perfect Trouble- Special Conversation’, Hana described today’s music as short and sensationalized, but 130 mood is an album that does not go with that. An album conveying a story is something we see less and less each day but his has a story going on within it, making 130 mood: TRBL a powerful one in the scene right now.

DEAN started writing songs when he was young and then he became a part a crew with Keith Ape. They basically did everything from music, archiving, looking into places to shoot, art– the whole package, without any support from agencies. They were young, ambitious and extremely motivated. Art is deeply rooted in him and it is a very essential part of his process. On his first day here in Manila, one of his agendas was visiting Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo.

Getting into TRBL

My ultimate, obsessing-over-Dean moment was when Camper So, a graphic artist/musician, whom I’ve followed way before posted something and tagged DEAN in it. I got curious, and there it started. Like a creepy ex girlfriend, I went to all of DEAN’s accounts and started stalking. From that day on, I never looked back.

  1. His Soundcloud account was my morning playlist— at that time it only had his I’m Not Sorry Remix Set + Here & Now Remix Set. Imagine playing that for days on end. Crazy, but the good kind.
  2. I was streaming his Youtube channel day and night, even screen-capping scenes from his I’m Not Sorry lyric video while having little dance parties.
  3. I was liking each and every post on his Instagram account, posts even from 45 weeks back.

Then came his SXSW-Spotify House & SXSW KPOP Night Out performance, I was so jealous of those who were at SXSW because they were able to see him perform live. I was only able to see his performance online, and when I did, I went crazy. I still remember going to his website and then sending a message saying “Please send DEAN our way, I need him to perform in Manila! I can’t keep watching him on Youtube and Facebook! I need to see him in the flesh!


Now don’t get me started on his collaborations and musical works for other artists. The man is hella talented! He has written chart-topping songs for K-Pop boy bands like Vixx, EXO, and even for solo acts like Lee Hi. He’s also worked with in demand artists and producers like Mr. Carmack, DJ Esta of Soulection, Anderson .Paak, Eric Bellinger (who is a Grammy Award Winning singer-songwriter/producer), Taeyeon, Zico and more. Though not exactly a collab, he was part 04 of Winner’s EXIT prerelease covers, giving the song a “feelings I’ve never felt before” kind of feel with his honey butter voice. Other artists who were part of the cover series were Lee Hi, Taeyang and Zion T.


DEAN’s first English single, I’m Not Sorry with Eric Bellinger has over 3M views on Youtube, which is a big deal. It made so much noise for the cross-over artist. He also got the award R&B/ Soul Song of The Year at the Korean Music Awards, and he is still a rookie! (I mean, who does that?!) And with that came hit after hit, his recent Korean single, What 2 Do ft. Jeff Bernat and Crush, was a Melon chart topper and that placed him in the Top 20 with other big and established artists like Zion T., Big Bang, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, EXO and also in the Top 100.

MNL Rebel

So what is it like to be a fan of DEAN? Being a fan of DEAN who lives in Manila is hard. First, I could only watch him perform online. He was always on my list of artists that I want to watch live. I felt jealous every time I saw a post of him performing somewhere– not in Manila. And when he released his album 130 mood: TRBL, it was not easily available at music stores here. I had to go to a supplier and she ordered me one from Korea. But now that he visited, everything’s okay. His album is now available in music stores here and I was able to watch him perform live. HASHTAG, HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE MOMENT.


DEAN in MNL Press Conference

Last Aug 5, I was lucky to be able to join his press conference at Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas and there I was able to learn more about DEAN as an artist. He answered questions from the press with enthusiasm and deepness. He was smiling all throughout, which made the fan in me melt. But what really stuck to me was when he briefly discussed his artistic process, how he manages creativity blocks as he is doubling as a record producer and singer-songwriter, and the fact that he is his own and he will not conform to what others think he should be. Things that I, as an artist, can also relate to. I’ve always said that I respect DEAN and his artistry so much because he’s one of the artists I really look up to and can relate to, but I think after the press conference my respect for the man quadrupled.

One interesting (and timely) question was related to Pokemon Go, DEAN said that he likes Pikachu the most. At first, when he said Pikachu, people thought that it was a basic answer and then he explained. He likes Pikachu the most because Pikachu is the only one in Ash’s Pokemon party who’s not contained in a Pokeball

Oh and he did reveal the reason why he was wearing long sleeves even though it was boiling hot in the Philippines that time, it was because he really loves long sleeves, and wearing short sleeves makes him feel uncomfortable, because it exposes his arms. Case closed my dear Rebels. 

When asked which song in his seven track album was his favorite, DEAN answered 21 because it has different genres in it. Very Future R&B, very DEAN.  He also said that he was open to the thought of working with a Filipino artist, actually he doesn’t mind the nationality. He said that as long as they share the same style, he’s open to it. He also mentioned wanting to work with Taeyang of Big Bang in the future.


On Aug 6, DEAN performed for the REBELS at SM North SKYDOME. People started lining up as early as 4 AM, by 5 AM there were probably 300 to 400 of us. And by 10 AM things started to go crazy. 200 fans were lucky to be part of the fan signing, there were also winners of the Meet and Greet event. But that was just the icing on the cake, people were extremely excited for DEAN’s first ever performance here. For fans who’ve only seen him on their screens, this was a shining moment, I know because it was like that for me. Gates opened around 4 PM, and by 5 PM SKYDOME was filled with fans holding light sticks and banners. DEAN’s songs played in the background and people sang along, with voices almost piercing through the walls. There were 2 acts before DEAN, singer-songwriter Krissy and Jared Celemin of DJ duo Curse & Bless. They kept the crowd company with their performances and around 7:30 PM DEAN came out and started his performance. It was a party the whole night, people were singing, people were dancing, people were rushing to the stage to get a closer look at DEAN. As expected, DEAN’s performance was amazing and the fans went crazy for him. He first performed with “21”, followed with “What 2 Do”, “D”, “Pour Up” (even rapping Zico’s parts) and “Put My Hands On You”. People were full of energy the whole night even though it was past dinner time and were already running low on carbs— and then he brought the house down with his English single, I’m Not Sorry. Fans were eager to sing along, or maybe scream along, but it didn’t matter, hands were up in the air and everyone was grooving. It was a fun night, an extremely fun night. I’m sure all the REBELS enjoyed it, and also DEAN. If we could just turn back time and relive everything again, I’d do it.

With the release of his first album 130 mood: TRBL here I am now very excited for the next one. 130 mood: Jungle? I- Can’t- Wait! Hope to see DEAN perform again in Manila, but for now, I’ve got TRBL on repeat.

Get DEAN’s brand new album 130 mood: TRBL here

Follow DEAN:



Official site:

Here’s a little something for you to enjoy ❤

Written by Krew Member: Margi Fajardo


One thought on “Prepare for TRBL

  1. You’re so lucky, the fact that you met him, huhu. I’m from Malaysia, but I live in the East of Malaysia which is Kuching, Sarawak (very unfortunate). I must say tho, he is really a different kind of artist, even his music speaks of art, he’s very artsy, very authentic, I think that’s what makes him different from others. I was never into Korean music but he had my eyes and heart open, especially for K-R&B and Hip-Hop/Rap. Have you heard the rumours about him signing for YG? What do you think? Can’t wait for 130 mood : Jungle tho ❤


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